Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

09 Jan 2006

Redskins Become the Messenger

The Washington Redskins don't like the way the Washington Post covers them, so they've beefed up their Web site in an effort to give fans news without what they call the Post's "filter." Personally, I enjoy both newspapers and official team sites, although I must say that a lot of the time the information you get is identical in both places. Some newspapers just describe the game and provide quotes from the post-game press conferences, which is pretty much the same thing you get from the team officials.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 09 Jan 2006

30 comments, Last at 11 Jan 2006, 12:06pm by Michael David Smith

Comments

1
by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:10pm

Finally, a place where Redskins fans get get unbiased information about how "Cornelius Griffin and Joe Salave'a are at the top of their game when it matters most."

2
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:22pm

Wonderful, news about news outlets making news.

3
by Playit (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:25pm

They also partnered up with www.ExtremeSkins.com, a fan board. What is unique about that was that they invited some of the board members to Training camp and gave them access to the practices. Those people then reported (in detail) on the practices to the rest of the board. While their reasons might have been supsect, I can't find fault in their application. I wish more teams would extend this type of access.

4
by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:49pm

I think it's cool that the Redskins would do that for the hard-core fans who hang out at message boards, but am I the only one who finds fan message boards nearly unusable? It just seems like so many people responding to so many other people and I can never tell who's referring to what. Here at FO, even when the threads get really long, I feel like I at least understand what everyone is talking about.

5
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:54pm

As a reskins fan I love this because it means Snyder is spending his time doing things other than $%&^ing up the team.

6
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:54pm

I've found that the useability of an internet message board is inversely proportional to it's popularity.

7
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:55pm

edit button please?
'redskins'....

8
by doktarr (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:57pm

Snyder made his millions in marketing, and it shows in all the non-football aspects of the organization. And when it comes to the football side, he's become a much better (i.e. more hands-off) owner in the last few years.

9
by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 4:33pm

I actually think the criticism of Snyder has been really, really unfair. The guy wants to win and spends huge amounts of his own money to do it. Have some of his decisions been wrong? Yes, but plenty of owners have made bad decisions. I think if he were 20 years older and did all the exact same things he'd get a lot less criticism. (And, of course, if the Redskins win the Super Bowl, a lot of the people who have bashed Snyder are suddenly going to write about how brilliant it was of him to get Gibbs to come back.)

10
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 5:56pm

I think some of the criticism of Snyder has been unfair. As MDS points out, all owners make bad decisions. And some is just jealousy at his throwing money around. I think some of his tactics, like paying big bucks to assistant coaches and wooing FA like top recruits (college or corporate) are pretty smart.

However, some of his football decisions seem to have been meddling where he listened to players or ex-players and undermined his coaches or front office.

Also, he has tried to milk every penny out of his franchise in ways that deserve criticism: attempting to block pedestrian access to the stadium so that fans have to park in his over-priced lots instead of off-stadium lots at cheaper prices; attempting to force season-ticket holders to use only a Redskins-affiliated credit card to pay for tickets; and selling obstructed-view seats at full price. There have been others, but those spring to mind. He has been called on those moves by the Post, which has no doubt furthered his dislike of the paper.

11
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 6:08pm

One benefit of the team partnering with the fan site is that the owners of the site get 2 press passes per game to take pictures with digital camers and keep blogs. This is not just for home games but away games, and includes sideline and pressbox access.

This week the fanboy reporter got into a confrontation with Len Pasquarelli. The fanboy made a remark on Len's article, Just an ordinary Joe, where he basically said the game has passed Gibbs by. Len got really defensive than attacked the fanboy for even having an opinion, and made a comment on the Redskin fans who ask him quesions in chats.

I'm a columnist. I offer opinion. Don't I have the right? Who are you? You're just a fan. Fanatic. A fanatic. Don't you ever offer an opinion.

I ignore you [redacteds]. I give it right back to you. I see the questions and I just wave them by. They ask if I'll ever talk about the Redskins and I just say no.

One of the benefits to having a blogger in the pressbox. Although I'm sure the sports media is probably not too happy about this.

I'm having problems posting comments... test?

12
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 6:12pm

I was having problems posting... had to do with quotation marks.

The two paragraphs with I in it are quotes from Len P to the fanboy reporter on the Redskins.

13
by ajn (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 6:38pm

is useability a word?

14
by Ashley Tate (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 7:05pm

Snyder's problem is that he's a dealmaker not an organization builder. He made his fortune by assembling a huge marketing/advertising conglomerate and then taking it public. The two skill sets are very different.

You can see the results of his dealmaking ability in the Redskins ability to get any free agent they want (well his open wallet may have something to do with that too but he does know how to wow the players on their visits!).

Gibbs, on the other hand, is an extraordinary organization builder. I'm hoping Snyder will learn a lot from Gibbs before he moves on because, let's face it, Snyder will likely own the Redskins for most of the rest of my lifetime!

15
by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 7:39pm

I wasn't aware that Snyder attempted to block pedestrian access to the stadium so that fans have to park in his lots. That's outrageous. But attempting to force season-ticket holders to use only a Redskins-affiliated credit card to pay for tickets and selling obstructed-view seats at full price don't strike me as that bad. If people are willing to pay full-price for obstructed view, any businessman is going to charge full-price. And the credit card thing, although it sounds a little silly, doesn't really bother me -- can't businesses tell their customers what methods of payment will and won't be accepted?

16
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 7:42pm

MDS: Yeah my comment sounds harsher than I actually feel about Snyder. He's definitely not bad. The problem was before he hired Gibbs his management style was too ADD. Just adding more pieces randomly to the mix and hoping something eventually fits. The problem is with the salary cap those failures have a higher cost than just the cash wasted.

17
by Asshat (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 8:05pm

Redskins suck. THey're lucky they won against the bucs. Die Redskins. Snyder is a flaming douchenozzle.

18
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 9:49pm

If people are willing to pay full-price for obstructed view, any businessman is going to charge full-price.

Depends on whether they tell you it is obstructed view or not. If you assume it isn't because you are paying full price, that is a problem.

And the credit card thing, although it sounds a little silly, doesn’t really bother me — can’t businesses tell their customers what methods of payment will and won’t be accepted?

I suppose, but if you went to the grocery store to buy something, and they told you you had to pay in Japanese yen, I think you'd be mighty peeved, especially if what you wanted wasn't available elsewhere.

19
by masocc (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 9:51pm

Re: #13 -- I certainly hope so, otherwise the value of my latest diploma will decrease significantly. Of course, I'm assuming they'll spell usability correctly.

20
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 10:16pm

#15 - I'll have to research the obstructed-view seats thing to tell the whole story. However, what business do you know specifies what kind of Mastercard you can use? I'm guessing Mastercard and banks that market those cards weren't too happy with this policy. Even Snyder backed down on that one.

21
by Jamie T. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 10:40pm

#3 and #4

The Titans have done the same thing for two years now. Perhaps not to the same extent as the Reskins, but www.gotitans.com has had posters and the administrator invited to preseason practices and then have reported on them.

22
by duh! (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 10:47pm

Michael David Smith, What planet do you come from? You wouldn't mind going to Exxon to get gas and having to fill out an Exxon credit card application, then going to mcDonald's and having to pay with an 'ArchCard' and then going to the FastMart for beer and having to sign up for a Fastmart card, and then stopping by Walmart to do your shopping, and only being able to pay with a WalCard and paying your DirectTV NFL Ticket bill, but first having to apply for a DirectTV NFL TicketCard? Come on, on planet earth cheesy is cheesy and dumb is dumb. And Synder is Synder, which is why he bugs people!

23
by thad (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 11:15pm

The problems with Snyder are legendary.
First of all you must understand that before he bought the team they were owned by Jack Kent Cooke and his son.
Jack was Mr. unseen owner guy, he spent a lot of money,won three super bowls, and when they did not win they were competitive. The only time he ever got publicity was when his wife did something a little off the wall.
With the Capitals a mediocre team, the Bullets/Wizards almost always bad, and no baseball the people of DC were just nuts about the skins.
Seriously, there are a lot of Ethiopians here, you can go to an Etheopian bar on Sunday and there will be a bunch of Ethiopan nationals there totally locked into the Skins, its actually pretty fun.
But then Jack died, Turner was the coach and the team began this long malaise. After a protracted legal struggle Snyder got the team. He was a lifelong fan, was gonna spend a lot of money, was gonna be the next Jerry Jones!
and wasn't.
Before sunday, the Redskins had won only a single playoff game since 1992. The Post cut them slack for years.
Finally after many many free agent signings, the Post started to question Snyder a bit. The failure of Brunell las year and his big signing bonus got a lot of press.
The funny thing is, when the Skins got rid of Coles and got Moss, the Post talked about what a big cap hit they would take, and how much cap trouble the Skins will be in next year.
There have been many negative articles about the stadium too.
The traffic is horrible and the prices are high. Not just for tickets, for everything.

24
by thad (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 11:21pm

You know what I remember most about the Turner era?
In 2000, his last year,
the Redskins started off at 6-2,
then started to lose. The Post, which had generally not been too critical of turner at all, finally reported that his playcalling system did not use audibles. I never knew that.
By the way he uses the same system that Mike Martz used.
At that point the writing was on the wall that Snyder did not like Norv so much.

25
by NF (not verified) :: Tue, 01/10/2006 - 3:38am

"Redskins Become the Messenger"

I am the gateway.

26
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/10/2006 - 3:55am

Re: 23
The Redskins won a playoff game in 1999! Stephen Davis ran roughshod over the Detroit Lions on a muddy field... I think he played hurt, which didn't help the following week in Tampa Bay.

Snyder is just learning the ropes of being an owner. In hindsight, I think he should've hired Marvin Lewis, but he was either a year too early or late on getting him with the Redskins, or he never should've fired Schottenheimer.

I hope he doesn't go back to assembling a video game team like he did in 2000 though... at least not one led by Jeff George.

27
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/10/2006 - 10:32am

Beating the Lions doesn't count.

28
by Michael David Smith :: Tue, 01/10/2006 - 12:02pm

#22, thanks for that intelligent response, but you might want to read what I write a little more carefully next time. When did I say I wouldn't mind having to use a different card at every store? What I said is that it's the store owner's right, which it is. My Discover card isn't accepted at the nearest gas station, which is why I don't go to that gas station. They choose not to take Discover, they lose my business. They're making a choice, I'm making a choice. What's wrong with both parties having free choice? What do you want, the owners of the gas station to be thrown in jail for not taking Discover?

29
by Playit (not verified) :: Tue, 01/10/2006 - 4:46pm

Re #28

I think the issue isn't entirely as free market as you have suggested. If McD's requires you to use a McD branded card, you can drive across the street and eat a Whopper instead. However Teams are given monopolies (by power of the federal govt) to a certain audience. As such, they should strive to be more fair to the broadest audience possible. I doubt the Redskin's Card is a debit card... what happens to fans with bad credit? Are they unable to purchase tickets in that instance because they couldn't qualify for the card?

My problems with Snyder though are his more shaddy dealings. There seems to be more accusations every year regarding player tampering, fueds with players over contracts and broken promises (See Coles and LaVar), favored status to certain press outlets who promise to be more homeristic, ect... Not exactly a man of the people.

30
by Michael David Smith :: Wed, 01/11/2006 - 12:06pm

Everyone says pro sports teams have a local monopoly, but I don't know that that's really true. I mean, aren't the Nationals, Wizards and Capitals all competition? Hell, isn't Netflix competition? People have free time on Sunday afternoons and the Redskins are fighting for that free time with other outlets, and if the fans object to having to get a Redskins credit card (as I would), those fans will stop buying tickets, and Snyder will therefore make less money.