To the enterprising Titans rooter, the one with perhaps a lee-tle too much free time on his hands who launched a Web site devoted to the hagiography of team owner Bud Adams, here’s a little unsolicited advice.
First off, I’d dump the idea of a citywide Bud Adams Appreciation Day. As George “Poppy” Bush used to say, “Na ga da it.” Dude, we already gave Bud a cool stadium, not to mention all the revenue from it, plus some serious walkin’-around money to get his team up here. Most folks probably feel like Bud can afford to buy his own day.
Second off, I’d lose the chat room. Last time I checked it out, most of the messages were rants from Houstonians still chapped at Bud for moving his team out of their dark, dumpy baseball dome. At the very least, I’d post a permanent message to all those people, reminding them that they currently are bankrolling an even fleecier stadium than ol’ Bud ever asked forand now all they’ve got to show for it is a dog-poot pitiful expansion team.
Third off, if you really want Nashvillians to appreciate the Titans owner, I’d make sure the first image that loads into www.budadams.com is a gigantic mug shot of Daniel Snyder. Whatever faults you may find with Mr. Adams (let us hasten to add that the only complaint we’ve heard this year was about his hair, and that one came from Dennis Miller), he looks like Thomas Jefferson George Halas Einstein compared to Dan Snyder. Every time they see Snyder’s face, Titans fans should be thankful they have Bud, for there but for the grace of God go they.
Snyder is a relatively new pledge in Bud’s exclusive fraternity. He owns the Washington Redskins. The man has more money than God and Disney combined, but when it comes to common football sense, he’s three or four pontoons shy of a bridge.
In the business world from which Snyder slunk out to reach the NFL, money doesn’t just talk; it fairly screams. So perhaps it was only natural that Dan figured a gazillion here and there, supplemented by a little screaming of his own, would bring a championship back to the nation’s capital, which desperately needs something besides Al and Dubya to yell about.
Snyder, who is to patience what Godzilla was to subtlety, decided that 2000 would be the Redskins’ year, and he whipped out his fully loaded checkbook. He brought in a high-priced cast that seemed ably suited for warfare in D.C. He signed Bruce Smith, an aging head-slapper who knows more dirty tricks than G. Gordon Liddy. For a backup QB, he brought in Jeff George, who at his previous stops, has been able to roil up enough divisiveness to earn respectful whistles from Tom DeLay. And he kept adding zeroes to the end of salary figures until it impressed even Deion Sanders, a man who could lead a three-day Senate filibuster without pausing to take a breath.
Had Snyder been content to limit his role to that of the Redskins’ financier, he might already have received his own monument down the Mall from the Lincoln Memorial, since nothing seems to impress folks inside the Beltway like someone who can spend money faster than the government. But Dan is not content with anything, at least not for very long.
It’s getting increasingly difficult to find someone around the league whom Snyder hasn’t personally offended. Before he even moved into the office, he fired a slew of the Redskins’ personnel as an efficiency-improver. Nothing like canning people you’ve never even met to inspire confidence from within your organization, or to give them the impression you understand and care about what they do.
Over the summer, Snyder announced that the Redskins would begin charging admission to anyone who wanted to attend training camp practice sessions. That’s a little like Broadway shows selling $20 tickets for early rehearsals. Nothing like making your most loyal customers feel like trespassers to bring them through the turnstiles (though, in fairness, we must add that Snyder does not charge extra for admission to the bathrooms in his stadium).
His fellow owners aren’t happy with Dan eithernot just because he’s 34 years old and richer than they are, but because he’s 34 and acts 17. In response to poor road performances by his team, he’s trashed enough luxury suites (provided as a courtesy to visiting owners) to invite comparison to Aerosmith concert tours.
Snyder’s reputation precedes him so far that, when he appeared on HBO’s Inside the NFL, the interviewer felt compelled to begin with a question drawn from a critic’s published comment: “Are you a prick?”
Norv Turner might like a chance to respond to that one. Until last week, Turner was Washington’s coach. His team, which many Media Geniuses had predicted would win the Super Bowl, thanks to a strong finish last year and Snyder’s off-season talent acquisition spree, was floundering at 7-6 when Dan chose to punt him.
In hindsight, however, the Redskins’ disappointing record might have been foreseeable. It’s difficult to integrate so many new key playersespecially ones with such well-conditioned egosinto a cohesive lineup in the span of one season. On top of that, the Redskins have been afflicted with injuries to their top quarterback, running back, and wide receiver, creating even more of a shuffle.
Most of all, Turner and his team had to live with Snyder peering so closely over their shoulders that they could feel his hot breath. One bad game might put a player’s job in jeopardy. A sword hung over Turner’s head every week. Every move was second-guessed; every loss might bring another hissyfit from the owner. Under the circumstances, we should probably be amazed that the Redskins won as many games as they did.
When the end came, Turner looked almost serene. That’s more than the other Redskins could say. Acting perfectly in character, Snyder dumped his head coach with no successor in sight. But hints emerged of a wish list: the Giants’ Bill Parcells, Florida’s Steve Spurrier, Miami’s Butch Davis. Apparently it was inconceivable to Snyder that the mountain of cash he could lay before them would fail to persuade successful coaches in enviable situations to bind their fates to an impetuous yuppie brat.
When Plans A, B, and C failed, Snyder decided to hire Pepper Rodgers, a 70-year-old Memphian who’s been out of coaching longer than many of Washington’s players have been alive. It fell to assistant coach Terry Robiskie to remind Snyder what planet he’s on. The players would never respond to Rodgers, Robiskie said. What’s more, all the coaches would walk.
So now Robiskie is stuck with the job of interim head coach, while Rodgers heads up the search for someone permanent. Meanwhile, on Sunday the hapless Dallas Cowboys trounced the Redskins, who looked suspiciously like a team that decided to lay down, 32-13.
Against this backdrop, ol’ patient, behind-the-scenes Bud, unstylish hair and all, looks better and better, smarter and smarter all the time. Daniel Snyderthat’s Mister Prick to usshould consider a piece of Texas oilfield wisdom that Adams surely heard long ago: Never miss a good opportunity to shut up.
How it looks from the La-Z-Boy
Titans 27, Browns 10
Steelers 13, Redskins 10
Vikings 27, Packers 17
Buccaneers 23, Rams 21
Dolphins 19, Colts 17
Jaguars 38, Bengals 17
Ravens 31, Cardinals 7