Being 65 and a Redsins fan since George Allen worked his magic upon arrival, I can relate to many of the comments that have been made.
Of course, I have a take on this to offer.
One aspect of things that tshile opened up a potential segue into is the NFL as a business. Starting in 2014 the NFL's revenue from the four major televion carriers-Fox, CBS, NBC and ESPN-is going to nearly double from its current $20.4 billion to $39.6 billion. NFL football dominates tv ratings over most any other programming and on Monday nights and the Superbowl nothing anywhere can compete for viewership-and thus advertising dollars. Add to that merchandising of sports related items and you have an amazing cash cow operating here Over the past forty years the NFL has grown into the largest revenue generating sports business in the country.
Back in the 1960s and before, major league baseball still ruled the roost by a wide margin but the audience demograpic was different-it was my parents and their peers and the generation before them who had enshrined baseball as "The National Pastime" and professional football was mostly an afterthought in the early days of television sports coverage until the emergence of what I call "The Personality"-sports figure as entertainer as well as performer. The figure that stands out in my memory was Joe Namath-"Broadway Joe" he was called-whose off-the-field antics attracted almost as much attention as his play on the field. The fact that he was with the newly formed AFL competitor to the established NFL added to his "mystique" and attracted interest and viewersip to the sport. The second thing that helped propel the NFL into prominence and eventual pre-eminence, again IMO, was free-agency. NFL players in the 1950s and 1960s had contracts that most people now would view as analogous to indentured servitude-with free agency you had the development of rich players able to switch teams and a contracts end for a fatter offer elsewhere-more began emulating the "Player as Personality and Entertainer" model and the viewing public began treating them like Hollywood stars.
The result? NFL viewership started to skyrocket and with it revenue-as a businessman, an NFL francise owner growing his business had to go with this flow or become an also-ran. This is not, by the way, an indictment of anything but just my presenting what I think is a plausible explanation of the changes wrought in the NFL as a part of national culture that, among other effects, have changed the entire coach/players paradigm from the perspective of running an NFL franchise as a business in today's market versus that of thirty to fifty years ago.
Changes occur generationally and the average "Joe NFL viewer"-as opposed to long-term team-specific adherent-NFL tv viewer today is accustomed to the more, shall we say "flamboyant?" players operating under fewer of the types of restrictions of the "old days" who may not exemplify an idealized past "Gibbs, Lombardi, Halas" coach/player structure but this is the demograpic in which the NFL now operates-this is the market in which tons of money is being made by franchises, players, and the league. It would be a poor business decision indeed to vary from the business model that is as successful as the NFL now is.
Neo, I had a comment to make about your reference to the CBA. During that whole process the single most consistent negative comment I encountered was the "rich spoiled brats fighting richer spoiled brats over who gets a bigger slice of the pie" meme that showed up in every discussion going on online about the negotiations. The same people who enjoy the players are simultaneously aware of, and buy into an "operating on a different level of wealth than me" perspective and the dislike of both team owners and players was notable. I think it's plausible that at least to a certain extent the resolution of the dispute was brought about by a realization by both owners and players that they were pissing off the "Golden Egg" goose and in danger of both sides getting hurt-the quibbles between them were real but, IMO, exacerbated by sensationalist media. There were some who tried to frame it as an "ideological" thing but that was most likely just opportunitic attempts at political trolling.
I am left with one question, however. Since every team is now operating under the same level and types of constraints-what is it about the Redskins that makes our situation seem worse than average. Have we really pissed off some "powers that be" into a retaliatory stance designed to thwart our success? I don't take conspiracy theories at face value without a boatload of verifiable external evidence so I am still looking for what I view as reasonable answers-I dislike Roger Goodell and John Mara intensely but I have a hard time picturing them in a darkened room somewhere saying "We'll get that f***er Snyder, throw every roadblock we can in front of 'em, make 'em change the team name even."
Currently I am at somewat of a loss-I won't eliminate the above mentioned possibility but there's not enough evidence yet to be convincing.