There was a time when NFL stadiums were civic landmarks, standing proud for decade upon decade, palaces in which generation after generation came to worship at the altar of football.
Much like the leather helmet and the 225-pound lineman, though, the idea of an iconic stadium is apparently a relic of a bygone age. Now, stadiums have the life expectancy of hamsters, if hamsters had HD video screens and plush club-level seating. The latest team to start making noise about leaving its current cushy digs? The Washington Redskins, who play in 17-year-old FedEx Field, are considering a new stadium. Naturally, both Virginia and the District of Columbia are putting on perfume and getting their hair done to pretty themselves up for the football team.
“We’ve been looking at different options,” Redskins general manager Bruce Allen told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “As we’ve noticed with other NFL teams, it really is a 10-year process when you’re going to build a new stadium these days."
The Redskins' lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027. While it ranks second only to the Cowboys' AT&T Stadium in terms of capacity, FedEx Field has several knocks against it: fan-unfriendly sight lines, poor mass-transit access, and a field that may or may not have chewed franchise hero Robert Griffin III's knee into overcooked pasta last season.
As a result, both Virginia and D.C. are looking to lure the Redskins from their suburban Maryland home. The siting process the last time around was highly competitive, meaning that it'll almost certainly require plenty of public funds to lure the stadium to one locale or another. Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray have both taken a direct interest in the possibility of bringing the team in-house.
“We’d love that opportunity,” McDonnell said. “If the right group of business and government folks came together to make an offer, it could happen.”
Of note: According to the Washington Post, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder apparently began stadium discussions with D.C. all the way back in 2007, barely a decade after FedEx Field opened. Sweet heaven. Bottom line: if you want an NFL team, save the heartbreak and buy a dog. It'll be more loyal and it'll stick around longer, too.