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It’s been 19 years since Daniel Snyder backed into the ownership of the local NFL team, and for the most part, it’s been a continual reign of error after error, leading to loss after loss and embarrassment after embarrassment from an owner who may still not know what he doesn’t know.
And now comes yet another seemingly unfathomable indignity—the recent news that the team’s once previously robust waiting list for season tickets has incredibly dwindled all the way down to zero. Step right up ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, season tickets and, even better, single game tickets are all yours, just for the asking, as long as money is no real object.
It’s no great secret that all the losses and all the years without an appearance in the playoffs have taken their toll on the once faithful masses.
When I covered the team as The Post’s beat writer in the George Allen 1970s, about 14,000 individuals controlled the 55,000 seats at old RFK Stadium. It was often said back then that a 21-year-old getting his name on the waiting list in 1975 might have to sit tight for another 50 years before finally pushing to the head of the line.
But 43 years later, there is no line.
So now, how do the ’Skins think they’re going to win their fans back to FedEx Field? Free parking? Lower ticket prices? Free cheerleader calendars (G-rated, of course)? Or better yet, a Super Bowl contender, heaven forbid.
Not really, sports fans. It’s going to be all about the so-called “fan experience” inside the worst ball park in the NFL, and specifically at the concession stands.
A few months ago, Chris Bloyer, the team’s senior vice president of operations and guest experience (honest)spoke at an event billed as a “Taste of FedEx Field”for media members and a few hundred season ticket members. The idea was to crow about the new concession offerings and facility upgrades for the 2018 season.
“We have to make this the best it can be for our fans as long as we’re here, so we’ll continue to invest in it until the last day,” said the Guest Experience SeniorVP, surely the only football executive in America with that gaudy title. “We’re always looking at ways we can make enhancements.”
And where have they been looking hardest? It’s the food, stupid. And oh, yes, some craft beer, too.
That day, Bloyer and several of his associates bloviated about the dozens of new menu items and a more extensive craft beer list on tap.
And the new menu choices? Let us count the calories.
—Mini-meatball bombers with gravy or marinara sauce
—Smoked chicken wings with barbecue or Buffalo sauce
—Steak and cheese egg rolls with sriracha ketchup
—A PBLT, a crispy pork belly, lettuce and tomato jam sandwich with black pepper aioli on sourdough bread
Wait, there’s more:
Three new types of nachos—a “West Coast Nacho” with pulled chicken, avocado, tomato, corn, black beans, salsa, jalapeños and cilantro; a “DMV Nacho” with Ben’s Chili Bowl chili and half-smoked sausage, chipotle cheese sauce, crispy onions and chopped cherry peppers; and an “East Coast Nacho” with shredded beer can beef, chili, cheese sauce, caramelized onions and chopped cherry peppers.
And the two biggest gut-busters:
—The DMV Super Burrito, featuring three pounds of beef, chicken and half-smoke rolled with Spanish rice, lettuce, tomato, avocado and black beans in a flour tortilla.
—The “Pit Bull,” a foot-long, all-beef hot dog topped with horseradish mustard sauce, pit beef and giardiniera (whatever that might be).
This much is known. There is no truth to the rumor that The Food Network will be televising all ‘Skins home games. Nor has anyone installed Barf-camsin all restrooms, men and women.
This much also is known.
As long as Snyder owns this football team, not much will change on the field. Maybe 8-8 this season. Probably worse. So pass the pork bellies and let the reign of error continue.
Leonard Shapiro retired in 2011 after 41 years as a Washington Post sportswriter, columnist, and editor.
Photo by Keith Allison on Flickr, used under the Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 license.