SNIDER: Hail to the DeadSkins

Rick Snider
December 31, 2018 - 10:04 am
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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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There is no road back for the Washington Redskins.

The fanbase is finally broken after a 50-year marriage. There might have been 10,000 Redskins fans at FedEx Field on Sunday to see a humbling 24-0 loss to Philadelphia to cap a 7-9 season. Washington was lucky to play nearby Philadelphia, which filled the stands with 40,000 or so Eagles fans. Otherwise, FedEx would have been a ghost town.

But that's what it has really been all season. Supposedly, the Redskins averaged 61,000 this season, which is by far its worst official average attendance in 20 years at Landover. But the past two years were steadily eroding, and this year was more like 40,000 in the stands weekly with healthy doses of visiting fans.

There are about 30,000 fans still coming to Redskins games. That's it. Forget the legendary 200,000 waiting list or the days of Camelot at RFK Stadium. They're long gone. And they're not coming back.

Sure, winning would help. But the Redskins aren't close to breaking out of four seasons of mediocrity. Indeed, they might be pressed to reach 7-9 next year, given the need for a new quarterback, two receivers, left guard, middle linebacker, safety and cornerback, for starters.

But even winning would take time to regain the fan base. Fans have checked out. Real die-hard, last-man-standing fans have surrendered. And once that happens, it's hard to get them back. They've seen the shiny object trick of a new coach or quarterback too many times to buy it anymore.

The recent firing of the marketing staff in past years would have drawn a shrug by fans. But this past team, led by Brian Lafemina, actually reached out to fans. They showed a willingness, instead of arrogance, to mend fences. For owner Dan Snyder to fire them was an insult to fans, who won't forget it. Hence, only 10,000 came to the season finale.

The biggest problem is the owner. It has always been so for his near 20 years of ownership. Snyder has blinders to anything other than money. He thinks Redskins fans and businesses should blindly follow the team. Buy the tickets and overpriced food, pay $50 for parking. Drink the Kool-Aid.

Well, Dan, welcome to a new America where no one gets a free ride. The days of pulling together are leaving with the passing of the Greatest Generation. Redskins fans who remember the glory times of the 1970s and ‘80s are steadily gone, and their replacements are tired of fables and fairy tales.

The Redskins are no longer Washington’s pastime. Whether the Nationals or Capitals earn the top seed is debatable, but the only thing uniting Washingtonians anymore is their hatred of the Redskins owner and ambivalence towards his team.

Hail to the DeadSkins.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks

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