Virginia celebrates the Redskins
Several Redskins dignitaries went to Richmond this week to celebrate the team's 40th anniversary of Virginia residence. As luck would have it, they were entering the Richmond Marriott at the same time the George Mason basketball team was exiting the hotel to go destroy VCU, The Post's Steven Goff reports. You see, Mason and the Skins are fated to be partners.
Anyhow, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said quite a bit when discussing the Skins's history with his commonwealth.
"Not only is [Redskins football] marvelous entertainment, not only do we live and die with that Sunday afternoon Redskins game, but we also understand what you bring to the Commonwealth of Virginia," McDonnell said, via Redskins.com. "We know you have a D.C. link, we know you play on Sundays in Maryland, but we know you spend most of your time in Ashburn, Virginia. We're very grateful and excited about that."
I wanted to ding the governor for dismissing Washington as a mere "D.C. link." I mean, it's the Washington Redskins. But I guess he's right; no players live in the city, no games are played in the city, no offices are housed in the city. It's just a link.
And it turns out this isn't even new. I went back to some of the clips from 40 years ago, when the Skins first broke ground on their Dulles training facility. This is Bob Addie, writing about then-governor Linwood Holton:
Gov. Holton was quick to coin the "Virginia Redskins." Others thought Fairfax County Redskins or the Loudoun County Neighborhood Redskins would be just as appropriate....
It apparently means a good deal to the project to have the Redskins as tenants. Fairfax County envisions a tremendous real estate boom for the 500-acre site. Naturally real estate brokers, insurance people and bankers all are brought into the act....
Dulles is bound to come, and the Redskins, through their two new fields and their proposed administration building, are providing the publicity and glamor the area needs. That could be coach George Allen's first success because he birddogged the whole project.
And here's George Allen, quoted in The Post when the details of the location first became public.
"It is a wooded area," Allen said, "almost a forest. We will have seclusion...privacy to have good practices....This should have been done 10 years ago. This is one of the finest moves the Redskins ever made. We did it in Los Angeles. Everything is based on winning in 1972. To win, you have to have everyone under one roof so there are no distractions."...
Putting the Redskins out on a reservation will not be "Dullesville," Allen indicated. "We will have our front office, 17 meeting rooms, training room, general exercise room -- and sauna baths and handball and basketball courts. We have finally got a permanent home. The out-of-town players will want to live near there."
Things got even better in August, when the fields were yet to be completed.
George Allen, the benevolent overseer, bused his Redskins and Rams and Saints to Herndon High School yesterday and then brought them back to plant cotton at their unfinished fields near Dulles airport....They were summoned from the dressing room and the nearly threescore of them lined up in uniform in military formation on a goal line, facing the fields.
"All right, men," Allen said. "Let us look for holes in the ground and mark them with sticks for the groundskeepers to fill." Sonny Jurgensen scuffled into a quick lead and Mo Pottios was challenged to prove he could touch the grass without bending his knees. Charley Taylor finished first and signalled it by shouting, "Bingo."
It had to be a first -- employees with a salary average of $26,000 for six months moonlighting as landscapers."
Amazing. Anyhow, back to this week's event in Richmond. Bruce Allen said nice things about the future, and Shanahan, according to the team's site, also praised the relationship between state and team.
"I've really enjoyed my time in Loudoun County, Virginia," he said. "I didn't know that Virginia was all Redskins fans, so you live and learn."
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