NOTE: This is a personal post and not specifically related to faith or ministry. If you do not like sports, then you can stop reading. Also, I probably should offer the disclaimer that these views are my own and not representative of my church, or any other ministry I may be associated 🙂
I have been a Washington football fan since I can remember. They were the only local NFL team growing up as Baltimore started after I graduated high school. Further, our local and my favorite football team as a child was a functional and winning franchise. Joe Gibbs (1.0) brought multiple winning seasons and three Super Bowl wins: 1982, 1987, 1991. However, since 1996, Washington has had 17 of 26 losing seasons; 23 seasons of which are under the present ownership.
For the sake of personal time and sanity, I choose not to rehash the dysfunctional dynamics and decisions of the Washington team. I’ve created a social media tag #SkinsDOD to track the drunk-on- dysfunction nature of the ownership and organization.
As of 2022, the Washington team commences the first year under a new name. The head coach and lead decision-maker has attempted to instill a new culture of character, team, and winning mindset. Many say this is a “make or break” year. It is the third year of Ron Rivera and his personnel strategy, which has multiple questions especially on the supposed strength of the team – it’s defense. Further, the inaugural season under the new moniker is foundational for the direction of this organization.
As a long-time fan, I have been willing to wait. I have rooted for the team through inefficiency and incompetence. Every off-season brought a fresh start for change and hope. But it does appear this season is a turning point. I do not mean to indicate the turning point is one of expectation but rather as evaluation. My expectations are low because the history of the last quarter of a century has trained us fans not to disappoint ourselves. So, what is the evaluation for this team to reconcile the erosion and disenfranchised Washington fans, maintain whatever present fan loyalty, or begin steps of interest for new fans?
Evaluating a professional sports team often starts with the product on the field. However, it must go deeper than that. I’ve said it before, Washington team needs are simple
- Integrity over pragmatism.
- People-centered over profit-driven.
- Professional football leaders with long-term consistency overseeing operations.
- Players with hunger to work and heart to win.
- Drop the drama.
It would be a blessing to have an organization that had a credible owner with decent character. As a fan, it would be a bonus to have personnel decisions aligned with successful strategy to create forward momentum and winning success. Unfortunately, low expectations create low standards of evaluation.
As the NFL season begins in 2022, I am cautiously at a turning point. If the Washington football team does not meet my average expectations, I am uncertain I can continue investing energy as a fan of this team. It doesn’t make sense to continue doing the same thing and expecting different results. So, here are my hopes to continue in support of Washington football and beginning Commanders fan.
- Washington must have a winning record, 9-8. This year’s strength of schedule is the easiest of all teams. This is professional football, and we know any given Sunday a team can upset another. Even 8-wins is probably a success for this season, but admittedly my confidence is low. However, I think it’s a must for the turning point to move forward.
- Washington needs clarity about its head coach. Rivera has a 5-year contract and has this year and next before lame-duck status. He and his front office has multiple questions regarding personnel and the strategy going forward. Does the team have its QB? Will the Offense investments reap dividends or reveal ineptitude? What’s happening with the Defense? How is the team health and managing player injuries? And a host of specific player questions.
- Washington needs redemptive elements from or change of ownership. The facts and the reputation of current ownership are unchanged. Every business owner has some level of tactics that turn people away or are profit-driven to the neglect of its target audience. However, this owner’s reputation and actions have grown out of control.
Somehow, Snyder must discern how to significantly admit mistakes and weaknesses and identify opportunities of redemption with the public and fanbase. Or Snyder needs to begin the process of selling the team. The Washington Commanders cannot continue for multiple years with ownership that is clumsy and characterless. This likely starts with both the previous stated expectations, but also relates to the stadium plans and location, and most importantly the lingering allegations of sexual abuse. If the NFL is aware of guilt, then he must be forced to resign immediately and sell the team. If the allegations are unfounded, then Snyder still must diligently work to better his and the team’s integrity and redeem his reputation.
- Washington needs to drop the drama and stop doing stupid stuff. Seriously. Every Washington fan is tired of having to give excuses of all the negativity and stupidity surrounding this organization.
I could go on, but as stated, the investments on Washington football are at a turning point. It’s time. Who’s ready for some football?