It’s pretty universally understood that everyone around the NFL, from the fans to his fellow owners, hated Dan Snyder.
But did Synder himself ever truly know that?
Now that he has officially sold the Washington Commanders to an ownership group led by Josh Harris, fans have been celebrating the end of a disastrous tenure that includes more scandals, lawsuits, and controversies than anyone can even list.
Bram Weinstein got to see a lot of the animus around Snyder play out while he was calling games for the franchise for the past three seasons. The former SportsCenter anchor chatted with Brandon Contes in the latest episode of the Awful Announcing Podcast, which will be released Friday, July 28, and shared some insights on what he’s witnessed over that time.
As for whether or not Snyder ever really knew just how much the Commanders’ fanbase wanted him and his family gone, Weinstein can’t say for sure, but he remembers a specific incident that seemed likely to have made its mark on them.
“I think you have to take that in phases,” said Weinstein, referring to Snyder’s 24-year tenure as owner. “Early in his tenure when he had five coaches in six years, and was spending a lot of money on older players and trying to build a roster, it was all in the name of winning. So when he was criticized for hiring and then firing Steve Spurrier, hiring then firing Marty Schottenheimer, then spending money on Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders that was misguided towards their salary cap, spending their draft picks to get older players, and it failing, the way he kinda looked at it was ‘I may be making mistakes but it’s not in the name of not winning and isn’t this what the fans want?’
“As things kinda progressed and things changed, really over the last 5-10 years, the story became very different. I think last year the epitome of it was…the idea that he would have thought he was beloved I think would be preposterous.
“Last year in the stadium, Tanya Snyder had become the forward face of the franchise by virtue of what the league had but down on sanctions on the team off of the workplace environment stuff. She was spearheading the NFL’s breast cancer awareness campaign. She’s a survivor… she did something on the JumboTron at FedEx Field, just talking about what they’re doing this year, whatever the initiative was thing year. And the fans booed her. That was..even for me, that was, ‘Alright, slow down a second here. Do you realize what she’s trying to promote here and what this initiative is?’
“If there ever was a wake-up call for the family, it probably was that moment where she’s being booed for doing something really wonderful for the community, and it almost kinda gave you the sense that there really isn’t much that they could do right.”
"SELL THE TEAM!!" chants at FedEx Field AFTER loud boos when Tanya Snyder appeared on the video board.
— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) October 23, 2022
When Weinstein initially took the job calling games, he was doing so for the Washington Football Team. After a drawn-out process, the franchise finally became the Washington Commanders before last season, though that name was met with a lot of disappointment given the possibilities. Weinstein says that while he didn’t have a problem with Commanders, he can see why there’s still a desire to change it.
“When we went through the process…and I think a lot of people would agree with me who are fans of the team, I never heard one that was obvious,” said Weinstein. “There was never an ‘Oh man, that’s it!’ Never heard that. Them landing on an agnostic military term always felt very logical to me. Not a branch-specific military term because it symbolizes Washington D.C. power, the military. That always made sense to me.
“I’m not stepping out by saying this has not landed as the perfect name for the team, which is why I think they’re talking about potentially doing something about it and potentially changing it. I would expect it in the not-too-distant future, or after this season, it will be a topic that comes up again and we’ll see how the ownership answers that question about it.
“The name that the really, really rabid fans…they wanted the name RedWolves. For I don’t know what particular reason because it’s not like there’s anything regional about that animal here. I think they liked having the name ‘Red’ still in the name and they kinda stuck to this. And the team looked into it, but there was a copyright issue. I believe it’s Arkansas State… And they found that if they’d picked this name, it would have either ended up in litigation for a long time or it would have been exorbitant to pay for the rights, so the team decided not to go in that direction.”
Listen to Weinstein’s full appearance on the Awful Announcing Podcast on Friday, July 28. Subscribe to the Awful Announcing Podcast and to Awful Announcing’s YouTube channel for the latest clips and highlights.