Snyder's 15-Year Tenure With Redskins Examined, As Former Employees Sound Off
Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder is "still trying to get it right, embarking on yet another search for a head coach he hopes might change" the team's fortunes -- 15 seasons after "securing the keys to one of the NFL’s most storied franchises," according to a front-page piece by Rick Maese of the WASHINGTON POST. The Redskins "have reached the playoffs just four times in Snyder’s 15 seasons as owner and have churned through seven head coaches in that period." Maese interviewed 19 former employees for the story, and nearly all of them "described Snyder as a man whose passion for the team is both an asset and a flaw and whose personality and leadership style touch every corner of the Redskins organization." While some suggest that he "receives unfair blame for some of the team’s missteps, many say his strong personality has fostered a culture within the organization that makes it hard for any employee to thrive." Even Snyder’s defenders note that the franchise’s "perennial struggles feature the owner’s fingerprints and say the organization is very much a product of his design." Those inside the organization "laud Snyder’s marketing instincts and ability to identify new revenue streams," but from the outside, Snyder’s tenure "has been marked by big splashes and bigger flops, impulsive decisions that didn’t pan out and a bit of bad luck." Former Snyder employees said that he "runs his billion-dollar business in a unique way, promoting competition within the building, maintaining few close advisers and allowing his own passion and personal interests to get in the way." Snyder by many accounts has "has taken several steps in recent years to remove himself from the day-to-day operation of the team, and critics and supporters alike say if he truly remains in the background the team could turn the corner under a new coaching staff." However, others caution that despite his "regular pronouncements of personal growth and professional change, the same mistakes continue to hamper the Redskins."
A CULTURE OF FEAR: Those familiar with the team’s inner workings said that there is "not necessarily a problem with the structure, but rather that those tapped to do their jobs frequently are not allowed to do them." Several employees said that while Snyder "likes to ask questions, he does not always seem receptive to advice." Several former Redskins employees said that job security "was a constant fear." Employees "describe Snyder as 'moody,' 'mercurial,' and 'unpredictable,' and former coaches say Snyder’s mood is particularly volatile when the team struggles." They described "getting berated in the facility’s workout area and approached in the locker room in the minutes following games." Meanwhile, Snyder's inner circle "has shrunk over the years." Exec VP & GM Bruce Allen "is the principal now, and he's often the one who represents the owner in league matters." Allen now "is expected to assume more power within the organization." But NFL sources said that it is "too early to know how successful the organization will be now that Allen wields more power." (WASHINGTON POST, 1/5).