Opportunity for a new Redskins rivalry to be built
The new NFL collective bargain agreement has been approved by players setting in motion labor peace until 2030. Among the many items of note is the move to a 17 games regular season starting in 2021. This means that there will be years where teams have one more home game every other year.
For NFL fans that is great news. You get an extra week of seeing your favorite team at home on those years. What some are overlooking in the early part of this news is how the NFL can leverage this extra game. This is an opportunity for the NFL to create new rivalries outside of the division.
There are teams in NFC that have a counterpart close enough that interconference rivalries can be built. You have the Steelers and Eagles, the Cowboys and Texans, and the Jets and the Giants. More importantly to those of us in the DMV area, we have the Redskins and the Ravens.
Just look north…
There is no denying that the Ravens have had a more successful franchise over the past two years while the Redskins have floundered and seen their fan base become apathetic. But, if I were Daniel Snyder, I would be advocating for a yearly game against the Ravens. This would continue to bring buzz back to the Redskins and keep fans engaged. It would allow for a true regional rivalry that could be as anticipated as a lot of the interstate college football games.
One item of note that NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay made on Twitter was that teams would be nine home games every other year. While that seems like it would be a good idea for most teams, both the Redskins and Ravens could add and twist to their series. Play the annual game at the Naval Academy.
The Naval Academy has proven they can host a professional game with the 2018 NHL Stadium Series. You would still have the importance of the rivalry with the pageantry of playing at a service academy stadium. It could even be schedule during Salute to Service week while highlighting the great work that both teams do with the local military cohort.
There would not need to necessarily be a question of ticket and vendor sales. You can still alternate who the home team is every year. This could also come with the option of having a certain percentage of sales going to the USO, IAVA, Wounded Warriors, or another military centered nonprofit. An added public relations boost for the Redskins, Ravens, and NFL all while doing something good.
This is a win-win for the Redskins and the NFL at large by continuing to find ways to build rivalries and engage with the military.