For the most part, if you live in a city with professional sports teams, for better or worse, your city’s sporting reputation rides on the shoulders of their performance. Washington is home to 4 teams from the highest profile professional sports leagues in the country and the Redskins have the highest profile of them all.
What this means for people living in and around DC is a steady streams of Redskins media coverage from every TV station, newspaper, and sports blog in town. They devote every resource they can to report the news from Redskin Park, Fedex Field, and beyond. Rumors on personnel decisions from starting quarterbacks to third string punters, in season or off, send this crowd into a frenzy for even the smallest kernel of information to report as you heard it here first breaking news.
My first exposure to this hype came when I arrived from New Hampshire back in June of ’91. I got here early enough to witness the entire NFL season that culminated in the Redskins winning their 3rd Super Bowl Championship in January of ’92. The fading memory of this nearly 20 year old triumph stands as the most recent high water mark for this team.
The constant conversation and intense level of attention given to the Redskins is, at times, hard on the ears. Yes, I know they are in training camp getting ready for next season and yes, the media machine is in full force asking the annual is this the year question, but some things just don’t seem to change. Defensive lineman Albert Haynsworth, clearly doesn’t get that receiving $21 million in bonus bucks means you show up ready to play where the coach tells you to line up and team owner Daniel Synder’s repeating past behaviors hoping for different results theory of management has provided yet another new high-profile head coach seeking to recapture former glory. If Joe Gibbs couldn’t get it done my hopes aren’t high for Mike Shanahan either.
Few cities know what it is to have competitive teams in multiple sports, let alone win multiple championships. Those who do achieve elite status in the sporting world. I’m not saying this will happen in DC but let’s consider the possibility. The Capitals are contenders and among NHL franchises they are considered a team to beat for others to prove their worthiness in the league. One day in the near future don’t be surprised to find the Nationals in a Pennant race playing behind their ace Steven Strasburg and with the ownership change and signing of #1 NBA draft pick John Wall, perceptions of the Wizards changed overnight. If Washington has a chance at elite status the Redskins need to be part of this conversation, and right now they’re not. Right now there sitting at the table asking what’s for dinner and apologizing for not bringing desert.