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Here's a "What If" scenario I've wondered about for a long time.

One of many experimental iterations ...

Fear The Spear

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"What if" Jack Kent Cook's son, John, ended up with the team, after JKC's death ?

Either by pure inheritance, or he somehow has the ability to make the winning bid for the team, what if John becomes owner of the Skins ? How does that change the history of the Skins, from that point forward ?

And, take it a step further : "What if" Howard Milstein, Dan Snyder's main competitor in the bidding, who came dangerously close to getting the team himself, actually ended up with the team ? What would a "Milstein" Redskins team look like ?
 

tshile

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I think it changes quite a bit.

John had a group of people that included some higher ups in Nike and someone I personally know (I believe he had a minor stake in it... it's possible he didn't and was just very close to the situation... i haven't talked to him in a few years and forget :( ). The organization would have been run the right way from the start, instead of the 11 years of garbage we saw under Snyder.

More importantly than that, our team would have had partners in the NFL. Something we haven't had up until Bruce Allen came along. Snyder alienated himself from the rest of the owners with the way he acted at the start, and hence left us with no one to work with when we needed a trade (either in the draft, or during the season). There are stories... lots of stories... And it all starts with the 2000 super bowl (for the 1999 season, year Snyder took over) and things that went on over that week.

If you talk to people who have inside knowledge of how teams operate, it's amazing how much teams work together. They help each other out and actually hold up to the 'we owe you one' type mentality when it's needed. We didn't have that during that stretch. In fact, quite a few teams were out to hurt us whenever they could.

While FedEx wasn't Snyder's doing, some of the things he's done to FedEx were - the dream seats, the obstructed view seats, all of those would not exist and for those of us that attend games that would be better. I have no idea how much better FedEx would have been under that ownership group, but it couldn't have been worse.

A lot of time and money has been wasted waiting for Snyder to figure it out. We wouldn't have gone through that with John.

Does that mean super bowls? Absolutely not.

But it does mean not having an entire generation of people who grew up around DC the last 20 years not liking the home team because of some combination of a despicable owner and a dreadful football team.
 

Lanky Livingston

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"What if" Jack Kent Cook's son, John, ended up with the team, after JKC's death ?

Either by pure inheritance, or he somehow has the ability to make the winning bid for the team, what if John becomes owner of the Skins ? How does that change the history of the Skins, from that point forward ?

And, take it a step further : "What if" Howard Milstein, Dan Snyder's main competitor in the bidding, who came dangerously close to getting the team himself, actually ended up with the team ? What would a "Milstein" Redskins team look like ?
We wouldn't be public enemy number one in the eyes of the other owners, that's for sure. Snyder peed in a lot of punchbowls in his early years as owner, and a lot of the old-guard owners did not like him for it (and probably still don't).

Question for those who are more knowledgeable about the process: could Jack have willed the team to his son, or is there an automatic bidding process whenever an owner dies? Were John & Jack estranged or something? What went on there? The only thing I know is that we lost Martz & Green largely b/c of the ownership hold-up.
 

tshile

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Question for those who are more knowledgeable about the process: could Jack have willed the team to his son, or is there an automatic bidding process whenever an owner dies? Were John & Jack estranged or something? What went on there? The only thing I know is that we lost Martz & Green largely b/c of the ownership hold-up.
He certainly could have, but he didn't. He wanted the money to go to whatever foundation he had set up. There had been talks about changing that, but I think he fell ill before anything was changed.

Now the thing was, John had the money for the team. I believe it was 350 million? They were ready to go forward with the deal and the owership group would be John, some execs from Nike, a few other (much smaller) names and it would be done.

At the last minute Snyder came in with his backers and dropped 800+ million on the table (I think it was 850, with 450 of it not being his). John and his group just couldn't even begin to get that kind of money together :(
 

tshile

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From John himself on why it wasn't left to him:
Sonny was mistaken. My father could not leave the Redskins to me and the family for two reasons: he wanted the foundation to be significant and the size of his estate at that time was not as large as it was previously, and subject to estate taxes. When my father realized this he changed his will that had previously allowed him to pass the Redskins to my family and Elmendorf Racing Stables to my brother's family.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/10/21/DI2009102101116.html
 

ntotoro

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Question for those who are more knowledgeable about the process: could Jack have willed the team to his son, or is there an automatic bidding process whenever an owner dies?
If JKC had willed the team, John would have had to pay 35% of the value as the death tax. Could he have afforded it? I have no idea. He could have likely gotten that much together if it meant keeping the team in the Cooke family.

If he was able to get together $350m, that should have been considerably more than enough to pay the death tax.

Nick
 
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tshile

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The 350 million came with other investors. Not sure how that works when the team is willed to you. It may have made that not possible. If he could add them in as owners, or what. It wasn't all his money...

Also I'm not sure when that group was put together - before or after Cooke died.
 

Bulldog

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from what I recall Cooke was able to bring Nationsbank into the deal and they were going to front him and his group a significant portion of the money.

but Zuckerman came along and gave Snyder the financing he needed that the Estate Trust Board more readily accepted.

The truth of the matter is that Cooke Sr. realized I think that John while a good employee of the team was not the kind of dynamic personality that was capable of repeating his success with his sports teams.

He ended up willing John $10M in cash and real estate to afford him a nice lifestyle, but he was not going to leave him a billion dollar business.

It was a bit cold to a lot of people. But you have to remember that Cooke grew up selling Encyclopedias during the depression door to door.

He didn't come from money and despite seeming to like people around him that agreed with him, I think he more readily respected those that made their own way and staked their own claim in life.

John Cooke's support for Norv Turner despite the losing seasons and poor choice of Shuler leads me to believe that while the team might have been run differently, it wouldn't necessarily have been run in a more efficient way.

Cooke wanted to leave everything his father set up in place, including Norv as the coach and Casserly as the GM.

Everyone in the building knew that by that time Norv and Casserly were barely speaking and some changes were necessary.

John didn't seem to want to make those hard choices.

So, through a flawed process, we ended up with Snyder.

I think the best scenario would have been for the Sam Grossman/Joe Gibbs group to have acquired the team.

That group was actually willing to pay the most cash up front for the team and stadium.

With Gibbs, football people would have been hired to make the decisions.

Whether he would have come back at some point is a question mark. Perhaps not if the team was winning and doing well.
 

Lanky Livingston

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I think the best scenario would have been for the Sam Grossman/Joe Gibbs group to have acquired the team.

That group was actually willing to pay the most cash up front for the team and stadium.

With Gibbs, football people would have been hired to make the decisions.

Whether he would have come back at some point is a question mark. Perhaps not if the team was winning and doing well.
That would have been a dream come true, really. So, Snyder's group offered the most cash, but in more payments, essentially?
 

Elephant

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I think BT hit the nail on the head. John Cooke had every opportunity to wrest control of the team, but dropped the ball. I think his father knew he would not have been able to handle it. I just wish he'd had something more concrete in place to ensure the ownership didn't go to s snot nose kid. But it is what it is, here we are.

I would be interested to hear what Sarge has to say about this since his mom worked closely with JKC.
 

Ax

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Dan Snyder is a young Jack Kent Cooke, minus the rings. Don't overlook that.

If John Cooke had somehow kept the team, Norval would still be coach.
Even if not, there's no guarantee things wouldn't have been worse. None.

Last time I looked, it was 2012.

Look ahead. You'll see where you're going, better.
 

tshile

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Dan Snyder is a young Jack Kent Cooke, minus the rings. Don't overlook that.
Thats a point I think does often get over looked Ax. I think you're dead on.

Because Cooke was successful towards the end there are quite a few exaggerations about him. I'm pretty sure he was a nice guy, don't get me wrong; But he wasn't exactly the beloved owner either :)

He wanted to fire Gibbs almost right away. Bobby Bethard convinced him not to.

Cooke was an incredibly demanding owner; with a lot of the same flaws as Snyder. The only real difference, I think (and this is just my opinion), is that Cooke recognized people who knew football better than him and appreciated their opinion and he had a respect for money; a respect that Snyder clearly doesn't have. The Redskins success in the 80's and 90's were as much about Bethard and Caserly managing Cooke as it was about managing the team.

Snyder hasn't had that (and that's his own fault.) He has that now. I only hope he keeps Allen and Shanahan around long enough to reap the rewards, and doesn't switch back to his ways of old out of frustration.

The same things go for RFK vs Fedex Field. RFK was a dump, but it was our dump and we owned that field. FedEx Field, so far, is more of a corporation's dump and we clearly don't own it; we just broke a 8 game losing streak at home :(

(all of the above is obviously my opinion and my understanding based from what people I know that knew Cooke have said)
 

Elephant

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While I can see some of what you guys are saying, JKC was a different man. Dan Snyder lacks charisma, JKC had it for sure.
 

CounterTrey

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Cooke also got broken in as a minority owner for years before he took over the Skins and also as owner of the Lakers and Kings in L.A. He built The Forum in a spat with L.A., which smacks of RalJon type stubbornness. :)

I'd be interested to know of his dealings in those fledgling days and what mistakes/enemies he made as an owner his first decade. It would make an interesting case study.
 

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