- The Washington Times
Monday, January 2, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Time flies even when you’re not having fun.


The Monday morning quarterbacks gave it their all, trying to explain how the Washington Redskins blew a win-or-stay home, final regular-season game in Maryland. The stats had nothing to do with the defeat.

The ‘Skins left their mojo in RFK Stadium in Washington 20 years ago. The coaches haven’t a clue as to how to get it back. Dan Snyder knows, and a few federal and D.C. authorities probably do, too. On Jan. 5, others get to open up.

On Thursday, EventsDC, the agency that books the RFK/D.C. Armory compound, is scheduled to hold a public free-for-all to get answers to the burning question: What to do with RFK?

The armory side of the question is not so relevant, as there has to be an armory for the National Guard, whether you’re a true pacifist or a relic of the make-peace-not-war movement.

There’s another aging relic in the room, and its name is the Robert. F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, circa 1960 — former home of the ‘Skins and the Nationals, and soon to be the former home of D.C. United.

No doubt, there will be calls to turn the RFK-Armory grounds into green space, facilities for parks and recreation, and acres of eateries and retail space. Instead of mini-moneymakers, though, the entire campus — potholed parking lots and all — needs anchors.

The proposal needs three components: anchors that bring in big bucks, well-thought-out public parking areas, and public works and utilities plans that look beyond the next 20 years.

To see how such things are done in the NFL, all the city’s top dogs need do is look to Arlington, Texas, where “Jerry’s World,” a city-owned stadium, was built for Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. It seats 80,000 people and accommodates another 25,000 on foot. The taxpayers love it, the media adore it and fans dig for coins in the seat cushions of their couches and SUVs to buy tickets for it.

Mr. Snyder is willing to dig, as well. Indeed, he has already hired design and architecture folks. For her part, Mayor Muriel Bowser has already said coming home to the District is “the only place that makes sense.” And Maryland and Virginia have declared a tug of war, with Maryland unwilling to let go and Gov. Terry McAuliffe in Virginia promising to pull the team, which already has two sites in the commonwealth, across the Potomac.

One of the biggest tugs, however, may be over the team’s name since D.C. officials, as you may know, are on record calling it offensive.

Whether the Trump administration and federal officials look into their crystal ball is not yet known. What’s for certain is that Mr. Snyder wants to move his team out of Cooke’s stadium and into a house that Dan built.

It’s certainly time to get the ball down the field, despite the fact that short girlie passes helped quarterback Kirk Cousins earn a respectable pass-play record this season.

Bringing the Redskins back to Washington won’t be the resounding message at EventsDC’s public confab on Thursday. But it should be. The relocation should be the city’s No. 1 goal.

Pulling that off would earn Mayor Muriel Bowser a pat on the rump as a team player.

And, yes, the new Washington Redskins stadium should have a retractable roof to lure the Super Bowl and seasonal crowds all year long, as well as improved public access, such as new Metrobus and Metrorail access points. Public access to FedEx sucks, and Virginia has promised a Metro station.

Because the Redskins will seemingly have to play home games in FedEx for another decade, the city needn’t worry about naming rights. Sign on the dotted line to bring the Washington Redskins home, and the prestigious naming rights (and revenue) will come.

First, though, the city needs to work its mojo on Mr. Snyder. He and the Redskins can take it from there.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

• Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.


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