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Maybe the uninspiring preseason results are just a sign of distraction: The local NFL franchise is shopping for a new home.
Team owner Dan Snyder said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet Wednesday that the team has “started the process” of designing a new stadium. The stadium, he said, could be in Virginia, D.C., or Maryland, where it’s played at FedEx Field since 1997. Before then, the team called RFK Stadium in the District home.
“Whether it’s Washington, D.C., whether it’s another stadium in Maryland, whether it’s a stadium in Virginia, we’ve started the process,” Snyder said. “We are going to push forward. We’ve started meeting with architectural firms. We are in the process of developing because it is a long term that you do it.”
These two states and D.C. will likely start wooing Snyder soon, but Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe may have a head start. D.C. Mayor Vince Gray originally said that if the team wanted to call D.C. home, it would have to discuss changing its name. A month later he backed off, and explained, according to the Washington Post, that his “original remarks were meant to acknowledge that the likely site of a new Redskins stadium—on the site of the old RFK Stadium—is federal property.” The name, which recently was stripped of its federal trademark, Gray said, could make it hard to get federal approval for the site. In November, the D.C. Council passed a resolution in a 10-0 vote urging the team to change its name. (Councilmember Yvette Alexander abstained, and two other members were absent.)
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said this month that it’s time to change the name. Lt. Gov Anthony Brown, the state’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, has called the name “inappropriate” and hopes the team considers changing it.
But McAuliffe has deliberately not taken a stance, saying his job is to boost the state’s economy, not tell private businesses what to do.
Snyder said he has already seen some preliminary drawings of the stadium, which is going to be “very retro.”
“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,” he said. “I said that I think the lower bowl sections are going to want to rock the stadium like the old days.”
Snyder gave no timeline to Comcast SportsNet as to when the stadium may be complete.
“I’d like to see it sooner than later, but we love FedEx Field,” he said. “It’s a great place to feature our home games, but it’s 17 years old now. I think it’s time for us to start looking and we’re doing it.”
FedEx Field, originally named Jack Kent Cooke Stadium after the team’s previous owner, cost $250 million—or more than $360 million in today’s dollars—to build. There’s almost no chance Snyder will want to pay for a new stadium without any aid from the public; only three NFL stadiums were built without taxpayers ponying up to spare the extremely wealthy people who own football teams from having to cover the whole bill.
But hey, if anyone deserves to get hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, it’s Dan Snyder, right?
Photo by Darrow Montgomery