There are more messes in Washington DC than a clean up call on aisle four after a kid knocked over a display of glass grape juice bottles. But, we’ll just focus on one, DC’s football team.
The Washington Redskins have a proud tradition that has been tarnished for the last two decades under the misguided leadership of Daniel Snyder. During the first ten years as team owner, Snyder spent money like a drunken sailor on shore leave while trying to find the free agent acquisition that would return the Redskins to the glory days enjoyed by previous owner Jack Kent Cooke.
For his free spending, the Redskins attracted more problem children than the local detention center. Big spending on free agents like Deion Sanders, $56 million after his career with Atlanta, San Francisco and Dallas provided all his successes. Adam Archuleta, $30 million that made him the highest paid safety in history and a bust on the field.
Jeremiah Trotter, $36 million for an All Pro who turned into an all disappointment when in two seasons he recorded only 1½ sacks, or in financial terms, $27 million per sack. Jeff Geroge was a bust every stop he made, but none was worse than what he gave the Redskins after signing an $18 million contract … nine interceptions against only seven touchdown throws.
Bruce Smith earned his Hall of Fame credentials while a key player on four consecutive AFC Championship teams with the Buffalo Bills. But, after his skills had eroded, Snyder signed him to a $23 million deal to close out his career. Another defensive linemen, Albert Haynesworth, dipped into Snyder's bank for $100 million only to criticize coaches and game plans a lot more than he made tackles.
In 2006, Snyder signed Brandon Lloyd to a $31 million deal, which produced 25 lifetime catches in a Redskins uniform and no touchdowns.
This list of disasters makes you wonder how Snyder ever succeeded in business to gather enough money to buy the team. But he did. Which illustrates in emphatic terms that being a successful business man does not necessarily translate to being successful running a football organization.
This week, Snyder fired his head coach for a seventh time, sending the longest running coach during his tenure out the door. Jay Gruden was in his sixth year as Washington’s head coach before his fifth straight loss, 33-7, to the New England Patriots last Sunday was the final straw in Snyder pulling the plug.
How bad is it in Washington?
Yet, the Redskins are a road favorite on the point spread this week. A team in disarray and with an interim coach is favored on the road? Did their opponent promise not to show up? Or just how bad is the team Washington meets this week?
Do we have to tell you given they are home underdogs to a Washington club that only once this season avoided losing by double-digits? Well, this bad, the host for the Redskins matchup this week is the Miami Dolphins, who lost two weeks ago to the Los Angeles Chargers by 20 points, 30-10, in their closest defeat of the season. Their other three losses were by 49 points, 43 points and 25 points.
How bad are the Dolphins?
For the past twenty years we have kept a stat at Qoxhi Picks that places a value on a team’s point spread. It can serve like a golf handicap, assigning each team a point spread price number for their current opponent. An average team will have a point spread price of 70. A superior team, one that is likely to contend for a berth in the Super Bowl come January, will hit triple digits, while a horrible squad will drop into the 30’s.
The Redskins have a point spread price this week of 38, their opponent, the Dolphins, the lowest we have ever seen since first developing this chart more than two decades ago, 12.
A good friend of mine and longtime client is a huge Dolphins fan, has season tickets and follows them on the road. He called me on Monday and said, “I bought the Dolphins up to four points.”
In other words, he took the 3½ point underdog role the Dolphins currently have, and paid more while betting on them by buying a ½ point for 10% additional vig.
The NFL is full of great fans; men, women and children that stick with their teams through tough times. While I salute their loyalty, I also suggest they don’t allow their allegiance to rob their pocketbook. And for those that think an extra half point is the trick to turn Miami into a winner, I suggest that what may be the remedy is more likely a visit from Daniel Snyder’s team.
But I wouldn’t bet on it.