Washington Commanders: New Name, Same Problems

Smile if you are ruining an NFL franchise.

Smile if you are ruining an NFL franchise.

Philip Smith, Editor-in-Chief

On February 2, the Washington Football Team announced their new name, the Washington Commanders. While they may have a new name, they are still marred with the scandals of the past, that swirl around their controversial owner Dan Snyder. 

Before Dan Snyder bought the Washington Redskins in 1999, they had years of success, including three Super Bowls in the last two decades before the ownership change. They had a team identity, known as the “hogs”, for their strong offensive line play and power running game. Doug Williams became the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl. They had the inspiring story of Dexter Manley, one of their best defensive players ever, who also overcame childhood illiteracy problems and turned himself into a college graduate. Washington was a storied franchise, with dozens of powerful moments like these, until Dan Snyder came in and ripped all this history to pieces. 

Since Snyder bought the team, they have made the playoffs five times in 23 seasons. They have won two playoff games under his leadership, only one first team All-Pro player selected, and ten coaches over this span. This disaster can be attributed to a multitude of factors, including terrible GM hires, countless misses in free agency, the worst stadium in the NFL, and the toxic culture that formed around the team. Which brings up another problem with Snyder, the toxic workplace. 

Snyder is in trouble right now, as he is in danger of having to sell the team due to his ineptitude in running a sports organization. Sexual assault allegations are being levied against him, including new allegations that have surfaced the last month. Tiffani Johnston, a former marketing and events coordinator for the team, has alleged that Snyder would inappropriately touch her at business dinners and had to be prevented from committing more inappropriate actions by his attorney. This comes after years of other lawsuits about sexual misconduct in the organization, including a class action lawsuit filed by the cheerleaders, alleging obscene sexual deviancy from higher-ups in the organization. 

For Washington to come out this funk, they need to move past the Snyder era and reset the culture. They have moved past the era of the Redskins and the Football Team, and now they need to get past Snyder. New ownership, a new stadium, and a new name could all be ways for Washington to move forward and hopefully back to the past success of the 80s and 90s.