The Case To Suspend Daniel Snyder
November 6, 2009 - John Whittaker
In 1990, with the New York Yankees mired in the midst of a 67-95 season, George Steinbrenner was suspended by Major League Baseball for hiring a gambler to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield.
It might be the greatest suspension ever.
Suspending Steinbrenner meant Gene Michael and Buck Showalter were free to remake the Yankees in their own image. They were free to let young players make youthful mistakes without being sent down to AAA or traded. It meant they could trade a "star" player like Roberto Kelly for a Paul O'Neill who had trouble hitting his weight in Cincinnati.
When Steinbrenner returned from his suspension in 1993, the Yankees were rebuilt and ready to be championship contenders.
As the Yankees celebrate their fifth World Championship in the 16 years since Steinbrenner's suspension ended, I'm wondering when Roger Goodell finds a reason to suspend Daniel Snyder, who is killing the Redskins in much the same way Steinbrenner killed the Yankees in the late 1980s.
1. Both owners love free agency.
2. Both owners fire managers and general managers like they were bad plumbers.
3. Much like Steinbrenner in the early 1990s, Snyder has infuriated fans by presiding over one of the worst stretches in team history. Want proof? Just visit www.selltheteamdan.com; http://darthsnyder.com and my personal favorite, www.cafepress.com/RedskinsGlory/6914427, where you can go to buy shirts and hats to show your displeasure with Snyder. By the way, shouldn't darthsnyder.com buy primary sponsorship on one of Joe Gibbs' cars for Sunday's NASCAR race? How great would that be?
4. Snyder is more of a story than the team he owns. Again, does anybody remember the days before Steinbrenner was a doting father and grandfather whom everybody loved? The Washington Post should have a sportswriter whose beat is nothing more than writing about Snyder.
While listening to Yankee after Yankee say they wanted to win the World Series for Steinbrenner, I couldn't help but think about what would have happened had Steinbrenner not been suspended for three years.
eter would have been traded -- Steinbrenner confidante Clyde King didn't think Jeter was ready to handle the shortstop position in 1996. Pettitte would have been gone long ago -- Steinbrenner grew impatient during a slow start in 1998. Mariano Rivera would probably be a Mariner when Steinbrenner wanted a new second baseman. Bernie Williams isn't around to carry the Yankees to the title in 1996 -- Steinbrenner wanted to trade him in 1994.
Football is a game that relies on cohesion and teamwork as much as it does on having the best players. The 2001 Patriots are beloved because they embodied the concept of team. Teams with little talent can beat teams with better players by buying into a good scheme and simply doing their job.
For Snyder, though, the concept of team pales in comparison to making a splash on the front page of the Washington Post's sports section. Over the years, he's compiled one of the longest list of free agent flops in NFL history: Adam Archuleta, Andre Carter, Antwaan Randle El, Jeff George, Jeremiah Trotter, Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, DeAngelo Hall, Derrick Dockery, Laveranues Coles and Dana Stubblefield. These are guys with proven NFL pedigrees who did pretty much nothing for the Redskins. Of course, they also were as past their prime as chunky milk, too.
After Snyder's first full season of ownership, longtime general manager Charlie Casserly was canned. The next season, Norv Turner was fired in midseason, leading to a revolving door of coaches. The Redskins have had six coaches since 2000, including the disastrous Steve Spurrier era, Jim Zorn - an offensive coordinator whose offense can't store; Joe Gibbs (again) and Marty Schottenheimer, who was fired after one year only to go to San Diego and make the Chargers a contender. When you're hiring and firing coaches every two or three years, it's impossible to decide what type of team you are. The Redskins have gone from conservative Martyball to the wide-open Fun and Gun of Steve Spurrier to the run-oriented Joe Gibbs offense to Jim Zorn's allegedly pass-oriented offense. Much more so than baseball, continuity is important. Every one of those new coaches was stuck with players who didn't fit their scheme. Honestly, would Zorn have drafted Jason Campbell?
The NFL is much better when the Redskins are a good team, much like baseball is more entertaining when the Yankees are good. Plus, the Redskins have some of the best fans anywhere -- knowledgeable, intense, committed. What other team would compel grown, fat men with beards to wear dresses? When the Hogettes are ready to give up on a team, it's time for the owner to step away.
At this point, does Goodell even need a good reason to "suspend" Snyder? Isn't there a good of the game clause that could be invoked? Does Jim Zorn need to show up naked for Sunday's game? Does John Riggins need to start a petition drive? Or is it this simple - does Snyder just have to show up outside Goodell's New York office and flip the commissioner the bird? Does mooning have to be involved?
For the sake of Redskins fans, I'm asking Goodell to step in soon.
Let's face it, we're about two weeks away from ticked off Redskins fans beating down the door to Snyder's private suite at FedEx Field and making him squeal like a pig.
Nobody wants to see that.
On to the games:
Arizona at Chicago: Two teams that really need some Ritalin to even themselves out. Arizona could stamp its ticket for the playoffs by stringing together wins against teams they should beat. Chicago is wildly inconsistent. I think Arizona wins, but can't think of a coherent reason why other than my Buddha belly tells me so.
Washington at Atlanta: A loss to the Falcons might be the end of Jim Zorn - and not because Snyder fires him. I honestly think Zorn has been emasculated to the point he can't coach his team effectively . There's no way any of the players are listening to him, and it's not like he's made Jason Campbell anything more than a slightly more efficient and skinnier version of JaMarcus Russell. I like the Falcons to win, Zorn to quit, and Dan Snyder to continue running the Redskins into the ground.
Miami at New England: This game comes down to the Patriots front seven controlling the line of scrimmage. I'm still not sold on the Patriots linebackers (can you really be that good if Junior Seau playing in his Rascal scooter makes you better?) but I'm also not sold on the Dolphins being able to keep fooling the genius that is Bill Belichick. Tom Brady might have to throw for 325 yards and a few touchdowns for the Pats to win, and that's a bet I'm willing to make. By the way, I'll also bet $5 Joey Porter gets decked by a ticked off Patriots offensive lineman after saying the referees treat Brady differently than other quarterbacks. Just a hunch.
Houston at Indianapolis: I'm officially drinking the Houston Kool-Aid. After struggling to beat the 49ers last week, I wonder what happens with the Colts play a team that can play offense - which, by the way, Houston can. I'm still not sold on the Texans defense, but in a shootout, I like Houston to hand the Colts their first loss.
Baltimore at Cincinnati: Facing the possibility of a four-game deficit in the AFC North, does anyone see the Ravens falling flat? For me, this game comes down to Ray Lewis and the Ravens run defense stopping Cedric Benson. I think the Ravens win a close game, maybe on a late field goal.
Green Bay at Tampa Bay: Teddy, it might be time to throw in that DVD from the Buccaneers' Super Bowl championship. You'll need it to make it through this year with the Bucs. Ouch. I need to call Teddy to see if he'd wear a "We Finished 0-16" t-shirt. He might need one.
Kansas City at Jacksonville: How is Jacksonville a .500 football team? David Garrard can't throw the ball, teams should be loading up to stop Maurice Jones-Drew and they're nothing special defensively. Having the Titans, Rams and now Kansas City on the schedule sure didn't hurt, did it? This game sucks out loud, and the Jags win.
Detroit at Seattle: If this game was in Detroit, I'd still pick Seattle. How big a blowout do I think the Carolina-New Orleans game is going to be if this game isn't the Cat Poop Salad Game of the Week? You can smell the stench from this game all the way from Chautauqua County. The Seahawks pretty much quit last week, and Detroit still doesn't have the horses to be favored against anybody not playing in the Big East. I like the Seahawks to win in a snoozer. My advice to anyone who gets this game as their network game on Sunday is to start drinking heavily - right now.
Carolina at New Orleans: The News Cat's spreading kitty litter all over this game. Carolina can't throw the ball and has had issues stopping opposing passing games. New Orleans scores a ton of points a game and has a pretty good defensive backfield. This smells like the News Cat's Cat Poop Salad Game of the Week. That face John Fox makes after Jake Delhomme's seventh interception is what it looks like when someone actually eats the cat poop salad.
San Diego at NY Giants: Two absolutely mediocre football teams that could catch fire and go to their conference championship games or just as easily miss the playoffs. I wonder how many more losses the Giants need before Tom Coughlin's head explodes like the Death Star. I also wonder how many more losses for the Chargers before LaDanian Tomlinson stabs Norv Turner with a salad fork. I think the Chargers win, and I pray to the God of good football that it's not on TV.
Tennessee at San Francisco: Are the Titans starting to look frisky after putting Vince Young back into the lineup, or does Jacksonville just stink that bad? I think I'm going to take the Titans in an upset -- the 49ers are just too inconsistent for my taste. Mike Singletary needs to start taking his pants off again.
Dallas at Philadelphia: I have no idea what to make of Philadelphia, but they do have Donovan McNabb, which means the Whitless Wonder picks the Eagles based on the "Syracuse fans have to have something to hold on to while our football team continues being terrible" corrolary. Plus, I want to see Dallas win one more game against good competition before I start putting any faith in a team that employs Wade Phillips.
Pittsburgh at Denver: What do you get when you combine the year-after hangover, playing on the road in Denver and the "Is he or isn't he playing" status of Troy Polamalu? I think it adds up to Denver cementing its status as this year's surprise team that craps out in the playoffs. Enjoy this win, Broncos fans - in three months, you'll be blindsided by either the Patriots or Steelers in the playoffs.
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Love of the Redskins drove this man to wear a dress and a pig's nose to a public place. SHouldn't that type of loyalty be rewarded by suspending Dan Snyder?