D.C. fans finally rewarded


Redskins' fans root for their favorite team. PC: Courtesy Photo

Vinh Tran, Sahib Singh, and Dina Saab

On June 8, the Capitals (NHL) won the Stanley Cup for the first time ever in Capitals’ history! This was a monumental turn for D.C. sports, as these teams were considered “cursed.”

“Wow, this is a miracle for D.C. sports,” said Nana Marfo, a former player for the Green Bay Packers (NFL). “This will bring much joy to the community.”

The last time any of the teams — Wizards (NBA), Capitals (NHL), Redskins (NFL), and Nationals (MLB) — won a championship game was in 1992, when the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills in the Superbowl. 

The Capitals have been playing well during the entire 2018 season. With the revamped offense — Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky — they have been unstoppable. In addition, their defense has allowed minimal goals, which has helped them across multiple series, and the final game of the 2017-2018 year.

Jake Hopps, an eighth-grader at Rachel Carson Middle School who is a fanatic Redskins fan, said of the Caps’ recent achievement, “It gives more motivation to the team. Hopefully, this will give them motivation for the upcoming years.”

Being a D.C. sports fan is usually hard work.  Even though the Capitals won the Stanley Cup, Marfo believes that it is still the front office that is affecting the team. “The Capitals had a major turnaround ever since they were down 0-2 in the series against the Columbus Blue Jackets,’ said Marfo. “They have been pretty much playing their best ever since,” he added. Marfo adds that he stills sees a lack of trying from the other D.C. sports organizations, the Redskins (NFL), Wizards (NBA),  and Nationals (MLB).  

Their poor performance normally occurs in both the preseason and postseason. Local residents here in Northern Virginia are disheartened with the performance of the professional D.C. sports. 

Until the resounding win for the Capitals, D.C. sport teams had poor records compared to top tier teams in the NFL; Philadelphia Eagles end the season with a record of 13 to 3 and the Washington Redskins ended with a record of 7 to 9. In 1922, 1983, and 1988, the Redskins won the SuperBowl — a 30 year drought.

The last time the Redskins even made it to the playoffs was 12 seasons ago. Now, the team can barely make it through the post season, not having a strong enough record to make the playoffs.

“The Redskins are barley even an actual team if they can’t even make it past a couple of playoff games,” said Hopps.  

Professional D.C. sport teams are now infamous for their poor performance in the preseason and postseason. All teams have seen consistent poor records, or have choked over the past years; however, the teams have all-star players like Josh Norman and Bryce Harper. Both players have shown consistent stats over the past years.  

Marfo said that staff, coaches, and CEOs have a greater impact on the team than the players. He added, “It all starts at the front office. If [it] is not up to par, the organization will decline.” This analysis is often in conflict with fans’ perception as they believe getting farther in  the playoffs is because of the coaches. However, Hopps agrees with Marfo analysis, “The front office has a bigger effect on the players than they think.”

Kerry Campagna, a seventh grade gym teacher at Rachel Carson, said, “It’s all about the coaches. If there is no leadership, the team will not excel.”   

D.C. coaches have not won awards in years.  Since 1993, the Redskins ended their season without  a winning record, according to Wikipedia. In addition, since 1993, no coach has won an award for their leadership. The last award was given to Joe Gibbs in 1992, who won AP Coach of the Year twice, Pro Football Weekly Coach of the Year twice, Sporting News Coach of the Year three times and UPI NFC Coach of the Year once.

Many teams like the New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Golden State Warriors are pushed to their limits during practices. The coaches are known for being strict during pre-game work which makes the team disciplined and like-minded. Coaches for the Redskins, Wizards, and Nationals, though, are known to be lenient during practices.

Another key reason for the D.C. teams not winning the championships is their budget constraints in trading for prominent players.  For instance, the Redskins recently acquired a backup quarterback from the Cleveland Browns — Kevin Hogan. He is not a top tier player;  Hogan started only one game for the Browns, and lost it. “This is a prime example of the poor leadership of the Redskin’s organization,” said Hopps.

Marfo feels many people doubt the Redskins as a professional team. He thinks that this affects the organization. He says that the doubt gives the players more pressure, and it affects their performance on the field. “The Redskins play more like a little league football team than a professional team,” said Hopps.

Marfo believes the team did not use their talent properly last year. Many professional teams in the D.C. area have top notch players. However, the coaches and the front office do not integrate them effectively into the team. “They need to either talk to their players or get better ones” said Hopps.

The Nats are now playing .500 ball, but the fans are concerned if they can ever make the World Series.  As the summer comes, the Redskins fans feel they will lose again this year. And Wizards followers, as well as the currently happy Caps fans, are equally cautious of their teams’ futures. Given their poor performance history, D.C. professional teams have to prove themselves to the nation and their fans every year.