Rooting for your local area teams is a common ritual in our society. However, there will be cases where a fan will venture out of the norm and cheer on a team from another city. Being a native Washingtonian, I’ve seen these acts too many times to count. For example, how many of you attended a Washington Redskins game at Fed Ex Field only to see more fans sporting another NFL team’s jersey and feeling safe doing it? Can you imagine that happening at Lincoln Financial Field home of the Philadelphia Eagles or at Oakland’s stadium with Raider Nation? If you think that you are that tough, try doing that in one of those venues and see if you’ll leave with all of your teeth. When I go to the Verizon Center to watch the Wizards, the same thing happens. Hell I’m a Lakers fan. I’ve been one since I can remember and wouldn’t dare wear my Kobe Bryant jersey unless the Wiz Kids are playing the Lakers. It’s sickening to see Red Sox and Yankees hats at Nationals Park or see the dreaded Cowboys jerseys everywhere I go in what’s supposed to be “Redskins Country”.
So one might ask why does this happen in our Nation’s Capital? It’s simple, there’s winning and there’s losing and for the most part, the teams in this area have been losing for years. Lets examine! The Redskins, winners of three Super Bowl championships, are by far the most beloved team in the area. I know that I can speak for Redskins Nation and say that we truly appreciated those Super Bowl wins but since their last championship in 1991, they’ve been to the playoffs only four times. That’s right my friends, four times in 19 years. Let’s take it a step further, the Redskins were founded in 1932 and out of their 77 years of their existence, the team has only made 22 playoff appearances. Of those appearances, the Joe Gibbs coached teams (80’s and 90-92), was the only one era of real significance. How about the Washington Wizards. Founded in 1961 and later moving to the Washington area in 1973, the franchise has only one NBA championship. That was achieved in 1978 when they were the Washington Bullets. Yes people, 1978! They haven’t won their division since 1979, a whopping 30 years ago. In the 2008-2009 season, the Wizards produced an abysmal 19-63 record. That tied for the franchise’s worst regular season record. Lets look at the Washington Capitals. The franchise was built in 1974 and the fans haven’t had any real reason to cheer them on until the 1997-98 season when they shocked the whole hockey world with the teams first and only Stanley Cup Finals appearance. The outcome wasn’t a surprise though, as the Capitals would fall to the Detroit Red Wings 4-0.
Now on to baseball! With all the anticipation and hoopla of getting a Major League Team, the city of Washington inherited one of the worst franchise in all of professional sports, the Montreal Expos, who eventually became the Washington Nationals. Since arriving in DC, the Nationals’ record, not including this season, is 284-363. This year will be the worst season for the Nats as they will win less than 59 games. The only team in this area that has had any consistent success is DC United, Washington’s Major League Soccer franchise. That’s saying a lot considering this really isn’t a soccer town.
So why are these teams so unsuccessful? Is this town cursed? One would think that with ongoing years of mediocrity. I believe that it starts with ownership. Owners such as Dan Synder and Abe Polin have made huge profits in this area without producing a winning product. As a fan it’s hard to support organizations that hike up ticket prices for teams that aren’t winning. Wins and loses are fans measuring sticks when it comes to success and these teams are failing tremendously. Until these teams start winning , the fans will continue to show a lack of team spirit and eventually lose interest. With that said, it could be worst. I could have been born in Cleveland.
Written by Keith Madyun