Friday, November 06, 2009

Timing Is Everything When It Comes to Dissatisfaction With Your Team Owner

You only don't like them when things are tough. PS things have been tough for ten years.

I read, yesterday on Matt Terl's ORB (Official Redskins Blog) Twitter feed and then in greater detail at Dan Dan the Sports Bog Man about the poll showing we hated Jack Kent Cooke just as much as Dan Snyder and so that makes us Redskins fans a bunch of fucking hypocrites because Dan is really a pretty good guy when you really think about it because hating owners is what we do so we need to take it down a notch on Dan and remember that JKC was as big an a-hole as Dan.

Wrong, JKC was no angel and there were reasons not to like JKC the man and times when the team struggled and there were reasons not to like JKC the owner. Let us examine the context of Dan's post.


It was July 1994. Fans were hot for three reasons: the team was sucking, the roster was a mess and the general manager was in over his head.

1. The Redskins had come off Richie Petitbon's disastrous lone season as a head coach.

Offensive coordinator Rod Dowhower tried to turn mister long ball Mark Rypien into a short game passer, after a glorious 38-16 destruction of the Cowboys on Monday Night Football to open the season, the Redskins then lost six straight on the way down to 4-12. Richie was dumped at the end of the season, not even given a second shot or a chance to get it together and assert himself.

Then, to add injury to insult JKC turned to Dallas offensive coordinator Norval Turner, a Cowboy, a FUCKING COWBOY to dig the team of the shitter. While no one in Washington disputed Norval's success in Dallas there was some lingering resentment that it had so quickly come to that and fans from that time will remember being annoyed by fucking patronizing Cowboys fans.

The sadness of watching Richie's team fail so spectacularly and the hope at the arrival of offensive genius Norval quickly turned to concern and frustration that the team was not put together correctly because...

2. The team had entirely botched its first forays into the new era of free agency.

The core of the last great Redskins teams was aging fast and being picked apart by free agency. Besides the draft there was now a second channel for talent and the team needed to dive in to free agency just like every other team.

I literally remember hearing general manager Charley Casserly talk about how Washington was a great place to play and there would be a premium on playing here that translated into lower costs for free agent football players. In other words the team went into the free agent pool after the 1992 season without Joe Gibbs and believing players be knocking down doors to play here for less.

That is how we wound up with Al Noga, Carl Banks, Tim McGee and a deposed Rich Gannon just off shoulder surgery, all second tier or worse free agents, none long term solutions and with the exception of Rich Gannon, all near the end of their careers.

Carl is a host on Sirius NFL Radio and does not admit he was ever a Redskin, like he has redacted that season, Al played a lot smaller than we thought from Minnesota and Tim stayed consistent with career numbers but did not replace Gary Clarks' production, which was the offseason need.

All three of those guys were expected to play a major role on the team, all basically failed and were gone after one season.

It got worse in the free agent season of 1994 with Leonard Marshall, in his tweflth and final year and Ethan Horton in his eighth and final season. Granted as Redskins fans in July of 1994 we had not seen those guys play yet, I can speak for myself when I say that I was not encouraged by these signings.

From the incredible heights of Super Bowl 26 following the 1991 season down to the disappointment of 1993's 4-12, being outmaneuvered by every other team in free agency and questionable drafts, it had become obvious to Redskins fans that...

3. Charley Casserly was in over his head and doing a poor job as general manager.

The moment Bobby Beathard left the team after the 1989 season, leaving the team in general manager Charley's hands, it was clear that Charley was dominated by Joe Gibbs. Joe had spent a decade cultivating a father son relationship with owner Jack Kent Cooke and Joe and Bobby were a team of rivals. With Bobby out of the way Joe was able, intentionally or no, to get his way.

How do we know this? Desmond Howard. It is something of an article of faith among Redskins fans that Joe Gibbs' strong suit was never personnel, what he did for this team he did from another direction.

Which did not mean Joe was disciplined enough to keep his hand out of the cookie jar.

From the very beginning Charley was second to the coach and by the time Joe was gone, free agency was here and Charley was the undisputed, though not necessarily wholly independent, football decision maker, he was not ready. He bungled free agency to start with and most of the drafts under Charley are really bad.

Redskins fans were ready for Charley to go well before he finally was ousted when Dan Snyder took over.

So that is the context for the July 1994 poll showing that Louis Farrakhan was more popular than Jack Kent Cooke, Louis of course was on an upward popularity swing that peaked with the Million Man March right here in Washington a little over a year later.

The poll results are not commentary on JKC per se, it was commentary on how the team was performing at the time. When an organization performs poorly, shareholders always start their questioning at the top, looking at the performance of the senior managers put in place by the guy in charge. It always comes back to the owner.

Just like it is right now.

Jack Kent Cooke: AP via Washington Post