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Greetings from The Booth!
My sports broadcasting & Sports Dogs Podcast partner Ryan (The Duke) Rutherford texted me this afternoon to say “The Witch Is Dead.” He was referring to what looks like the imminent sale of The Washington Football Commanderskins to the Josh Harris-led group (which includes basketball great Magic Johnson) for a record $6.05 billion. I simply texted back that I’ll believe it when I see the puddle of water and Dan Snyder saying “I’m melting!” It certainly looks like the finish line is near for a 23-year dumpster fire of an organization that has provided DC football fans few moments of joy.
I could rehash all the failed football moves, the revolving door of head coaches, the toxic work environment, the investigations, lawsuits, and the scrap heap of starting quarterbacks, but we have beaten that horse to death. As the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens. As I’ve written before, the new owners, in my humble opinion, must do three things:
Change the name of the team (again). Immediately. The name Commanders has no connection to a proud franchise that has 3 Lombardi trophies in the case. The recent name change was a half-baked effort that alienated many former players (John Riggins comes to mind) and has reduced a storied past to a faint whisper.
Build a new stadium. Whatever it takes, get this done. Fed-Ex Field is a dump and provides one of the worst game day experiences in the NFL. And build it anywhere but Landover, Md.
Finally, find a way to fill this new venue with your own fans. For too long, Fed-Ex has been filled with mostly opposing fans , and that is an embarrassment. It wouldn’t take a marketing genius to figure out how to do this. A winning football team would go along way to getting the home fans back in the seats.
It looks like a new chapter is about to begin for the Burgundy and Gold. It’s time to load up the clown car and get the circus out of town.
Changing gears, the Washington Capitals now look like the Nationals on skates. For the first time since 2014, the Caps are making tee times after this week’s regular season finale. There will be no Stanley Cup Playoffs this year, as it looks like a full scale rebuild is in order. As the team faded down the stretch, it sold off many of it’s core players who were part of the 2018 Stanley Cup Championship. It seems like only yesterday that the team was hoisting the Cup for thousands of fans on The Mall.
Like the Nats, the window has closed for the Capitals. You’ll be asked to be patient while you search your program for someone you recognize. Unlike the Nats, the Caps still have a superstar on their roster (Stephen Strasburg doesn’t count). Alex Ovechkin, who is zeroing in on Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal scoring record, will certainly keep the fans coming to Cap-One Arena, but without a supporting cast, wins will be hard to come by.
As bleak as it may look right now, hold on to this: at least the Capitals won’t be knocked out in the first round this season.
Until the next visit from The Booth…GO SKINS! GO CAPS!