- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 3, 2016


What does the Washington Redskins‘ resurgence mean for the rest of those businesses in the DMV that share the same sports entertainment pie?

Will their piece of the pie be the same? Smaller? A sliver?

If the Redskins‘ latest run of respectability extends beyond this season, what will it mean for the Washington Wizards? The Washington Capitals? The Washington Nationals?

Considering the long-term implications of this Redskins surge may be premature or an overreaction — if it is just a surge or a true resurgence. After all, we’ve seen these Redskins surges over the past 20 years. They’re accidental playoff appearances that lead to nothing and nowhere.

The aura of self destruction that has dogged this franchise typically stops any true long-term change of direction right in its tracks.

SEE ALSO: Jamison Crowder finishes productive rookie season in Redskins’ win at Cowboys

What happened to the resurgence following the NFC East championship in 1999? Jeff George, Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith and other Dan Snyder free agent spending sprees resulted in the firing of Norv Turner and the end of the resurgence.

What happened to the Redskins after claiming a wild card playoff spot in 2005? The end of quarterback Mark Brunell’s career and injuries to Clinton Portis. How about after the 2007 season, which included the tragic death of Sean Taylor? The departure of Joe Gibbs and the arrival of Jim Zorn.

And the last time we were all willing to think about a bright future for the Redskins? That happened in 2012, with an NFC East championship, a two-time Super Bowl coach in Mike Shanahan and the dynamic rookie season of Robert Griffin III.

We don’t have to rehash what happened to end that surge.

So here we are, the Redskins, the NFC East division champions. Is it a resurgence or another accidental moment of success? And, if it is a true resurgence — the start of a run of success — what does in mean for the sports landscape for competing teams? Believe me, the Wizards, Capitals and Nationals are competing teams.

They can all pat each other on the back and speak of how if one team wins, it’s good for everyone. But, the facts are is there is only so much corporate sponsor money to go around — even in Washington. There are only so many advertising dollars, only so much disposable income from fans and only so much media attention available. And, despite how frustrating it may be for some, if the Redskins are good — for real, not accidentally — their piece of the pie will only get bigger.

If the Redskins are good — for real, not accidentally — then the other teams eating from the same pie will have missed an opportunity that has been there since 1991, the last time the Redskins enjoyed the credibility of success.

It was there for the taking for the Wizards and Capitals, in particular. No one is going to usurp the Redskins — the NFL — as the top dog in town, but if you wanted to carve out a bigger, more permanent piece of the pie, the time to do it was during the last 25 years of Redskins failures and the way to do it was to win a championship.

If the Wizards or Capitals had managed to do either, they would have likely sown the seeds of growth that would have taken permanent hold if and when the Redskins finally got out of their own way and began winning consistently again — the Wizards in particular, given the notion that Washington is a basketball town and the popularity of the NBA in the past decade.

The Nationals had a smaller window, not arriving in Washington until 2005, but if a World Series had resulted from one of their National League East division titles over the past four years — particularly given the dysfunction going on that had turned off so many fans and left empty seats at FedEx Field — they would have been the one team that took advantage of the Redskins‘ down years. It would pay off when it came time to divvy up the limited money and attention to go around for sports entertainment.

Of course, the Redskins could simply be on another accidental run. But, so far, the other teams in town haven’t been up to task of taking advantage of that.

⦁ Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 and espn980.com.

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