SNIDER: This truly is the worst of Redskins times

Rick Snider
September 30, 2019 - 8:22 pm
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Forget saving the season – the Washington Redskins need to save the franchise from perhaps its most dire situation ever.

Forget 0-4 – the Redskins have done that before all too often. It's the 0-for-fans that really matters. The support base is broken and they really mean it this time. Until president Bruce Allen is replaced, Burgundy Nation isn't coming back. That's right – it's all about firing Allen, just like it was firing predecessor Vinny Cerrato in 2009 to quiet the last major fan revolt.

Oh, unhappy fans swear they're never returning, but then a new season comes along with a new coach or top player and people are once more watching. And, owner Dan Snyder banks on that. But not this time.

The last three seasons have seen a major erosion of season-ticket holders. The team doesn't announce that figure, but it's probably no better than 20,000 anymore. Already this season, Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears fans have outnumbered Redskins followers at FedEx Field.

This Sunday, the crowd will probably be 80 percent New England Patriots fans and 20 percent Redskins fans wanting to see quarterback Tom Brady one last time in Washington. There is no home-field advantage anymore. Just a few die-hards drowned out by chanting visitors.

It has never been this bad in town since the Redskins arrived in 1937. The team was good right away and nearly filled the 30,000-seat stadium for many years. The 1950s were a little slow, but still the Redskins were beloved. By the 1960s, Sonny Jurgensen made them lovable losers. Come the 1970s, George Allen made the town a winner. Combined with the Senators leaving in 1972, the Redskins had the market to themselves.

The glory years of coach Joe Gibbs from 1981-92 were the zenith of the franchise when everyone in Washington talked Redskins at work and home. But that generation of fans is either gone or watching from home. The younger generation is tired of mythical tales of Riggo, and attending sports events is not the same thing to today's fans. They're not watching games, they're attending events. Indeed, 14 NFL stadiums now have 5G to enhance cell phone use by fans, including Baltimore. FedEx has 5Gs – grumpy, gotcha, gross, garish and goodbye.

There's only one path back to owning the market again – fire Allen, get a competent general manager who hires a new coaching staff and start winning. Not just once in a while, but a few years in a row with a serious playoff run. Then some fans will return, though never with the passion of the Gibbs era.

Without these changes, the Redskins will remain rock bottom until years from now when Snyder sells the team. We should all live so long.

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