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Sunday, December 30, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Not that we needed any more proof that Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has no capacity for embarrassment, but Sunday at Ghost Town Field there was yet more evidence of his lack of perspective.

He brought Redskins coaching legend Joe Gibbs to the game.


I mean, would you really want Gibbs, 78, to witness the lowest point of the franchise that he brought to Super Bowl glory three times in person?

Did you think what we saw Sunday — a home stadium filled with Eagles fans, a helpless Redskins team manhandled in a 24-0 loss to Philadelphia, finishing a second-straight 7-9 season — was going to be any different? What, were you going to be proud to have Gibbs witness the damage you had done to this once-proud franchise in person?

Then again, maybe Gibbs just made a pre-game show of support on the field with Snyder, giving the owner cover from the wrath of fans.

If that was his motivation, he didn’t have anything to worry about. There were no Redskins fans to be seen in the stands before kickoff to boo Snyder. By the time the crowd got in their seats, it appeared that 75 percent of those in attendance were Eagles fans, and they were loud. By the time the fourth quarter came around, the few Redskins fans who were there headed for the exits, ridiculed by Philadelphia fans as they left.

Who knows, maybe Gibbs left early. Let’s hope so — like first quarter early.

Or perhaps Snyder was laying the groundwork for one more Hail Mary pass to save his pathetic standing among the damaged and dwindling fan base — another return of Gibbs, this time not as coach but as team president emeritus or whatever title they would come up with to try to sell the notion that the savior would lay hands on the organization and heal it.

That’s seems as farfetched as hiring a team of highly-regarded business executives to stop the bleeding at the box office in May and then forcing them out in December.

Tell me again that the exodus of Redskins president of business operations Brian Lafemina and the three marketing/sales executives who accompanied him to Redskins Park seven months ago has nothing to do with football. Look at that crowd Sunday at Ghost Town Field. Remember the criticisms of the home crowd from Redskins players this season, who professed a preference to play on the road. Remember how Redskins coach Jay Gruden has talked about the importance of home-field advantage.

“It’s disappointing for sure,” Gruden said when asked about crowd and absence of Redskins fans. “It’s my job to make sure the fans come here.”

Go ahead, tell me again the carnage in the business office last week at Redskins Park has nothing to do with what happens on the field.

Now that Snyder has punted his dream team of business executives brought in to, among other things, perfume the poison that now permeates the fan base, he may not have any tricks left to save himself and the organization he has run into the ground.

Gibbs? The last time Gibbs returned, we were only five years into the Snyder regime. Now we are approaching year 20. There may be too much damage done over that time to reach back one more time for the glory of the glory years, even if you are selling the illusion of glory. The poison is too strong even for the presence of Gibbs, a successful NASCAR racing team owner who would risk his lootbll legacy in any marriage with Snyder at this point.

Don’t think so? Look at the guy who was also with Gibbs on the field before Sunday’s game — Doug Williams, currently the team’s senior vice president of player personnel. Williams is a franchise icon, the African-American quarterback who led Gibbs and the Redskins to their memorable 42-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII with one of the greatest quarterback performances in the history of the game.

The last time we heard from Williams, he was apologizing for his insensitive comments in a radio interview defending the signing of accused woman beater Reuben Foster shortly after being cut by the San Francisco 49ers following his arrest in Tampa on domestic violence charges. While Snyder and team president Allen hid, they sent out Williams to defend the controversial signing, and he bungled it badly, downplaying the accusations, calling them “small potatoes (compared to) a lot of things out there.”

Williams’ legacy will likely continue to diminish as long as he is in business with Snyder. Redskins Park is the elephant graveyard of the NFL, where careers and reputations go to die. If Gibbs were to return, he likely faces the same fate.

Then again, maybe he just came to see a game. Too bad he didn’t see one.

⦁ Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast every Tuesday and Thursday.


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