Sunday, October 18, 2009

FedEx Field Trip: All The Misery In The World

I went to the Redskins game against the Chiefs on Sunday. I had out-of-town guests, and the Goettler’s of Columbus Ohio joined me on the trek to the big ol’ funnel of concrete and gaudy FedEx colors in the Squire inspired quaint lil’ town of “Raljon” Maryland.

Me, John, his two sports loving bush-eared sons Henry (12) and Peter (8).

We made it to the Caps-Predators game the night before. They saw three, awesome, genuine Alex Ovetchkin goals, including the game-winner in a shootout.

I joked – and I really did think it was a joke – “you know, that’s pretty neat you got to see the league MVP score three goals. Tomorrow, you might get so see (insert exaggerated voice) a REDSKINS TOUCHDOWN!”

Well, I knew I shouldn’t have teased them with such fantasy.

Driving in to the game, we encountered two orange jacketed parking lot attendants. I swear to god, they were performing a comedy routine. Standing no less than 10 feet apart, IN THE WAY OF INCOMING CARS, they proceeded to point in FOUR different directions, with each one of their four arms.

I am not making up one scintilla of this anecdote. Swear on my momma’s life!

Thankfully, there were color coded parking lot signs. I wouldn’t be surprised if these guys don’t have friendly wagers with each other over who can mis-direct the most cars, or cause an accident.

The stadium was dingy, poorly marked, and half empty.

My guests wondered how old it was. I winced when I said it had just turned 10 a few years ago.

The game experience is dreadful, and I haven’t yet begun to discuss the currently awful football team.

The video screen is small, square, and screams “Hello! I’m from 1997!” I almost think it sits in a giant built-in cabinet, so the bulging picture tube behind it can hide flush inside the bowels of the stadium.

Replays are sporadic. In Green Bay, you get two angles for EVERY play. I know. I was there two years ago.

The speakers are too loud, and the announcer is smarmy. He kept making fun of kicker Ryan Succup, by punching the name “suck-up!”

Only fitting then, that the guy single-footedly beat us. Stadium announcers need only to give yards gained, who made the carry or tackle, and the down and distance. They need not, and should not, be smartasses.

There were absolutely NO in-game presentation of key statistics. Anywhere. Only when Portis went over 100 yards on a generic plunge up the middle, did smarmy announcer man intone that Portis had made some fantasy geeks happy. Great. Shows you what’s important with this franchise.

Out of town scores?

Ha. Sure. They ran a full panel score run down once in the first half. It was of games from WEEK 2 in the NFL! Nice job. They ran updated scores once more, maybe, in the 2nd half. You also got a few scores on the video screen.

Not a single highlight from another game.

And while I understand you have to get in commercials and such, there was plenty of downtime, injury time, and extended TV timeouts where you could fit them in.

Eh, why bother? Right? We’ve got these suckers and their money already. That is going to change, people. Trust me. One helluva storm is coming to Danny’s ticket base.

The “Hail to the Redskins” song, when – ONCE AGAIN! – we were being shutout, was insulting to the core. The fact that the video showed all these images of great Redskins teams and players and coaches and moments from well over 15 years ago… before Snyder had made – and lost – his first million bucks marketing free product samples... was patently ridiculous.

The loudest cheer all day, was when it was announced that Todd Collins had replaced Jason Campbell. Those cheers didn’t last long.

Fans around us in the Club Seats… said very little. Cheered even less. A guy behind us started making cracks about all the obvious topics…. Zorn incompetence… woeful O-line… Campbell inaccuracy… DeAngelo Hall being totally over-rated, and overpaid….

But otherwise, the fans just sat there like they were all embarrassed to be sitting on some of the most over-priced seats in the building.

I saw and felt a fan base that had given up.

(For more on this, please read Dan Steinberg’s excellent account at the DC Sports Bog here…)

So I wonder. When will Snyder say what two words simply need to be said: “I’m sorry.”

When will he say: “This is not what I want to give our fans. And I am committed to getting it right.”

He doesn’t need to say anything else. He doesn’t need to DO anything else right now.

Nothing can be done. He can’t go back to the 2008 draft and trade the three worthless WR/TE’s for 3 young o-linemen.

Firing Zorn, will feel good someday. He’s a rare triple blend of arrogance, paranoia, and ineptitude. But that feeling will last maybe 2 days. Then the team will be even worse.

Just come out and say it: “I’m sorry.”

It won’t be accepted by many fans as even genuine. But it will be a start.

And if he ever wants to make the “in-store experience” better for his paying customers, he can call me. Fixing that, will be much easier than fixing his team.


  1. Czabe,
    Interesting to hear about the experience at FedEx field. I have heard you discuss it several times, and it's crazy the difference we have here in Indy. The prices are obviously way out of line, but such is the world we live in for professional sports. However, the experience at the game is great.

    The stadium is located in downtown Indianapolis so what that means is that traffic is spread out real nicely. You can easily park for around $10, and only have to walk around 10 minutes to the stadium. Getting out is also pretty easy from most parking spots. I know our usual spot takes us about 10-15 min to get away from traffic and cruising home.

    The new stadium is sweet. The video screen is good. I've been to two games with the roof open, which is awesome, but it will be nice to have it closed in a few weeks. I would say we don't get enough highlights or updates about other scores in the league, but I think that is common everywhere.

    This of course has a lot to do with Manning and the overall product on the field. Once Peyton goes it will be very interesting to see what happens to this club. However, the Colts over the last 10 years have had an amazing impact on Indy. This city used to be a hoops heavy town, but now it has completely changed to a football city. We still love our hoops, but football dominates even on a high school level.

    Anyways thought you might want a perspective from a different place.

    Love the show.

    Steve in Indy

  2. you sound an awful lot like us cowboys fans who want jerry to hire a real gm, instead of him and his son
    the only good i have is that in our division the redskins are worse than dallas, and our owner is older than yours so he may die sooner.

  3. steve, the difference between indy and washington is indy area metro population: 1,847,588 and washington area popluation: 7,572,647
    i was born in kokomo and grew up in northern virginia a bike ride from d.c. so i know both areas well. I don't think you realize how good you have it there unless you have lived in a city like d.c., or chicago, or n.y., or phily.
    it cost more than $10 to park in the suburbs and take the metro (subway) to the old stadium, and i don't know how much it costs to go the new stadium

    i hope y'all still support the colts when they lose most of their talent, which happens in this league.
    I always rooted for them because i was a cowboy fan and they played close enough to the redskins that we saw lots of their games too.

  4. mdtljt,

    Yeah we are really lucky here in Indy to be such a small city, and have two professional sports teams. I do hope the city roots for Indy after the talent leave, because you're right it will go away sooner or later.

    Also a big Boys fan here in Indy. Before the Colts game here I was always a Cowboys fan, and it has never changed. It's easy for me because them and the Colts play in different conferences. Anyways, here's hoping Jerry decides to hire a real GM, and quit ruining the team.

  5. Agreed on Indy. I live here in DC but have been a Colts fan since I was born and they were in Baltimore. My wife and I go to Indy every year for a game and it's one of the most fun weekends of the year for us. Great stadium, great organization, great location.

  6. The level of dysfunctionality has reached an all time low and will only continue to get worse.
    Not to nitpick but has anyone ever explained the concept of time management to Zorn. The end of the first half summarized the incompotence of this team.

  7. Pittsburgh is even better! I park downtown for $5.00 to $10.00 and have a 10 to 15 minute walk across the River to the Stadium.

  8. As a Chiefs fan, all I have to say is thank god 0-16 is no longer possible ... With as well as they played I feel a 2-14 season is possible. (We get the Raiders again and we will beat them this time!)

    At least we have a real GM and the future looks better than today.

  9. I was at the game yesterday, and a bunch of us were laughing at the Week 2 scoreboard as well. Just another sign of how poorly the organization is run, from top to bottom. I've been going to Skins games since 1980, and yesterday the apathy and hopelessness from 1/2-full stadium was soooo depressing.

  10. I watched the game on TV. For about 10 minutes, the signal went out and we got the Vikings/Ravens game. What a difference. It was like going from a high school game to an NFL game. I was bummed when the signal returned.

    I can't believe people sign contracts for tens of thousands of dollars for season tickets. You can buy an awesome home theater and still have a lot left over. You could watch movies and the office on it too. I guess from yesterdays showing, people are figuring this out. It's just a matter of time before the empire crumbles.

  11. I tried watching some of the game Sunday and was also sorry when the Vikings/Ravens feed went away! There truly was a 100% difference.

    Next comment...

    Having been to only 1 NFL game @ Arrowhead, why has the NFL not taken on a contract with Sprint/Kangaroo for the same hand held video devices that are available at all NASCAR events. This is technology MADE for the NFL! I am more than a bit ADD, but am used to watching a couple games at a time, plus following other action on-line. My first and lasting impression of Arrowhead was a TOTAL lack of information on other games other than occasional scores posted.

    The last 2 NASCAR events(yea.. am WAY more of a race fan than football....)we have attended, we have rented these cool toys. You get live video of a half dozen drivers, audio and data for the entire field. It's all the info you can handle from every angle. Is way cool stuff!

    From the first time I saw them, it looked like it was made for today's NFL!

  12. Comedian Danny Rouhier joins 'Redskins Anonymous'. We go through the horrendous history of the team since their last super bowl in 1991.


    Tach from Jersey

  13. Czabe,

    After this week, I am officially putting my Redskin fandom on sabbatical until Danny dies or loses the franchise.
    Since I still love the NFL, I'm torn between Baltimore and Houston as my erstwhile mistress. Baltimore is more fun to watch (in my opinion), but Houston has better logo/colors.

  14. Get your trade snyder shirts now!!!

    Get them on ebay...

  15. We need a Redskin Revolution. We need a city-wide fan protest to show how Snyder and his bonehead intern, Vinny, is driving this organization into the ground. Snyder and Cerrato threw Jim under the bus the day they hired him. Snyder and Cerrato are the book ends to every joke in the NFL right now. Please Cerrato, leave town and never return. Snyder, call up Bob Kraft and ask him if you could get a crash course on how to own a professional football team instead of how to ruin one.

  16. Snyder (or should I see Mister Snyder as all of his employees call him) should be embarrassed, but that would imply he had a soul. To quote Mo Howard, "The heel has no soul". Snyder is the shrewd businessman who bankrupted The Six Flags amusement park chain. (why would a man with no sense of humor purchase an amusement park?) The embarrassment is having the Baltimore Raven franchise about 40 minutes north on I-95. Talk about penthouse and s#!%house. Baltimore has a terrific stadium and perhaps the best training facility (aka "the castle") in the NFL. The Ravens owner is replacing the 2 LED videoboards with high definition boards next year.
    FedEx Field is a dump on top of 39 acres of asphalt. That blame for that disaster of a stadium goes to Jack Kent Cooke. Snyder took a bad thing and made it worst. He spends next to nothing on improvements and updates. I doubt if it will see it's 20th anniversary.
    I spoke to a member of the Philadelphia Eagles Public Relations team while standing in the visiting locker room at FedEx. Like Baltimore, the Eagles have first class facilities. We were watching the press trying to wade through an area that is too small for an NFL team. They had to shower in shifts, since the number of shower heads are limited. I remarked to the Eagles PR person, "you have to twisted to make a football team use this as a locker room. I know the Philadelphia and Baltimore franchises cherish their fans, players, and press. They give them what they need to do the job. You have to be twisted to offer the visiting team such lousy conditions." He agreed with me.