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Why RFK?


The Commissioner
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Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC
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I'm an outlier currently. I don't really need the next Washington NFL stadium to be built on the old RFK site. I get the sentimental appeal. It's where the glory years happened. But it's not magic soil and it will take a lot more than a replica stadium on hallowed ground to resurrect this franchise.

My preference is for a stadium in Virginia. Virginia is where the bulk of this fanbase lives now. We've had a stadium in DC. We've had a stadium in Maryland (which let's face it, is now Ravens country). It's Virginia's turn.

There are so many things the new ownership group will have to look at in terms of a new stadium site...

Ease of acquiring the land (RFK is federally owned - it would actually take an act of Congress to be able to acquire it).
Highway access in and out of the area.
Adequate size to accomodate everything encompassing a modern NFL stadium complex.
Friendliness/cooperation of local and state governments.
Existing or potential for mass transit.
Environment impact.
Convenience for as many fans as possible.

I have no idea off the top of my head which potential stadium sites check the most boxes presently. But sentimentality isn't on my partial list of requirements.

So here's the challenge. Sell me on RFK. Why is it the choice that makes the most sense?
It doesn't make sense, a city with leadership that hates the name Redskins can never be on my list, I'd have a hard time believing they'd allow the history of team to be shown other than the trophies. Maryland is Ravens country because number one, nice area to go to at Inner Harbor, of course it's a total apocalypse a few blocks away and number two they win and now someone born in 2000 is 23, they've got a youth tangible. VA, ok, depending on the site, same thing for MD with me. Ease, accessibility, a stadium not falling apart. I'm in for either but I think it's a moot point if ten years from now we're still getting bitch slapped in the nfc east with no consistent success( as in not one fluke year and then back to the mean). RFK was what it was, a moment in time, but time passes all things by.
For me, It's not so much about pining for the good ole days of RFK.

What it is about is the lack of a great site in Northern VA that isn't so far away from DC that it makes using the name Washington a joke. Every place I've seen mentioned is just too far away and lacks the public transit infrastructure to be really viable.

The reality is that even the RFK site isn't perfect but I feel like it might have more positives than negatives when compared to any of the mentioned VA sites. I think there are also intangible positives to the team playing their games inside DC city limits and the old RFK site is likely the best possible site inside DC proper.

While I'd love to have a stadium in VA, for me, I think the Oxen Hill Farms site might be the best of the locations that get the most attention.
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Because it's home. Tear down the old, build a new and let's get some metro stops upgraded so it's not as dangerous as it was!
I can respect that. But again, that's sentimentality. The things you associate with RFK are memories. Is that enough of a reason to go back there - that's what I'm asking?
It's got more of reason than Landover, I think we all agree on that.

NoVa is also not a walk in the park to get in and out of.

I think the main reason to choose location is sentimental reasons. DC is very corrupt as far as politicians go, but it's come a long ways for tourism and things to do.
I can only give my 2 cents now as a non-local who has no skin in the game. Adjacency to the district is a must for me. The DC area is a high value factor for me because I love visiting the city and would again attend games on a more frequent basis (if the team was worth a damn). Ease of access from downtown without renting a car (Metro) or dealing with parking and the ridiculous traffic conditions would be mandatory for me.

Woodbridge, Dumfries, and Sterling are not ‘destinations‘ for, well, anyone to get excited about. Virginia may be for lovers but the distant suburbs are not for Washington football.

I would greatly prefer the RFK site but I’m not sure that there is enough available land to build a suitable stadium AND entertainment district. Landover would be #2 sheerly due to access. Oxon Hill would be 3rd because of proximity but again there is no Metro access.

I will though continue to watch all of the home games from my living room, so my preferences are pretty low on the totem pole.
For me, it’s about finding the best site for the stadium. I feel like the current stadium site was chosen because Cooke got the best deal from PG County. It does need to be in a convenient location that can service the most fans and provide the best solution for traffic. Regardless of we’re the stadium is, traffic will be bad. In that area, traffic is bad even without a stadium. But they need to find a location that provides the best transportation solution.

DC is the most attractive location. I don’t know if the RFK site works or not. But I wouldn’t hold on to it for nostalgic reasons. It needs to work out logistically to allow the best experience for fans.

If it stays in MD, I think Oxon Hill Farms is the best location because of its proximity to both DC and Virginia. There is also the MGM and the National Harbor close by. I don’t agree they should stay out of Md because it’s Ravens country. I think that is something the new owner should be working on. Reaching back out towards fans that have been lost and a lot exist in MD. That doesn’t mean they stadium has to be in MD, but I’d hate for the new owner to give up on that area.

I’m not as familiar with Virginia, but I do think they need to stay somewhat close to DC. I know people have mentioned Woodbridge, they are already in Ashburn. I think those may be the limits for being too far out.
The stadium site isn't going back to RFK in my opinion.

There are way too many factors favoring other locations.

The interplay between the DC Government and the Feds/Congress is one stumbling block to reaching an agreement, the DC has no discretionary funds to provide financing for a new stadium on its own.

Doing business in DC is also a barrier. I used to work in the AE industry and the DC Government puts all kinds of restrictions on developers/contractors as to whom they can hire on the job and helps to create an environment where the General Contractor is often 'carrying' small businesses located in DC that are barely competent to compete their assignments. Contractors often have 'shadow' partners (at their own cost) to cover for work that has to be redone. All that leads to $$$ to put projects over budget.

After paying $6B for the franchise, Harris is not going to self-finance the stadium as Pollin did downtown.

The era where NFL stadiums are located downtown in the city is largely over.

The Giants and Jets are outside of NYC, the Patriots are outside of Boston, the 49ers are outside of SF, the Cowboys are outside of Dallas, etc.

NBA and NHL teams can still afford to locate in the city due to their smaller footprint and lack of a 'tailgate' culture.

The Verizon Center is the perfect example of a profitable stadium downtown seating 20,000 that has bars and restaurants close by and cheap transportation by Metro for many fans from Maryland and VA into DC.

RFK was a dinosaur by 1997 when the team moved, albeit a fondly remembered one for those of us that enjoyed some of our best sports moments there.

But it was the end of an era.
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The era where NFL stadiums are located downtown in the city is largely over.

The Giants and Jets are outside of NYC, the Patriots are outside of Boston, the 49ers are outside of SF, the Cowboys are outside of Dallas, etc.

I have to disagree with this.

The league's two newest stadiums, Allegiant in Vegas and SoFi in LA, are oddities. Vegas is a tourist town and the stadium there is built across the freeway from the Southend of the strip. LA is...well...LA and all spread out.

The next two newest stadiums are Mercedes-Benz in Atlanta and US Bank in Minneapolis - both effectively in their respective downtown areas.

Yes, the 49ers and Cowboys both built stadiums outside of their respective downtown areas but only after long negotiations with their cities failed. The 49ers had a plan to build a whole complex on the site of the old Candlestick Park that was rejected by San Francisco and the Cowboys looked a several locations around downtown Dallas but the city wasn't interested.

NY shouldn't count because...well...NY. Good luck getting land to build a stadium in Manhattan. Hell, NYCFC has been trying to build a soccer-specific stadium for a decade and just recently got enough land in Queens, next to the Mets stadium, for a project that will take a lot less space than an NFL stadium would require.

Before that Lucas Oil (Indianapolis), Lincoln Financial (Philly), Ford Field (Detroit), Lumen Field (Seattle), NRG Stadium (Houston), Acrisure Stadium (Pittsburgh), Empower Field (Denver), and Paycor Stadium (Cincy) were all built in downtowns or districts adjacent to downtowns. I stopped there because those are the stadiums that have opened since 2000.

And no, I didn't mention the Cardinals or the Patriots but I did look at them. Honestly, I have no explanation about the Cardinals and building a stadium in Glendale. The Patriots' Gillette Stadium is halfway between Boston and Providence, making a regional team more easily accessible to two of the region's largest population centers.
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I agree there are reasons why respective teams chose their sites and they are often specific to that area.

Here the 'mix' in large measure comes down to politics and cost. The RFK site COULD be developed.

But the reality is that DC doesn't have the authority to transfer the site to the Commanders for development without going through Congressional review.

And then you have to consider the local politics of what DC would want from the Commanders for developing the site IF the Mayor and Council WERE able to act.

The conditions of developing the site that the then mayor put on Jack Kent Cooke was one of the major reasons he moved the team out of DC in the first place.

Another point, though, is a number of the teams mentioned in responses to my post are in mid-tier markets where there is either available building space and/or land that comes at reasonable development cost relative to the major cities in the Northeast.

You can't compare the Las Vegas and Indianapolis markets to New York or Washington.
All fair points, BD. And Washington specific.

It just felt like you were saying the Commanders should move out of the city because that is the trend in the NFL and I don't see it that way.

For the record, I agree with you about VA being the most likely landing spot from a political and financial point of view. The District can't compete on financial incentives and I don't believe Maryland will even try. I also think that knowing what we know now about the financing of this deal, Harris and team will need the financial assistance of a state government to get a stadium built (unless he has a deal with his investors that they all pony up more money down the road).

I absolutely believe the team would prefer a stadium in the District itself. Likely the NFL would too.

I just don't think it's realistic.
For those who might have spent any time on our other site thenoosphere.com, you may recall my brother (Meteor). He happened to be reading this thread today and weighed in.

Kind of.


Arlington IS downtown. It’s a big city in its own right. Jerry’s Place and the Rangers baseball stadium are adjacent and share parking lots and entertainment and hotel venues. Six Flags over Texas (amusement park) is adjacent. A major interstate and a commuter rail line are nearby. UT Arlington is in walking distance.

Most important, it’s exactly halfway between Dallas and Ft. Worth, smack dab in the middle of the DFW Metroplex.

Also just south of DFW airport.

Financial viability of a stadium is also dependent on what other uses the stadium creates. Jerry’s Place is ALWAYS busy. Concerts, NCAA final four, high school and college games, monster truck shows, etc. I read that Jerry makes as much money on non-NFL business at the stadium as he does on Cowboys games.

More events creates more incentive for hotels, restaurants, bars, etc to locate there.

Also, the Cardinals stadium is “downtown”. Glendale is a big city (where I lived) and I-10 runs right past the stadium. Also, PIR raceway and the MLB spring training (and Luke AFB!) surround it. There were already lotsa hotels and bars and restaurants there before the stadium was built.
Personally, I can't sell you on RFK because the location blows. We went to games at RFK and getting there was a hassle. Traffic sucked, and always sucks in that area. Metro was never a viable option because we tailgated and, even if we were so inclined, the closest station to us is a 45 minute drive from the house.
i enjoyed my two games at rfk,you can,t recapture the times in that place when the skins were playing,but it needs to be torn down and a new indoor stadium built so dc can get a super bowl finally.
i enjoyed my two games at rfk,you can,t recapture the times in that place when the skins were playing,but it needs to be torn down and a new indoor stadium built so dc can get a super bowl finally.
I enjoyed my only time there also but yes we need a new stadium ASAP. With the new owners I have faith that will happen, but probably not as soon as most fans would want.
do they ever play hail to the redskins at fedex anymore or have they got rid of that too?

Take it for what it's worth.
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