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WP: Mike Wise: Cooke Remembers Losing Team

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Call me Ismail

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Not sure of posting protocol here with news articles, so I'll just do it like the other place.

I was in high school when Dan bought the team and remember feeling that the new young guy would bring energy back to the Washington Redskins. The 2 years after JKC passed the organization kind of felt blah with 8-7-1, 0-7, Norv, Dan and Dana and the whole green walls at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium

Looking back, hindsight being 20/20, its quite obvious we'd be much better off today with John

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/20/AR2009102003616.html

Burgundy & old pain
Cooke recalls sting of fumbling away Redskins to Snyder
By Mike Wise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"I want to be buried in a burgundy-and-gold coffin. And when I'm gone, someone named Cooke is going to run this team. And when he's gone, someone else named Cooke is going to run this team."

-- Jack Kent Cooke, 1992

The last surviving son leaned forward and put his elbows on the stained mahogany partner desk, the same Canadian Victorian antique at which George Allen and Joe Gibbs used to sit across from his father. Built in the 1920s, the desk was moved 10 years ago from a spacious corner office in Ashburn into a muted-yellow cottage at the family estate just outside Middleburg.

On the roof of the cottage is a bow-and-arrow-toting Indian, a rusted-steel weather vane gifted to his father by George Preston Marshall, the original owner of the Washington Redskins. Same with the cigar-store Indian beside the door, "which I think George Halas gave to Marshall," John Kent Cooke said.

"At least that's the story dad always told me," Cooke said, sizing up the kitschy figure.

The first football snapped at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium -- now FedEx Field -- is on a bookshelf, above the chess set depicting the Redskins and Denver Broncos before Super Bowl XXII. Needlepoint coasters, each representing a 50-year arc of the team's helmet design, line the desk. Behind Cooke, through the sunlit window, lies the panorama of majestic green fields. The winery next door is teeming with Bordeaux grapes.

Personal wealth. Priceless mementos. Unending nostalgia.

Jack's son has it all -- all except the team.

When Jack Kent Cooke, the Redskins' flamboyant owner with three Super Bowl championships, died of heart failure in April 1997 at 84, his son was left to engage in an acrimonious auction that ended with Daniel M. Snyder, then a 34-year-old businessman, emerging with the Redskins.

The loss of the team, which his family had had a stake in since the 1960s, devastated John Cooke, enough so that he left the country, moving with his wife to Bermuda. He would not return for two years -- and only now, 10 years later, has he chosen to speak about working for his father and the resentment he still feels about having lost a franchise he always assumed would be his.

The team memorabilia throughout his estate might as well be old love letters stashed in a nightstand -- passionate reminders of a romance that ended 10 years ago, kept by a man who still can't let go.

"I think that if he had lived another few years, it would have gotten done," Cooke said of his failed quest to buy the team. "Unfortunately, we just ran out of time."

In two wide-ranging conversations at his Virginia estate, Cooke spoke at length about the auction in which he and Snyder became rivals for control of the Redskins. He revealed that he had held a clandestine meeting with Snyder, in which Cooke believed he would be courting a minority partner and was stunned when Snyder told him that he intended to buy the team himself. The meeting went badly, Cooke said, and ended with Cooke telling an associate that he no longer wanted anything to do with Snyder.

Click on link for rest
 

Sarge

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Hey John, don't feel like you're alone. After reading that article I almost feel like slitting my wrists.:(
 

Ax

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A re-post of what I wrote on the other place.

Boo-****in-hoo!

Jack Kent Cooke is solely responsible for his family not owning the team. It was obviously not the most important thing to him. He left us with the stadium so many are critical of today, the potential of new owners that could do anything they wanted, and Norval ****ing Turner!

Screw Cooke! John and Jack.

You win, you can get away with being an ass, like Jack was.
You lose, you're the debil, like Dan.

There is an equal chance that our record would have been worse over the last 10 years, had John been able to keep the team. The odds were well in his favor, to keep the team, and he couldn't pull it off. He was just riding his Daddy's coattails, and even Jack knew it. That's probably why he didn't leave it to him.

Just like Sonny said.
 

Sarge

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Sonny was wrong.

Somewhere around the mid 90's, JKC basically said to himself, his lawyer and his will that he had taken care of his kids long enough and that they were on their own after he was gone.

Not that that was a bad situation, because both of them were millionaires on their own. But there was question about whether or not John had the money to pay the estate taxes and gift taxes that he woul have incurred had JKC just given him the team.

But I'm sure if he could see the sorry state of affairs that is the Redskins today, he would have just gone ahead and done it.

As to whether or not we'd be better, we'll never know. I can't imagine that we'd be any worse off than we are now. Hell, I've seen some people pine for Norv.

And as excentrict as JKC was, he was never a miserable douche like the danny
 

Ax

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And as excentrict as JKC was, he was never a miserable douche like the danny
You're probably right. But, if JKC hadn't won, everything that made him, "eccentric", would more likely be remembered as, just being an ass.

And, had he wanted to, he could have given the team to his son in a way that the cost could have been controlled, and absorbed. Rich folk do it all the time.

He simply didn't want to.
 

Sarge

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Thing is, he wanted to get money for his charitable foundation as well. Had he just 'given" the team to John, all that money would have been lost.

Maybe if he had gotten the Maryland taxpayers to fund the stadium instead of paying for it himself, things would have been different. Who knows?
 

Chris

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He revealed that he had held a clandestine meeting with Snyder, in which Cooke believed he would be courting a minority partner and was stunned when Snyder told him that he intended to buy the team himself. The meeting went badly, Cooke said, and ended with Cooke telling an associate that he no longer wanted anything to do with Snyder.

Seems to be a pattern.
 

Call me Ismail

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I simply see no way any logical self respecting Redskin fan can a) think the job the current owner has done is anything better then failure and b) think the organization would be worse with John Cooke

It may not have recaptured the 3 Superbowls of the Gibbs year, but it sure as hell would not be this
 

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UGH! Reading this almost makes me sick to my stomach. I never understood why they didn't reopen the bidding after the Milstein bid failed. They used "time" as an excuse but John had already been running the team so what was one more year? The whole thing was a cluster fudge from the get-go.
 

Sarge

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No, I imagine we would have been a very middle of the road team. John probably would not have had the money to blow on a lot of big name free agents. But after seeing how badly that approach has sucked under the current buffonery, I can't say that would be a bad thing.

I spoke with my Mom this morning and she filled me in a little more. She said that while JKC did indeed want to set up a foundation for kids, it was his two lawyers that were whispering the sweet nothings into his ear about selling the team to make more money for the foundation. The foundation was going to get Mr Cookes millions anyway, but they came up with the idea of selling the team, and by that point Mr Cooke really wasn't in good enough shape to make decisions.

Coincidently, these same two lawyers ran the foundation after Mr Cookes death until recently. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Nobody looking out for themselves there.
 
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Hog Fever

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Thanks for filling in some blanks Sarge. Nothing like having an insider.

There are a lot of moving parts in this story but the bottom line is if Jack had wanted to make it easy on John to own the team he could have done that. Saying an old man with a lot of money was taken advantage of by a couple of slick lawyers in no real shocker either.

Dan is not a good owner for a lot of reasons that we beat to death here all the time. Would John have been better? I'd like to think so. I doubt he could be any worse. He certainly wouldn't have squandered the goodwill that had been built up between the team and the fans for so many years.

In the end we all want to see a winner here in DC but we want to see it done the right way too. We want to be connected to the team and we want to feel that our support is appreciated. There are a lot of ways that could be done. Any time Dan tries anything like this it looks like a cash grab...because it is.

It's hard to root for Dan and Vinny. To paraphrase from another thread we "know" them a hell of a lot better than they think we do. The days of "paying" for my loyalty by getting high priced free agents, while simultaneously running a Mickey Mouse organization are just about over.
 

Sarge

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Oh, I forgot to mention that the two lawyers really didn't care for John. Hence, another reason to make it hard on him, knowing he didn't have the money to buy the team outright
 

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John might not have been a great owner in terms of fielding the winner his Dad did for the time Gibbs was here the first time but he would not have traded this organization's class and respect for a fast buck either. The team would not have dropped into the realm of joke status like Danny has let happen.
 

Bulldog

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John Kent Cooke was exactly the kind of wet blanket that his father didn't think was capable of running a profile business like an NFL franchise.

The fact he thought Norv Turner deserved more time as the HC just goes to show how out of touch he was. Norv was 49-59-1 in almost 7 full seasons with the club.

Know anyone else who got that much time to prove he could lose football games?
 

Ax

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John might not have been a great owner in terms of fielding the winner his Dad did for the time Gibbs was here the first time but he would not have traded this organization's class and respect for a fast buck either. The team would not have dropped into the realm of joke status like Danny has let happen.
Maybe so. But a lovable loser, is still a loser.

And at least there's a chance, that the current group can turn things around, eventually.

Pining for a past that never happened is a waste of time, and energy.
 

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I always had the impression that neither Cooke really knew the team would eventually fetch $800M. The Stadium was a few years old by the time the auctioning started and it was an obvious success. Naming rights had become a big deal, etc. John Cooke says he bid $750M. So obviously if JKC thought the team was less than that, he also knew that John could buy them if he wanted.
 

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