The Steinbrenner-Snyder comparisons
"[Daniel] Snyder, as unpopular as he has been financially successful, is now mentioned in the same breath with another owner-pariah: George Steinbrenner," The Virginian-Pilot wrote in a staff editorial last fall.
Look, I have no doubt that Snyder was being mentioned in the same breath as George Steinbrenner at some point during that awful 2009 season. But trust me, it didn't start in 2009. Virtually from the time he bought the Redskins, Snyder was being linked to Steinbrenner, the free-spending, imperious, demanding Yankees owner who died on Tuesday. Because he's gone through many coaches, and because he's signed many high-dollar free agents, and because his wallet bulges green, Snyder has been compared to Steinbrenner by just about every newspaper sportswriter in America, near as I can tell.
So, with Steinbrenner gone and Al Davis tottering, does Snyder now assume the mantle? If a brash new free-spending owner takes control of, say, the Los Angeles Clippers, will he be called "the Daniel Snyder of the NBA?" Is he pro sports's best example of the free-spending owner?
An interesting, if potentially inappropriate, question to ponder. In the meantime, here's my proof that for each of the last 11 years, Snyder has been linked to the Boss.
May 1999, Ron Borges, Boston Globe:
Is it just my imagination or does new Redskins owner Daniel Snyder think he's George Steinbrenner? In a letter sent before he bought the team for $800 million, Snyder promised employees that everyone's job was safe. Then he came in and wiped out 25 people, including the entire PR staff and general manager Charley Casserly, who did a fantastic job in difficult circumstances last spring, making trades to protect the team's long-term future.
Sept. 1999, Jon Saraceno, USA Today:
[I'll be] watching the next George Steinbrenner, Washington's Daniel Snyder, impatiently fashion a noose for Norv Turner.
Oct. 1999, Jean-Jacques Taylor, Dallas Morning News:
Redskins fans seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach, but they have to like an owner who says the franchise will win or it will get rid of everybody. Snyder appears to have attended the George Steinbrenner School of Ownership, which means if the Redskins win consistently, he will own the town. If not, he'll be hammered.
Oct. 1999, Adam Schefter, Denver Post:
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is acting like a George Steinbrenner wannabe. After the Redskins were blown out last Sunday, dropping their record to 4-2, Snyder met with head coach Norv Turner and chewed into him for 45 minutes. He did the same thing Monday, meeting with Turner a few more times.
Nov. 1999, Sam Farmer, San Jose Mercury News:
Is Daniel Snyder really George Steinbrenner in disguise? Snyder, the thirtysomething owner of the Washington Redskins, is taking a hands-on approach to running his team. That would be "hands on" Coach Norv Turner's throat. Two Sundays ago, after the Redskins lost to Dallas for the second time this season, Snyder chewed out Turner for 45 minutes after the game.
Jan. 2000, Bob Cohn, Washington Times:
"Hands-on" is the operative phrase, but some might say "claws on." He has been likened to New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner for his involvement, his impatience and for people skills some believe to be lacking.
Jan. 2000, Ed McNamara, Newsday:
Watch obnoxious owner Daniel Snyder fume as the game slips away. Before he's through, he'll make George Steinbrenner look like a saint.
June 2000, Dave Hyde, South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder sure seems like George Steinbrenner on training wheels, doesn't he?
July 2000, Jonathan Rand, Kansas City Star:
Snyder already is the NFL's George Steinbrenner, minus the championships.
August 2000, Curtis Bunn, Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
You can call Snyder a youthful George Steinbrenner-in-the-making or an overly aggressive spoiled brat with too much money at his fingertips and time at his disposal. But you cannot call Daniel Snyder passive.
Sept. 2000, Jerry Magee, San Diego Union-Tribune:
George Steinbrenner would understand what Daniel Snyder is attempting to do: buy a pennant. It works in baseball. It should not work in the NFL, but the league's salary cap is such a frail structure that somebody with the Redskins owner's riches and ambitions could get away with it...."He makes George Steinbrenner look like Mary Poppins," said a source familiar with Snyder's methods.
Oct. 2000, Mike Freeman, New York Times:
Snyder recently watched a playoff game with the Yankee owner, George Steinbrenner, who has been known to be a tad ruthless himself. Was Steinbrenner giving the young Snyder a few tips? Or was it the other way around?
Dec. 2000, Dale Robertson, Houston Chronicle:
Some folks are content to simply be the boss. Snyder spends his every waking moment looking and acting the part. His idol as a kid must have been George Steinbrenner. Snyder is arrogant, short-tempered and prone to knee-jerk, tantrum-fueled decisions.
Jan. 2001, Harry Jaffe, Washingtonian:
For out-of-town sportswriters, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has become the latest petulant sports owner: taking over from George Steinbrenner, Jerry Jones, and Peter Angelos, throwing dough at championships, meddling in the locker room, messing with his coaches.
Oct. 2001, Les Carpenter, Seattle Times:
No general manager will want to work for an owner who fancies himself a talent scout. At least the other owners Snyder seems to have modeled himself after -- George Steinbrenner and Jerry Jones -- were at least once coaches themselves.
Jan. 2002, David Whitley, Orlando Sentinel:
The Redskins have the NFL's most impatient owner in Daniel Snyder. He rivals George Steinbrenner during the early 1980s.
Feb. 2002, Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel:
These fat-cats can be impulsive, impatient and insufferable (George Steinbrenner and Daniel Snyder).
August 2002, Terence Moore, Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Still, omnipresence isn't necessarily a wonderful attribute for an owner in pro sports. See Daniel Snyder of the Washington Redskins and the old George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees.
Nov. 2002, Tim Sullivan, San Diego Union-Tribune:
Snyder is like George Steinbrenner without the championships, like Marge Schott without the subtlety.
April 2003, Ron Borges, Boston Globe:
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder may be as tactful as George Steinbrenner, but head coach Steve Spurrier is trying to soothe any hard feelings that may have developed with the Jets.
Oct. 2003, Tom Robinson, Virginian-Pilot:
The Redskins were seriously fouled up long before impetuous Daniel Snyder - George Steinbrenner without the Visa commercials - made them the world's most overwrought rotisserie team four years ago. he institutional malaise has simply worsened on Snyder's watch, so that unmet expectation is the default setting entering a season.
Dec. 2003, Stephen A. Smith, Philadelphia Inquirer:
Daniel Snyder, the George Steinbrenner of the NFL without championships on his resume, stood on a dais in January 2002, vowing that change for the better was imminent while smiling in the direction of head coach Steve Spurrier and trying to coax football pundits in the nation's capital to embrace his vision.
March 2004, Don Pierson, Chicago Tribune:
Money fell from the tree of NFL free agency in unprecedented amounts Wednesday on the first day signings were allowed and trades could be announced for the 2004 season. As usual, big-spending Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder was determined to win the off-season title as the George Steinbrenner of football.
March 2004, Dave Goldberg, AP:
That's another characteristic that makes the Redskins different from anyone else. Snyder, football's version of George Steinbrenner, tends to get disillusioned with his own players and falls in love with outsiders.
Oct. 2004, Brent Woronoff, Daytona Beach News-Journal:
After working for Daniel Snyder, even George Steinbrenner (a Gators booster by the way) would seem like an understanding boss.
Aug. 2005, Mark Bradley, Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Only a fool --- or Jerry Jones or George Steinbrenner or Daniel Snyder --- insists on having his well-heeled way when his way isn't working.
Nov. 2005, John Rowe, Bergen Record:
Money can't buy me love - or a playoff team: Redskins owner Daniel Snyder acts and pays like George Steinbrenner. But doesn't have The Boss' championship portfolio.
Jan. 2006, Michael Wilbon, Washington Post:
The Redskins aren't going to mess around with tweaking the offense; the hiring of Al Saunders says they're going to overhaul it, take a jackhammer to what didn't work and start over. The salary cap may stop Snyder from becoming the George Steinbrenner of the NFL, but the cap pertains to players. Until the NFL comes up with a rule, Snyder can spend as much as he wants on assistant coaches, and apparently have as many of them as he'd like.
March 2006, Nancy Gay, San Francisco Chronicle:
No salary cap means no limit on bidding and buying the best players, so a free spender such as the Redskins' Daniel Snyder -- who just paid his new offensive coordinator $2 million a year -- could become the next George Steinbrenner and load up his roster, payroll be damned.
Aug. 2006, John McGrath, Tacoma News Tribune:
Norman is a hands-on owner and proud of it. But he's not to be confused with Daniel Snyder's meddlesome presence at Washington Redskins practices - Snyder would occupy a spot in the huddle if coach Joe Gibbs let him - or George Steinbrenner's history of reading riot acts to the New York Yankees after they end a bases-loaded threat with a double play.
Sept. 2006, Brendan Prunty, Newark Star Ledger:
Is there any doubt that somewhere in Daniel Snyder's office there is a huge wall poster of George Steinbrenner? If Snyder starts sporting white turtlenecks this season, we're running away-fast.
Oct. 2007, Gary Myers, New York Daily News:
Steinbrenner's money helped buy World Series championships Nos. 23-26 from 1996-2000, but the Vince Lombardi Trophy is not for sale. If it was, Washington's Daniel Snyder would have been in the lead car in a couple of Pennsylvania Avenue parades with Deion Sanders riding shotgun.
Feb. 2008, Ray Ratto, San Francisco Chronicle:
[Bobby Knight] was a lousy employee, and the one time he was reduced to being one, his last year at Indiana, he didn't last very long. He was temperamentally suited to be an owner - George Steinbrenner at the height of his powers, Daniel Snyder now, Al Davis any time - but he didn't have the money or the corporate sense.
Feb. 2008, Tom Knott, Washington Times:
When it comes to dispensing offers that cause grown men to faint, no one is better at delivering them than owner Daniel Snyder. That is one of Snyder's principal qualities. He has a lot of George Steinbrenner in him in that respect.
Dec. 2008, Greg Bedard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Daniel Snyder, the George Steinbrenner of the NFL, isn't a patient man.
March 2009, Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Redskins fans have to love Snyder in the spring. It's the fall where they turn on him. Snyder bought the team 10 years ago. They made the playoffs that first season (1999), winning one playoff game. They've won one playoff game since. The Redskins had two winning seasons in the nine played in this century -- they were 10-6 in 2005 and 9-7 in 2007. At least when George Steinbrenner threw money at players, they won.
Nov. 2009, Thomas Boswell, Washington Post:
George Steinbrenner III needed 20 years to figure out baseball. What he finally decided was that he would never figure it out at all.Maybe Daniel Snyder, a different person in a very different sport, can reach the same conclusion with 10 years less pain.
At least Snyder and his Redskins have one advantage over the Boss and his Yankees: Steinbrenner went to three World Series and won two of them in his first six years as an owner. That success fooled him into believing he knew what he was doing.
In 10 years in the NFL, Snyder hasn't left a ripple. So, maybe it's dawning on him, as it finally did on Steinbrenner, that you can know an enormous amount about a sport and a team that you love and yet, after years of labor, still be essentially clueless.
That column was titled "What Snyder could learn from Steinbrenner." Apparently, lots of newspaper writers have been trying to teach Snyder those lessons. Or at least make jokes.
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