Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has spent much of his offseason defending his team's controversial nickname and claiming it will never change. One thing Snyder is willing to change, however? His stadium—and possibly its location as well.
Snyder sat down with CSN Washington on Wednesday and unveiled the Redskins are in the planning stages for building a new stadium.
“We are going to push forward," Snyder said. "We've started meeting with architectural firms. We are in the process of developing because it is a long term that you do it.”
While noncommittal about the new stadium's location, Snyder did indicate a move back to Washington D.C. is possible if the terms are amenable. The Redskins' current facility, FedEx Field, is located in Landover, Maryland. Snyder indicated D.C., Maryland and Virginia are all potential locations.
Moving back to the city would hearken nostalgia for the team's glory days. Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, located downtown, was the team's home for 36 seasons, including each of its five Super Bowl appearances. One of Snyder's main priorities with his new stadium will be creating a nostalgic feel—with RFK serving as his blueprint.
“We've already seen some preliminary drawings and I'm going to be very retro with it,” Snyder said. “It's gonna feel like RFK. It's gonna move like RFK. I love that, I actually asked architectural firms to do it and they said that they can do it. I said that I think the lower bowl sections are going to want to rock the stadium like the old days.”
The Redskins have not had nearly the same amount of success at FedEx Field, a 17-year period which has coincided with Snyder's ownership. The team has won only two division championships in the building while making four total playoff appearances.
RFK, meanwhile, was the host of the proudest 10-year span in franchise history. From 1982 to 1991, the Redskins won three Super Bowls, appeared in four and made the playoff seven times. Washington has not won 11 games in a season since its Super Bowl run in 1991 and has not made back-to-back playoff runs since moving to Landover.
While that seems much more due to rampant franchise mismanagement than a stadium problem, Snyder said he was determined to get started "sooner than later." FedEx Field is still relatively young, but the arms race with NFL owners to land new stadiums is only growing larger.
The 49ers' Levi's Stadium will be the fifth new facility to open since 2008. The Vikings and Falcons have also come to agreements on new stadiums expected to be open within the next couple years. While FedEx Field is the fourth-largest stadium in the NFL, Snyder undoubtedly sees the massive revenue streams that are opening with their new buildings.
Santa Clara and Minneapolis have both been awarded Super Bowls before their stadiums opened. The Cowboys, Colts, Giants/Jets and Cardinals have also been recently rewarded for their state-of-the-art complexes by hosting the country's biggest sporting event.
"I think this region, not only this town, this region deserves a Super Bowl," Snyder told CSN. "It ought to be here, it would be a fantastic accomplishment. It's the biggest sporting event in the globe. It's the nation's capital, it's a no-brainer."
Angling for a stadium and landing one are two different things, so it'll be interesting to see how this process goes. Snyder is a controversial figure among fans and media alike, particularly with his stance on the "Redskins" name.
Given the amount of subsidies NFL teams request from local governments—ones usually paid through taxpayer hikes—the uneasiness will undoubtedly follow. The prospect of building new arenas for multibillion-dollar organizations is already a touchy subject with some citizens, with the Oakland Raiders among a few teams hinting of relocation due to their city's unwillingness to subsidize a new stadium
Exciting fans with the possibility of a new stadium should help Snyder's PR. Getting an agreement done, however, might come with more hitches than he's expecting.
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