Great expectations is the theme this year for the Washington Redskins and their fans who are hoping they improve drastically on a dismal 4-12 record.
Hopes are high around FedEx Field with the additions of Coach Mike Shanahan and Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb and recent development that defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth will return.
After a disappointing 2009 season for the Redskins finishing in last place in the NFC East Conference, general manager Bruce Allen cut 10 players from the roster including standouts Antwaan Randle El and Fred Smoot.
Fans are optimistic about the upcoming season that starts Sunday when the Redskins will take on their league rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, who according to Forbes Magazine are the most valuable franchise in the NFL with the Washington Redskins in a close second.
The Cowboys are hoping to continue their good luck by improving on an 11-5 season in 2009 with quarterback Tony Romo leading the pack.
Loyal (and Profitable) Fans
Howard University student and Redskins fan Cortney Williams has been excited about the season since the announcement that the team had acquired Donovan McNabb from the Eagles.
“I’ve been anxious to see what they’re going to do this season after seeing the moves they made this summer,” Williams said. “I definitely think we’re going to improve on our record from last season, but only time will tell whether we’re a playoff team or not.”
Fans have always had fun with this rivalry between the Redskins and Cowboys, placing bets and talking trash to each other about whose team is better. Howard student Morgan Winbush has witnessed the rivalry since she’s lived in the D.C. area and became a Redskins fan.
“The Redskins and Cowboys rivalry is as serious as the Hampton and Howard rivalry,” Winbush said. “If I see a blue star, my eyes turn burgundy out of rage.”
Winbush is also optimistic about the upcoming season. “Our preseason stats look good, and I believe that’s a result of our additions from the off- season,” she said. “McNabb had a good game until he injured himself, but they look decent.”
Fan support never ceases even when the team is disappointing their supporters at FedEx Field, which was made evident in the team’s revenue last season of $345 million, placing them as the highest grossing NFL team last year.
The team also broke the NFL’s mark for single season attendance eight years in a row.
A Proven Winner
After a busy off-season, the Redskins new coach, Mike Shanahan, has vowed that defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth will be on the roster, according to Washington Post reports, despite feelings that he would be traded before the season to his former team, the Tennessee Titans. Haynesworth could still be traded, but it’s confirmed he will start the season in a Redskins uniform.
Shanahan has been proven as a winner, leading the Denver Broncos to win Super Bowl championships in 1998 and 1999. Taking over for former coach Jim Zorn and improving on a 4-12 record may be a difficult task, but fans feel Shanahan’s record speaks for itself.
“The new coach is going to bring a lot more energy to the team, and he’s already won two championships,” Williams said. “I’m definitely thinking we will be a better team.”