An Open Letter to Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder
December 02, 2019
Dear Dan Snyder:
As a life-long die-hard Redskins fan dating back to 1969, I have so many fond Redskins memories.
Sonny Jurgensen in the old burgundy helmets with the spear, repeatedly throwing tight spirals to Charley Taylor, Jerry Smith and Larry Brown out of the backfield.
George Allen’s Over-the-Hill Gang (1971-77) brought the DMV seven consecutive winning seasons (67-30-1) including a NFC Championship and Super Bowl game.
Jack Pardee (1978-80) finished 24-24 with one losing season (1980) at 6-10, costing him his job.
Joe Gibbs from 1981-1992 led the Redskins to five NFC championship games, four Super Bowls and three Super Bowl titles. I was so spoiled that when the losing seasons came over the last 25 years, I have to admit, it has been difficult and at times so frustrating for me. My young adult sons do not have the many winning memories I possess, and much of that generation has difficulty embracing the Redskins.
I realize that though you make millions of dollars each season as owner, experiencing only two playoff wins in your years as Redskins owner (1999-2019) has to have been frustrating and exasperating.
You terminated Jay Gruden after this season’s 0-5 start as the Redskins were only competitive in the first half of the first game. Gruden was not the only one to blame, but at that point in the season, it was a necessary change.
The losing continued reaching rock bottom (hopefully) at 1-9 with an embarrassing home loss to the Jets.
Many fans are repeatedly voicing their displeasure at you personally with stadium signs, some of which read, “Sell the Team” or “Fire the Owner”. Home attendance has decreased so much in the last couple of seasons that more fans for the opponents attend than actual Redskin fans.
At the most recent home game against Detroit, tickets were selling for as low as $4 to get fans to the stadium. On Twitter it is not uncommon to see a “Fire Bruce Allen” hashtag (#FireBruceAllen). Many in the DMV have joined in mocking Allen for saying the Redskins are close and that the culture is _____ good.
TV ratings in the DC area were reported as actually higher for the Ravens than the Redskins Sunday.
I recall when that was entirely unimaginable; now it is reality.
While you will one day sell the team, I have no reason to believe that day is in your near future.
To amend the direction of your franchise for the next decade, what are you contemplating needs to be done soon?
Growing up in Berryville, VA there’s an old saying I heard from time-to-time, “Don’t just stand there, do something”. No doubt my hard-working parents probably used that one on me more than a few times, as I needed to be pushed to work harder and quicker.
Yet, about age 30, I read a speech where the speaker was advising graduate students, “Don’t just do something; stand there”.
He certainly had my attention, and so I continued reading as the wise man encouraged adult students to not move too quickly to do something. He advised they think through their chief commitments, questioning why they believed what they believed about truth, success and life.
Sweeping change in your organization needs to occur soon, at the conclusion of this season.
Remembering the wise advice, what will you do over this month to first determine what sweeping changes need to occur in your organization’s vision, philosophy, objectives and culture?
As a life-long fan who attempts to be objective and fair, may I make a suggestion?
Learn from Al Davis. Davis was an arrogant, proud know-it-all, who burned bridges, did it his way, by himself. As a result the last several years Davis ran the Raiders into the ground. No man is an island. Learn from Davis that you can’t do it alone. We all need friends and help from time-to-time.
Who can you identify as owners and leaders of organizations that can help you this month?
Who are the people you know to whom you can share your concerns and they will offer you their wisdom and experiences from their lives in leadership?
Are you willing to ask them how they create a culture from the owner and general manager to the phone receptionist to the players?
Do you have friendships built that you could talk with team owners like Ted Leonsis, Steve Bisciotti or Art Rooney II?
Have you considered hiring someone like one of these former general managers like Ozzie Newsome, Bill Polian or Charley Casserly as your temporary consultant to benefit you during this critical time in what to look for in hiring your next general manager?
Have you considered hiring.some like this to consult you during this critical time in what to look for in hiring your next general manager?
Will you then be willing to let your new general manager lead the process in whom he interviews and hires as head coach of the Washington Redskins?
I sincerely wish you and the Washington Redskins a successful transition and future,
Ivan Lambert is a lifelong die-hard Washington Redskins fan, raised in Berryville, Virginia. He is married and the father of two fine young men. He is currently a sports correspondent for The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida and can be found on Twitter @IvanLambert18