The League

Mark Maske
Staff Writer

Mark Maske

Writes the NFL News Feed blog

Defending the Meddlers


I can't tell you which owner I think is the worst in the league. I have to maintain some objectivity here because my day job is covering these guys.

But I will say this: The meddlers get a bad rap.

All you can ask of the owner of a sports franchise is that he be willing to spend what it takes to win. After that, it's up to the general manager and coach to make it work.

The owner wants to have a say in how the money is spent? Fine. He (or she) should have a say. He is, after all, the owner. So if you're the GM or the coach, sit down with him and educate him. Tell him, "This is why we're going to do this. Here are the reasons why it's a good move. Here are the reasons why the alternatives aren't good moves."

It's only common sense. Then if things don't work out, the owner was on board from the start. It wasn't your move that backfired. It was everyone's move.

Those old-school coaches or GMs who want to be left alone by the owner and complain every time the owner wants to be involved in a decision are ignoring the realities of the modern sports world. These are now billion dollar franchises. The players have contracts worth tens of millions of dollars. If you think an owner is going to rubber-stamp everything you want to do and sign the checks without being in the loop, you're insane.

Look, these teams are toys for the owners. Very expensive toys, but still toys. An owner wants to be able to sit up in his box during a game and say to all his very self-important friends, "Wait till you see this next play. We've been getting this ready all week for when they're in this defense."

The coach and the GM need to afford him that chance. They need to involve the owner. They need to make the "meddling" work for them.

By Mark Maske  |  September 12, 2008; 11:07 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I find Mark Maske's comments on Snyder's meddling very, very weak. When you compare the rosters of all the teams and what players are getting paid it would be very hard to justify the Skins being over or even near the salary cap. Two players stand out who I think are earning their salaries.....Chris Cooley and Clinton Portis. Snyder is a "big" meddler because he thinks he knows football and can recognize talent. He can't ! He is turned on by the big name and by the time he gets them (big name) they are usually washed up and overpaid.
The need for a knowledgeable GM is very evident. Say what you want about Joe Gibbs but he was not a great evaluator of talent. He had stereotypical players that he wanted for his team, eg Mark Brunell, a seasoned washed=up QB who was replaced by a rookie in Jacksonville, yet the Skins gave a high draft choice and a bundle of money for him. Had they waited a week or two they could have had him for nothing because he was going to be released. There are others who have been mentioned previously, Deion, Jeff George, Jason Taylor etc.
Snyder needs to break off this cozy relationship with Vinny and hire a "real" football man.

Posted by: jokar | September 12, 2008 4:36 PM

Mark Maske works for the force that wants to smear everyting about the Washington Redskins, the Washignton Post. Why wouldn't he make negative statements about Dan Snyder?

Posted by: Skip in Va | September 12, 2008 6:03 PM

Maske misses the point. Fans may not make the decisions, but we pay the bills. Snyder isn't a bad manager, he really does not care. He is a marketer; he just wants to make money. All of his decisions (e.g., bringing in Spurrier or Deion) were all based on how many/much tickets/gear/other junk he could sell. The problem is that this attitude pervades the organization and attracts players who are looking to get "paid" but not be part of a "team." The Redskins will never be great again until Snyder is no longer the owner.

What can we longtime Redskins followers do in this situation? Suck it up? Nothing? In fact, Snyder may own the team but we the fans pay for it. Maybe we could stop being rubes and buying all the gear and trinkets that the Redskins sell. Maybe stop wearing that jersey or jacket until the Redskins are worthy of us putting their numbers on our back. The Redskins are being run like a business and maybe we should start treating them like we would any other business that does not deliver: stop paying.

Posted by: Missing Cooke... | September 12, 2008 8:49 PM

dan snyder is a great owner. The owners job is to make money and make the products value as high as possible. It does not matter if the product sucks so long as people buy it. Now his product does indeed suck. But the only other product in the area is the ravens. And that team has crappy marketing. American vanity. We would rather buy crap and get our neighbors approval than go without, And force danny boy to change the product into something digestible

Posted by: hogsfan73 | September 12, 2008 9:02 PM

Danny Boy is nothing if not spoiled and impatient. He wants a title as badly as any of us. So much so that he is incapable of having the patience and trust needed to build a winner or, as all evidence shows, to learn from his mistakes.

Posted by: Redskinrex | September 12, 2008 11:12 PM

I don't think any of the previous poster, get it..Snyder has stepped back the last 4 years and let the coaches and front office people do most of the decision making..What hasn't Snyder done that wasn't in the best interest of the Redskins. He will bring the Skins back to the top..His heart is in it...

Posted by: Dave Kessler | September 12, 2008 11:32 PM

Mark, what a cop out! Answer the darn question! You write an NFL news feed blog!!!! I SAID BLOG! That's the problem with the media managers now: they force writers to still use objectivity in their newspaper blogs, when people are demanding OPINION! You're the insider supposedly. So, tell us: Dan Snyder is a horrible owner. He is! He's a dolt. Bruce Smith and Jason Taylor ring a bell? I could go on and on. He tries to buy championships, and those are the worst owners in the world. Plus, his little amusement park side deal is falling apart. He can't even run an amusement park. Maybe because of the darn ticket prices he tries to charge for family fun. He's awful. Say it, Mark! This is a blog! Chicken.

Posted by: The Landry Hat | September 13, 2008 5:34 AM

Thank you, Mark, for being just about the only reporter who takes the separation between reporting and commentary SERIOUSLY. Reporters shouldn't be in the business of being columnists, and I'm so glad you've held out. There's nothing inherent in the term "blog" that means "delivers opinions." A blog is just a system for delivering content easily--but you make the right choice (given your profession) in what that content will be. So many, many thanks.

Oh, and let's hear it for the meddlers--at least they care!

Posted by: edmj | September 13, 2008 4:32 PM

If I may, I would like to controvert one of Maske's comments regarding owners. I wish he had not used a blanket statement saying the "teams are toys of the owners." There are teams whose owners are familys and not 'billionares' and the temas are not toys. The Rooneys for one. Although Dan owns 16% and has the backing of his cousin's family 36% gives him controling interest. His four brothers make up the difference and want to sell. Unfortunately for Dan and his son, they work without financial input from the brothers because all but one are involved with gambling. Horse track with slots and a dog track with poker and they want to sell their share. If he had the money of a billionare he could write them a check. He had to extricate himself from those ventures. Collectively, I (no facts) don't think they can match Snyder, Jones or Kraft. I'm not pleading for welfare for him, it's just he manages as well as any owner and puts together pretty good managing teams from the coach up. Maybe it is because it is their day job. Same for Mike Brown in Cinci with the exception of managing well. I think Davis is the worst by far. His acquisition of the team let a lot to be desired and after he knew it all he found he didn't.

Posted by: nellieh | September 13, 2008 5:00 PM

I think Dan Snyder will bring a team to DC that all skins fans can be proud. I think he is close to having the players,but hasn't figured out the coaching etc.. whe he does he will bring a team to DC that will be winning forf years. when he gets everything down right he will never back off

Posted by: C. Dudley | September 13, 2008 8:31 PM

Very diplomatic Mr. Maske. One thing's for sure - the meddling is not working for the Redskins. Any business major could breakdown the incompetency of this club on the basis of business alone, forget football. That is goal setting, sticking to the goal, hiring competent people, hiring people who mesh, appropriate salary structure, avoiding MICROMANAGING, etc.

Posted by: hz9604 | September 14, 2008 7:27 AM

People have defended Dan Snyder in the same way for years now.He wants to win,he's finally getting it,he's letting others make the decisions,etc.That might be what you say about a new owner,but he no longer qualifies.The Redskins are great are making money,it's just the football stuff that they have trouble with.It's like they play a USFL season,where their great moments are in March,April,and May.

Posted by: seang | September 15, 2008 12:20 AM

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