Notwithstanding the fact that the MLB season is in full swing and the Nats are in the midst of a close division race and the fact that the Caps won the Stanley Cup only a few weeks ago and the fact that the Wizards just completed their draft and made a minor trade yesterday, lots of sports attention and talk in the DC area is about the Skins. Other teams in this area have strong fan support when they are winners or close to winners; the Skins get support and attention no matter what.
The upcoming season will be the 20th year for the Skins in the Danny Boy Snyder Era. One of the themes advanced on one of the local sports radio stations – the one incidentally owned by Danny Boy – goes something like this:
- A great businessman [Sotto voce: like Danny Boy was because that is how he amassed the money to buy the team in the first place] is someone who adapts to the marketplace. When he bought the Skins in 1999, he ran the organization like a fan because that is what he was then. And that didn’t work out so well.
- Now, the “great businessman” has learned from his fellow owners how to be an owner who is passionate about his team and about winning and still have a functional and professional staff to run the activities of the team. It is a new day at Redskins’ Park.
Obviously, here in Curmudgeon Central, the official position is that talk is cheap, and actions will tell the tale. However, this subtle narrative spurred me to do some research into how the Danny Boy Snyder Era has gone over the past 19 seasons. My research was rather simple; I looked at how the Skins have done over the past 19 years as compared to the other 3 teams in the NFC East. I know that the NFL seeks parity among all its teams; nonetheless, I think that the teams in the NFC East as a subset are the best comparison for the Skins.
Let me start with a simple regular season win/loss comparison:
- Eagles: 177 – 126 – 1
- Cowboys: 158 – 146 – 0
- Giants: 156 – 148 – 0
- Skins: 132 – 171 – 1
I knew in my gut that the Skins would wind up on the short end of this yardstick just from experience, but I did not think that there was so much daylight between their regular season record and the rest of the Division. However, I pressed on and looked at the NFC East teams’ playoff records over the past 19 seasons too. Here are the results:
- Giants: 10 – 7
- Eagles: 13 – 10
- Skins: 2 – 5
- Cowboys: 0 – 7
By this metric, the Skins are superior to the Cowboys. Neither team gets into the playoffs very often but when the Skins get there, they – at least – win a couple of times that they take the field.
It did not take a whole lot of research to ascertain that the NFC East teams have been in 5 Super Bowl games since 1999. The Giants are 2-1 in those games – beating the Patriots twice and losing to the Ravens; the Eagles are 1-1 in those games beating the Patriots last season and losing to the Patriots in 2005. [Actually, it took no “research”; I made these notes from memory and then checked them out for completeness at pro-football-reference.com]
And just for the halibut, I set my calculator on fire and compiled the regular season “Points For” and “Points Allowed” by the teams in the NFC for the last 19 seasons:
- Eagles: 7,325 – 6,227
- Cowboys: 6,714 – 6,546
- Giants: 6,633 – 6,674
- Skins: 6,132 – 6,760
One surprise here was that the Giants have a negative points differential over the last 19 seasons. I would not have predicted that. The other surprise here is the miserable offensive showing by the Skins over the Danny Boy Snyder Era. The Skins have scored 1,203 fewer points than the Eagles in that time; that is 63 points per season or 9 TDs per season. Over an extended period, that is a big difference.
The Skins’ fanbase always latches onto any narrative that relates to closing one door behind them and opening a new one in front of them. That is why they have been happy to welcome new coaches even though most of them brought as many questions as answers with them and even though one of the most competent of those coaches (Marty Schottenheimer) got fired after one season in which the Skins went 8-3 in its final 11 games in order to make way for Danny Boy to hire Steve Spurrier. Today, that fanbase is looking to “write a new chapter” in team history in part because their owner has learned how to be an owner.
It is a glorious new day here in the DC area. Fans need not concern themselves that it took almost 2 decades for their owner to learn how to be an owner; just focus on the “fact” that he has learned and mastered that situation. [Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…]
Finally, it seems appropriate to close this rant with a definition from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
Boss: An underqualified moron who you cannot believe was hired by those other morons in HR and whose job you are certain you could do about a million times better.
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………