Washington commanders have bought hundreds of acres of land in Prince William County, Virginia, ESPN’s John Kim reported, citing an unnamed source with knowledge of the purchase. Keim reports on ESPN that the land is in the town of Dumfries; JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington Says it’s in Woodbridge. Whatever the case, the idea is that the land could be used as a future stadium site, as well as, perhaps, serious bogie chain-retail encroachment usually associated with the development of a new playground.
Most likely it is a leverage move of the franchise. Commanders have been seeking a new stadium deal from various DC-area municipalities, including the city of DC, for years; Land for a stadium in Virginia seems to have been bought, or may have been bought, perhaps to intimidate one of those municipalities and offer a sweet deal, lest it be lost. Commander fans who live within the Capital Beltway অর্থাৎ that is, those who live in the actual city whose names the Commander bears and markets-and in Maryland they hoped it was just a bluff, anyway. Otherwise they will never see their puppy professional football team in person.
It is not enough to tell you that Woodbridge is 23 miles from downtown Washington DC and Dumfries is 32, or they are about 12 and 20 miles, even south of the nearest point. Capital Beltway, or similarly 12 and 20 miles from the nearest stop on the DC metro rail system, respectively. Even for those unfamiliar with the metropolitan DC area, these annoying Google Maps images do not paint a complete picture.
The important thing is that these are not just (many) miles. In northern Virginia these (many) southbound interstates are 95 miles. This damned United States has a strong contender for the worst stretch of the road title. Do you see red and yellow along the highlighted route from DC to Woodbridge or from DC to Dumfries? It represents an all-day, all-night, year-round parking lot. I would say that different highway authorities can go exactly the same way and paint the actual blacktop red and yellow, only there is no part of that stretch of highway that is not covered by lazy automobiles. Anyone trying to get out of town on a summer beach vacation can tell you that Beltway drivers can head south to I-95 at Springfield’s infamous Mixing Bowl Interchange. Before sunrise, on a strange Saturday, Cooling an average of 15 miles per hour for the next three hours of their journey, and they would die before the sun cleared the tree tops on their left. Those who live in DC and must take an I-395 to get to the Mixing Bowl can hang a mailbox from the side of their car. Woodbridge could also be Bermuda. Dumfries can be France as well.
A typical NFL game lasts three hours. A huge parking lot is then entered and exited (especially if, for example, the stadium is many miles away from the nearest public transit stop on a densely populated interstate highway, for which virtually all attendees have to drive their car in and out). Driving the football stadium from the city to the two-hour stop-and-go nightmare highway that is the population center of its fanbase (saying nothing about being the team’s nominal home) means transforming it into any sport, at least for all those willing to participate. The thing is, if not the long trip directly to the weekend. Near Woodbridge! Near the dumpster! I don’t want to bag in these totally subtle or somewhat particularly brutal places, but no reasonable retail mall is going to make it an attractive prospect for someone who lives, for example, Falls Church, VA, and already can’t do it. Drive the distance from one side of this paragraph to the other in less than half an hour, to say nothing of getting all the way to drive Woodbridge crazy.
I really can’t stress enough how impossible it is for any ordinary person living in the city of DC or the state of Maryland অথবা or any of the relatively suburban DC suburbs on the Potomac River in Virginia — to make a routine of going to Woodbridge or Dumfries, sometimes. Even a perennial successful and good Washington commander team to see in person. This simply does not happen! The Pittsburgh Steelers banking on the large amount of game-day attendance of people living in Philadelphia, say, is not expected to be so different from this. It would be like the Texans building a new stadium in rural Oklahoma, and hoping that a nearby Rockin ‘Applebis would bring a lot of game traffic from Houston.
Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorly in Washington. Just as likely, they are highly skeptical because anyone within the commanding body sincerely wants the purchase from DC Mayor, Muriel Bousser, as anything other than a lever for a stadium deal. In doing so, Bousser himself should have reason not to feel any particular pressure: this is tantamount to Dan Snyder holding a gun to his own crutch and threatening to shoot if he doesn’t get what he wants.
But also, it’s a dumb organization in American sports. Maybe they really want to build a stadium there.