Rick Snider: Ready for a look inside the Redskins' future

|
Sports,NFL,Redskins,Rick Snider
ASHBURN

It had that new indoor bubble smell -- like fresh tires on your car.

The Washington Redskins unveiled their new indoor practice facility Thursday along with throwback uniforms. The bubble was more impressive. The modern interpretation of the 1937 uniform features a darker burgundy jersey and light gold pants as a tribute to Sammy Baugh.

The white dome can be seen for miles rising from the Ashburn landscape. It's tall enough for punting. Goalposts hang at each end, and the new turf feels like velvet.

Players will never want to practice outside again -- rain or shine.

The bubble bursts any chance of the Redskins leaving Ashburn after recent flirtations from District and Maryland officials. Ultimately, D.C. government sources conceded that the District had no money to build a daily training facility on the former hospital site near RFK Stadium. Maryland's recent economic report about drawing the team to Bowie generated little buzz.

The bubble inspires thoughts of the next stadium, though. It has to be a dome.

The Redskins probably will return to the District in 2027 with a new stadium. FedEx Field was built for a dying owner who still didn't live to see it open even though it was constructed in a U.S. record 22 months. Following tens of millions of dollars in upgrades by owner Dan Snyder, it's still a sterile facility stuck in the suburbs.

Flash ahead 15 years. Gas will be so expensive many Americans will surrender their cars as a regular lifestyle. Tailgating will be a quaint memory. Mass transportation will dominate. The team needs to move downtown to access fans.

And it must be a dome. A dome would enable so many events to come to Washington, including the Super Bowl, Final Four, concerts and trade shows. That would help pay for the $1 billion-plus price tag of the facility. Jerry Jones has all those events plus Monster Jam at Cowboys Stadium.

Practicing inside won't be impractical if the Redskins play in a dome. It may even become an advantage.

Still, there's nothing like cold-weather practices to steel players for bad-weather games. Sure, coach Steve Spurrier once nearly canceled practice after he was freaked out by sleet as a sign of the apocalypse. But there's nothing like a raw, windy couple hours on the practice field to make a game seem easy.

Saying that a practice bubble might entice free agents to sign with Washington is a stretch. Free agents sign for money -- period. It's like the myth that larger weight rooms improve college recruiting. It's pure vanity.

Another long season is likely, but at least the Redskins can distract fans with new uniforms and a bubble.

Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or email rsnider@washingtonexaminer.com.

View article comments Leave a comment