Some people are fans of the Washington Football Team. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Washington Football Team. This 2021 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Washington Football Team. Possibly forever. Possibly not. Who’s REALLY to say?
If you thought the search for a new Jeopardy! host ended up being an embarrassing letdown, you haven’t seen ANYTHING. Mike Richards’s history of sexual harassment litigation is a normal fucking Tuesday around these parts.
Your 2020 record: 7-9, featuring a division title gift-wrapped for them by Doug Pederson. Normally, this team fucks up as badly on the field as they do off of it. Ah, but 2020 was a year of aggressive rebranding for these sorry pieces of shit. They went 7-9, but they also won their division. They beat exactly one winning team, but it was the undefeated Steelers. Their starting quarterback was released after he hung out maskless at a strip club, but that clearly means the WFT won’t be tolerating any naughty hijinks anymore. Their second-string quarterback couldn’t throw the ball past his own feet, BUT WHAT A HEARTWARMING COMEBACK TALE. Their third-string quarterback is a brainless MAGA load who’d be hanging out with the Dead Tree Crew if he weren’t on the roster, but hey did you see him take a third-quarter lead against Tom Brady in the wild card round that his team gave back five minutes later? WHOLE NEW VIBE!
Your coach: Ron Rivera, who coached through cancer in the middle of a pandemic season and now has to beg his own players to get vaccinated so that they won’t end up killing him. Like Bruce Arians, Ron Rivera has moments where he’s genuinely endearing, and then undoes all that goodwill by spilling his brain all over the podium.
Ron Rivera has been a head coach in the NFL for 10 years. He’s had a winning record in three of them. He’s not here to win. He’s only here to lose with some measure of professionalism.
Do they have a Guy on the coaching staff? Jeff Zgonina! Remember that Guy? John Madden used to circle his fankles using the telestrator. That was a fun bit.
Your quarterback: Did I just mention losing with professionalism?
More like Ryan FitzFATrick, amirite?! If you’re a real football team, you bring in Ryan Fitzpatrick as your backup because no quarterback alive is better in small doses. If you’re a laughingstock, you bring him in, at age 38 and with a career record of 59-86-1, as your established starter. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been in the NFL for 16 years now. Do you know how many postseason games he’s played in? ZERO. Absolutely fucking zero. He and Rivera are kindred souls.
Fitzpatrick’s backup is this national treasure:
Alex Smith retired. America doesn’t have to give a shit about his gangrenous leg anymore. This is a pathetic QB group. Unless you’re a brainless idiot like Doc Walker and you root for this team. Then it’s apparently a gold mine.
What’s new that sucks: Last season was such a rousing success that the new front office—including new general manager Martin Mayhew, new EVP Marty Hurney, and Replacement-Level Bill Polian Failson—decided to keep this championship core intact. That meant fat contract extensions for DT Jonathan Allen and TE Logan Thomas, a franchise tag for guard Brandon Scherff, plus the signing of reinforcements like FitzHarvard, middling wideout Curtis Samuel, token white flanker Adam Humphries, and former Bears tackle Charles Leno (no relation to Jay). The WFT’s on-field transformation into the Carolina Panthers is all but complete. Dave Gettleman is SEETHING with jealousy.
What has always sucked: Well, here we are again. Everything about this franchise is superficially new. The quarterback is new. The front office is new. The nickname will soon be new. And the face of the organization is being remodeled in real time. Here’s new team president Jason Wright! And new announcer Julia Donaldson! And new assistant coach Jennifer King! And new field reporter Mike Silver, ready to burn whatever remained of his credibility!
You can make a case—and every fucking pregame show and local radio broadcast will attempt to do just this—that things have changed for the better in Washington. They have not. You know why.
If you thought that spending two decades running this outfit like it was his personal orgy yacht was enough to finally get Dan Snyder out of the fucking paint, you (along with minority ownership) were wrong. Hating Dan Snyder is a perpetual exercise in naivete. You THINK that this is the jam he won’t be able to wriggle out of, and then he manages to consolidate his power even further. It’s like watching Trump beat COVID on an endless loop.
We’re one calendar year removed from a number of women—many, many women—going public with EXTREMELY credible accusations of malicious, 100 percent uncut, Saturdays Are For The Boys fuckery by Snyder and all of his cronies. The NFL let Snyder hire his own goddamn investigator (attorney Beth Wilkinson, no relation to Big Daddy) to get to the bottom of all this, and then watched as Snyder tried to eat Wilkinson with a knife and fork because she found out about a settlement he’d made with an employee after sexually harassing her on his private plane. WHO’D HAVE FUCKING GUESSED.
Then the league took over the investigation, let it ferment for 10 months, allowed Snyder to buy out his minority shareholders in the interim, and then let it all die with a piddly-shit fine. The written report that Wilkinson compiled on this team was never released and never will be (email@example.com). Snyder was allowed to “remove himself from day-to-day business operations of the club through at least mid-October” and hand the steering wheel over to his fucking WIFE, who’s even less respected in this town than her husband is. This entire investigation was a fucking sham.
And so is the current rebranding effort you see unfolding in front of you. Everything about the current WFT is like if Philip Morris rolled out a line of organic cookware. Everything is all stock catalog smiles and tasteful sans serif fonts. Team headquarters will feature minimalist design and wooden placards that say NEVER FORGET TO BE YOU!
Meanwhile, everything behind that façade of clean white walls and PR meat shields will remain putrescent. Nothing Ron Rivera says matters. Nothing Jason Wright says—he’s the 20th consecutive guy to come in to Ashburn and say, “Dan has changed!”—matters. Nothing Tanya Snyder does during her husband’s six-week non-suspension matters. Nothing, not even some refreshingly inoffensive nickname that’ll be unveiled in an eight-part ESPN documentary series, makes a fucking difference. This team is still absolute scum. Snyder is still a horrible person who deserves to live at the bottom of a prison toilet. And the six fans remaining are all still pissy that their favorite team isn’t openly racist anymore. It’s all a fucking lie, and I hate it. If you buy into ANY of this rebranding, if you really think anything is different, then I’ve got magic beans to sell you. Fuck you and fuck anyone who goes along with this club. I want to watch it all burn. I look forward to the day Snyder dies more than I look forward to the day Henry Kissinger dies. This team is a domestic war crime. Drop a fucking train full of napalm onto it.
The rest of this offensive line is brutal. Montez Sweat has the brain of a squirrel. Clinton Portis is a deadbeat. Drivers around here cause a traffic jam the second they come to a fucking bend in the highway.
Ratto says: Danny Snyder will attempt to hide from view by having his wife spread her overcoat to cover his cowering figure. They won seven games and a division, so failing is becoming a growth industry here. Also, a number of their players don’t have the vaccine yet, so we can assume they regard whatever optical immunity Snyder has covers them for all known diseases. BEST NAME TO HEAR ON TV: Beau Benzschawel.
What might not suck: Chase Young. I hope he leaves for Dallas first chance he gets.
HEAR IT FROM WFT FANS!
God fuck this team.
We had ONE chance to finally get the worst person in sports to not be our owner and now it’s gone.
The palace coup failed. Snyder will live forever off the goodwill generated by doing the bare minimum and some chud NOVA suburb will give him his wave pool stadium.
The team is run by a gross asshole.
You can’t convince me that Snyder didn’t score a cancer gun and shoot Ron Rivera with it.
There’s a nonzero chance that Jack Del Rio is spreading anti-vaccine takes to players to kill off Rivera and assume the head coaching job.
Tanya Snyder taking over day-to-day operations has about the same “turning over a new leaf” feel to it as Neville Chamberlain did after leaving Munich in 1938.
There’s a non-zero chance the team is missing their defensive coordinator by Week 6 because he’s testifying before Congress regarding his whereabouts on January 6th.
Dwayne Haskins was what you got if you took the decision making of Ryan Leaf and the accuracy of a blind kid throwing a horseshoe and then somehow made him slower and worse. Our fans think Taylor Heinecke is the second coming and should absolutely start based on six quarters of football where the opposition had literally no professional tape of him to study. Let us ignore that he’s made of papier mache and clothespins and has the durability of Charlie Kirk’s ego.
An absolutely bleak sign of the times is how excited I am for Ryan Fitzpatrick to start under center. That’s like getting excited about traffic on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, or being super pumped for DC novelty cocktails like Fauci pouchis or some shit. Just dead eyed and joyless.
We just signed a QB who has played for eight previous teams and has a career record of 59-86-1.
He gives us the most hope we have had since the 1980’s.
I pay 60 bucks a month for the Sunday ticket to watch their games but usually just end up watching the redzone channel halfway through the first quarter.
Other teams can look at our mistakes as a blueprint of what not to do with your franchise. Every time we luck into great players (Chase Young), they have no chance of being successful. We wasted Champ Bailey’s prime, Sean Taylor got shot, Trent Williams almost died because our training staff, Chris Samuels barely sniffed the playoffs, LaVar Arrington disappeared into the ether only to return as a shitty analyst for local coverage, and Clinton Portis was too stupid to quit. The best quarterback we’ve had in my lifetime was Brad Johnson.
They’ve had about a million good suggestions for new team names and because they screw up EVERYTHING they’re somehow gonna pick something that’s wrong in ways we didn’t even expect. Like they’re going to be the “Washington Grabbin’ Them Hooters” or something.
Fuck our management. Fucking Cleveland baseball team got a name before our dipshit management could gather the courage to shit out a consultant-workshopped turd.
Fuck our fan culture. Our fans are a vile mixture of (a) government contractors that pine for the good old days while half-watching games at Top Golf or (b) racist exurban Trumpnuts who like to joke that the only offensive word in the old team name was “Washington”.
Fuck the Junkies.
On the afternoon of January 6, I went to the gym on my lunch break. Every TV was covering the events at the Capitol. Thank goodness the news channels had crawls; based solely on video I would have assumed Washington announced Colin Kaepernick as the playoff game starter.
Also, the Wilkinson Report covered up its most serious finding, that Snyder, Goodell, Bob Kraft, and Jerry Jones buried a hooker together at the last owners’ meeting. Change my mind.
Fuck Dan Snyder with Bruce Allen’s snaggle tooth.
I already know these crab people will outlive me and I’m 20 years younger than they are.
If my beloved WFT were to reach the promised land (for the first time since 199-fucking-2), it would be that poison dwarf that lifted the Lombardi Trophy. Just the thought of it makes my physically sick.
I anticipate that Fitzpatrick will find new levels of fail before handing it over to either of the mediocrities backing him up who WFT fans have already built up into Joe Montana and Steve Young in their imaginations.
Landon Collins will be given a starting position he’s not capable of playing because he can’t be cut and is too expensive to sit. The defense will regress because nearly everyone on the defense had the best season of their lives last season. There’s a non-zero chance the team starts more QBs than last year and that Logan Thomas gets to take snaps under center before it’s
I grew up within walking distance of RFK Stadium. They hired Joe Gibbs and got good when I was eight, the perfect age for my sports fandom to grow. Tickets to games were incredibly hard to get, like a Golden Ticket from Willy Wonka. Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t notice the horribly racist stuff we did as fans. I even remember print ads at the time saying “You wouldn’t name a team The Darkies, The Hebs, or The Chinks”. And I didn’t ever really give it a second thought because it “honored” Native Americans.
The first owner was racist George Preston Marshall, who only signed Black players because they threatened to take away his stadium. The current owner is a willing lapdog to the owner of the team that is supposedly his biggest rival. He somehow pulled of an “independent” outside review of how the team treated women that never actually released findings. He’s so thin-skinned the two of us may actually get sued by him if you run this. A 7-9 record that won the literal worst division in history is seen as being on the right path with a coach who’s never won anything without an otherworldly season by Cam Newton.
The team can’t even get half of the players vaccinated, despite the disease being literally life threatening to the head coach. If the sports radio doesn’t talk about football at least 50% of the time, even in the middle of summer, people get upset. And somehow, fans think that signing a 38-year-old journeyman QB is the missing link for a trip to the Super Bowl. The best thing I can hope for is that the team continues to stink and the owner actually has to pay for his own stadium. I hate this stupid team.
I fully expect Chase Young and Montez Sweat will have their legs implode and Dan Snyder will react by re-hiring Mike Shanahan.
Nothing has ever been more on-brand for this franchise than to finally drop the bullshit mascot name (even if the impetus was purely financial) before squandering any potential goodwill by having a sexual misconduct scandal break a few days later.
I met Dave McKenna one time while interning in DC, roughly post-Snyder lawsuit. Easily the best Washington football moment of my life.
I was gifted tickets to the team’s annual luncheon. Got four signatures on my commemorative football: Donovan McNabb, Kyle Shnahan, Albert Haynesworth, and Trent Williams. All four have gone on to publicly and repeatedly deride the organization. I keep this “Washington hate ball” as a perfect encapsulation of the franchise.
I had a faint hope to see the NFL push Dan Snyder out after all the shit that fell on him earlier this year. Instead he just bought out the rest of the team’s ownership while the other NFL owners decided to close ranks around him. Like Donald Trump, Snyder realized that as long as you lack the shame to resign, no one with the power to make you leave will actually do so. None of the other owners want to set a precedent that you can be removed from power for committing or abetting crimes. He’ll just hide out for a year while his wife “runs” the team until the heat dies down, then he’ll get the leaders of MD/VA/DC to fight each other like modern gladiators for the glory of shoveling nine figures worth of public funds to build a stadium on their turf.
I hope they never make the Super Bowl until Snyder sells the team, but it’s more likely that global warming finishes us off first.
It’s only a matter of time before somebody does a 10-hour Last Dance style documentary using the WFT as a lens for this era’s particular collective psychosis. Need to explain the Culture Wars? Look no further than the fan base who worked itself into a frenzied lather at any mention of changing the name, only for nobody to care once it happened. Anti-vaxxers? Tony Fauci is like five miles away and this dumb team still won’t get the jab. Plutocracy? Dan Snyder paid off the other oligarchs and is going to own the team for another 100 years. Want to examine the Me Too movement? Well, in that case I hope you were there for the verbal-only report on the team’s rampant sexual harassment!
It’s only a matter of time before we destroy Chase Young and slander him on the way out the door. I’m going to say “Fitzmagic” no fewer than 1200 times this season and feel deep shame each time. Fuck this team, I don’t even have a Senator to complain to.
Two of their Super Bowls came during strike-shortened seasons, one of which shortened the season to nine games and resulted in two teams making the playoffs with a losing record. The third came against the Bills, that team who can’t ever win the Super Bowl because it would violate the laws of nature. Those trophies, which sit safely ensconced in the usually empty $500 per seat club section at Fedex Field, are meaningless.
Submissions for the Defector NFL previews are closed. Next up: Chicago Bears.