American Football

The 5 O’Clock Club: When Snyder’s gone, are you going to FedEx Field to watch games again?


NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
Dec 30, 2018; Landover, MD, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Golden Tate (19) celebrates with fans after the game between the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field. | Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

The 5 o’clock club is published from time to time during the season, and aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

It’s been a long time since we’ve done a 5 O’Clock Club post, but I’m hoping to be fairly consistent with them between now and training camp.

For anyone who hasn’t been around long enough to have seen a 5 O’Clock Club post, let me try to catch you up. The idea dates back many years to the previous managing editor, Ken Meringolo, who wanted to have an early-morning post for early risers in the US as well as readers like me in foreign countries that might be on a totally different time schedule that Eastern Standard or Daylight time. Ken identified 5 a.m. as the right time for the post in keeping with the old tradition of Redskins players meeting after practice to smoke cigars and play cards:

[Joe] Gibbs’ Redskins adopted a practice that was originally started by Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi.

It was called the 5 O’clock Club, and it was first started as a place for coaches and reporters to hang out after training camp practices, and the night before road games. Coaches would drink, reporters would drink, and all conversations would be considered off the record.

Fast forward to Gibbs’ years in Washington, and the club became more exclusive, allowing just team personnel. Still, the liquor was flowing and the ball busting was “endless.”

The team used an old wooden equipment shed near the practice field for their “meetings,” fit with cardboard wind protection around the perimeter, and a kerosene heater inside.

Of course, 5 a.m. is not the same thing as 5 p.m., but we are an international community, and, as Jimmy Buffet said, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere”.

Of course, the problem with posting an article when it’s 5 a.m. in Washington DC is that…well, there’s nothing new to talk about.

So, I’ll try to provide a conversation starter each day. In the past, the topics have been wide-ranging, from guaranteed player contracts to the league’s marijuana testing to the best way to get and stay fit. I hope to continue in that vein this summer.

There’s no need to stick to the topic I introduce each day, however. The 5 O’Clock Club is considered to be an “open thread”, so feel free to introduce any topic you like in the comments.

The 5 O’Clock Club posts will typically end with a poll — again, in the hope of stimulating conversation in the comments section.

Today, I want to raise an issue that arises with the imminent sale of the franchise.

For years, fans said that they would refuse to buy tickets to home games or buy merchandise because they didn’t want to support Dan Snyder.

Well, the Evil One appears to be all but gone, and it looks like the franchise will be taken over by a group of owners fronted by Josh Harris and Magic Johnson, and reportedly including Mitchell Rales and Mark Ein among others.

The NFL owners will be meeting in Minneapolis between 22 and 24 May, and the sale could be finalized (at the earliest) at that meeting, which would allow the team to change hands (probably) sometime in June, with the new owners fully in control by the time training camp rolls around.

Dan Snyder will be gone.

Of course, he will leave behind the worst stadium in the league, and with it, all the issues of poor access, aging facilities and the like. He has also left us with the Commanders brand, Tuddy, Jason Wright and Ron Rivera.

I’m wondering whether you are ready to reunite with the franchise as soon as Danny Boy is out the door. Will you be ready to buy Commanders gear? Do you want to get season tickets? If you’re not a season-ticket kind of person, will you enthusiastically buy tickets to games when you have the opportunity to attend and get out to FedEx to support the team in person on Sunday afternoons?

In other words, when Snyder is out, are you automatically ‘back in’, or do you need the franchise and its new owners to reach out and mend fences?

NFL Pro Bowl
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Will you happily head out to FedEx or are you going to wait for the new stadium that could be on tap as soon as 2027?

Are you ordering a Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Sam Howell or Emmanuel Forbes jersey to wear to training camp at Asburn in July, or are you gonna wait for the new uniform design and a return to Carlisle PA or Frostburg MD?

Are you ready to embrace the Commanders brand, or is it “Redskins forever” or “Redwolves or bust” for you?

After years of fans saying that they’ll be back after Dan is gone, is the return to the burgundy & gold going to be immediate? Is it gonna happen at all?

Are we ready to fill FedEx with Washington football fans again in 2023?

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