"Dan Snyder Destroyed the Reputation of This Franchise"

Jack Kent Cooke's son isn't Dan Snyder's biggest fan

By Chris Needham
|  Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009  |  Updated 12:45 PM EDT
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Sack Snyder!

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Snyder's certainly glad he had an extra $50 million laying around.

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Former Skins owner Jack Kent Cooke's son, John, isn't happy.  He, like just about every other person who lives within four hours of the Potomac, thinks that Dan Snyder is killing the Redskins -- the team he grew up to love.

Cooke, in an interview with the Post, said, "Dan Snyder destroyed the reputation of this franchise. I sure as hell don't like the way he gutted the organization after we left. And he commercialized the Redskins like my father would have never commercialized the Redskins."

Sounds like someone got turned down for his Redskins MasterCard.

Cooke clearly has a lot of love for the team, and the profile points out that he surrounds himself with relics of the glory days of the Skins.

On the roof of the cottage is a bow-and-arrow-toting Indian, a rusted-steel weather vane gifted to his father by George Preston Marshall, the original owner of the Washington Redskins. Same with the cigar-store Indian beside the door, "which I think George Halas gave to Marshall," John Kent Cooke said.

"At least that's the story dad always told me," Cooke said, sizing up the kitschy figure. The first football snapped at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium -- now FedEx Field -- is on a bookshelf, above the chess set depicting the Redskins and Denver Broncos before Super Bowl XXII. Needlepoint coasters, each representing a 50-year arc of the team's helmet design, line the desk

Cooke also talks about how he talked his father out of firing Joe Gibbs in his rookie season with the Skins.  The Skins were 0-5 (even Zorn can beat that!) and Jack Kent Cooke wanted to bring George Allen back.

"And I said, 'Oh God, dad, you can't do that -- all hell will break loose!' " Cooke recalled. "He thought about it. And he decided not to do it. And then, all of a sudden, Joe starts to win. And starts to win in an exciting way, throwing the ball down the field. Then lo and behold, there were 12 wonderful years for all of us."

Cooke's real regret is that he wasn't able to keep the team in the family.  He was able to put up a competitive bid, but fell $50 million short of the price that Dan Snyder's group bid.  Oh, what could've been. 

Would he have been a good owner?  Perhaps.  Certainly no worse than Snyder.  Former GM Bobby Beathard thinks he might, telling the Post, "I think he learned so much from his father [that] John would have been a great owner."

If you've got a time machine and $50 million laying around, we could certainly find out.

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