The object of the classic board game Monopoly is to purchase as many properties as possible, essentially dominating the market and ultimately taking over the board by leaving nothing for your opponents.
Unfortunately for Washington Redskins fans that have been forced to live with team owner Dan Snyder’s business agenda for the past 12 years, the key to a successful game of Monopoly is not the key to running a successful football franchise.
For more than a decade, Snyder has attempted to administer my beloved Redskins as if he's gunning for the No. 1 spot in Joe Schmo's fantasy football league. And for the first time, I believe a true "Dan Rant" is completely reasonable.
The feeling amongst fans when Snyder purchased the Redskins in May of 1999 didn't necessarily start out too peachy. Redskins Nation had suffered the loss of long-time owner Jack Kent Cooke in 1997; the 6-10 record in 1998 was a despicable one that began with a seven-game losing streak into the bye and then the direct marketing boy wonder bought the team—beating out John Kent Cooke who was attempting to keep the Redskins within the family.
From Snyder's first season, fans should have known it wasn't going to be an easy ride. Amongst Snyder's first free-agent class were names like Mark Carrier (five years, $15.9 million), Bruce Smith (five years, $25 million), Deion Sanders (seven years, $56 million) and Jeff George (four years, $18 million)—a guy that lost his first two starts by a combined score of 67-3 before being benched by then-coach Marty Schottenheimer.
Schottenheimer would be fired by Snyder just one year later, despite strongly rebounding after an 0-5 start and finishing the season with an 8-8 record and close to playoff contention. This, ladies and gentlemen, was the beginning of the end for declaring Snyder as the worst man in Redskins franchise history.
It was speculated that Snyder was upset with Schottenheimer's desire to run the team as he wished, because he was a proven football mind and Snyder was some snobby marketing exec from Silver Spring. And not by much of a coincidence, this is about the time Snyder rehired Vinny Cerrato as VP of Football Operations. Cerrato, who is nothing shy of a complete hack, had been previously fired by Schottenheimer. Why? Because Cerrato was only about a hair more of a football mind than Snyder.
Snyder and Cerrato would go on to run the Redskins franchise into the ground for the next nine years, leading Redskins fans only to believe that Cerrato must have some kind of incriminating photos of Snyder—simply because no one with such a questionable track record should be allowed to screw up for this long.
Because Snyder is ultimately the heart of the beast and Cerrato is known as the "yes-man," this is Snyder's wrongdoing. Did Cerrato help by being Snyder's biggest fan? Of course not. But it was Snyder that signed some of the most ridiculous contracts in NFL history.
Need a mental refreshment? Think back to 2002 when the Redskins signed Jeremiah Trotter away from the Philadelphia Eagles for seven years, $35 million and received 28 games, just over 200 tackles and just 1.5 sacks.
How about 2006 when the Redskins signed Adam Archuleta with all the belief that he was the league's best safety around? Snyder gave Archuleta a six-year deal worth $30 million, making him the NFL's highest-paid safety in league history. In the end, Redskins fans saw Archuleta start just seven games before being traded to Chicago in 2007.
And let's not forget about 2009. Who could? It was when the team signed an expressive DeAngelo Hall to a six-year deal worth $54 million, knowing for sure that he isn't considered (nor does he play as) one of the better cover corners in the league. (Note: I don't dislike having Hall as one of the starters, but I think he's overpaid.)
Snyder then one-upped the Hall signing and gave free-agent Albert Haynesworth $100 million over seven years and expected Fat Albert to be a "dominant player" on the defensive line. In all actuality, Haynesworth tricked Snyder as if he were a 10-year-old playing management mode on Madden: NFL '12. Did Snyder or Cerrato take a look at Haynesworth's production over the years? The guy had his best playing days in his contract year!
Not to continue harping about signings, but let's not leave out other comical acquisitions over the years like Brandon Lloyd (2006 second-rounder, 2007 fourth-rounder), Trung Canidate (shipped David Loverne and a fourth-rounder), Jessie Armstead (three years, $4.5 million), Michael Barrow (three years, $3 million) and Antwaan Randle El (seven years, $31 million). If that list doesn't make you cringe, I don't know what will.
Although fans could go on for days reliving all of the awful signings made by Snyder and his posse, there's so much more to the label of Daniel Snyder. Beyond the umpteen free-agent fallacies, Snyder has also helped prove his reputation as being that snotty kid that could always dish it out, but never take it.
It wasn't that long ago that the U.S. was going through one of the toughest financial times in recent history. The housing market was tanking, unemployment rates were rising and millions of Americans were forced to place major cutbacks on their lifestyles. Well, not for Mr. Snyder.
During the recession, more specifically the 2008-2009 season, Snyder and the Redskins sued numerous season-ticket holders who were unable to fulfill their commitments, usually in the form of 10-, 12- and 15-year deals.
Understandably so, a contract signed is a valid one and it's neither Snyder nor the Redskins' fault that the financial crisis hit when it did. However, Snyder was suing loyal Redskins fans (some being season-ticket holders since the 1960s) for somewhere around $65,000 apiece. Is that really making a difference?
And to make matters worse, it was speculated that the Redskins waiting list for season tickets at that time exceeded 200,000 fans. In other words, rather than wasting time with the legal process and smacking struggling Americans (and Redskins fans) with $65,000 notes, Snyder could have simply let individuals out of their season-ticket contracts and moved on to the next person in line—a person fortunate enough to have the cash, who is willing to pay a shepherd's fortune for Redskins season tickets.
Following this greedy fit of rage, Snyder banned all signs at FedEx Field midway through the 2009 season. That's correct. Snyder—because most of the signs fans were bringing to the stadium on Sundays had to do with him being an unfit owner for the Washington Redskins—made a rule that allowed no signs at FedEx. However, the countless corporate signage that immerses the stadium is just fine, for that is nothing more than extra money for Danny.
Then, in 2010, Snyder really made his reputation public when he went after Washington City Paper columnist Dave McKenna when he published "The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder." Snyder believed that free speech really shouldn't be free at all and he sued the managing partner of Washington City Paper and asked for the termination of McKenna.
Snyder, once again, couldn't cope with the criticism and/or the public's dislike for him and his practices as an NFL owner. After the news broke that Snyder was suing and McKenna's article became more nationally recognized, more than just Redskins fans were beginning to understand just how horrible it is to have Snyder as a team owner.
Rants and blusters regarding the displeasure one has for Dan Snyder could literally go on for days, with not nearly enough paper to publish. Fortunately for readers and Redskins fans, Snyder makes our case easy enough to put into a few specific examples.
That being said, no one should draw a blank when it comes to the various other embarrassing acts carried out by Snyder, like the selling of expired peanuts that came from a bankrupt airline in 2006, the crooked way he runs his sport media platforms that leads to them earning the name "Dan-Jazeera" and his overall goal of putting as much money into his own pocket while attempting to brainwash people into believing that he's actually a stand-up guy.
Under Snyder's reign, the Washington Redskins are 86-106 and the team has gone through seven coaches in 12 seasons. Although you won't find my name anywhere near a Forbes list, I'm pretty sure that's not considered rational or advised business practice.
Don't get me wrong, Snyder knows how to schmooze and sneak with the best of them when it comes to normal business practice, but that garbage has no place with the Washington Redskins or their fans.
Even though new head coach Mike Shanahan is a longtime friend of Dan Snyder, the hire so far appears to be the right one. Shanahan is actively trying to change the culture of the team while also giving fans arguably the most qualified football mind the team has seen in the front office in over a decade.
As much as Redskins fans would love to see Snyder hit the road by selling the team to a real NFL team owner that emulates the role of Steve Bisciotti, Robert Kraft or Dan Rooney, those days don't appear to be in our near future. For the time being, we all have to suck it up, deal with Danny and put total confidence into his buddy, Mike Shanahan.
Shae Cronin is a Redskins Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and the founder of Bet Big DC, a sports website focusing on the D.C., Maryland and Virginia region. Be sure to check in frequently and follow @BetBigDC on Twitter for the latest rumors, sports picks, mock drafts and more
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