By Peter Galuszka

There’s something strange here: Virginia loses a major oil company and 2,100 high-paying jobs but we get to spend $6 million or more in state and local taxpayers money to keep the hapless Washington Redskins in the Old Dominion instead of Maryland and get them to practice a few weeks a year in Richmond.

The loss of ExxonMobil’s Fairfax office at a 118-acre campus is a big one. It had been part of Mobil, then-headquartered in Northern Virginia before it was bought by Exxon in 1998. The move closer to Exxon’s Houston center was perhaps inevitable but, coupled with coming defense cuts, it shows the lean times ahead for the state.

The headlines, instead, read of the great coup of jobs-conscious Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, who, while losing ExxonMobil, is spending big bucks to get the Redskins to stay in Ashburn and practice a few weeks a year in Richmond, which is not known for football and at the moment doesn’t have appropriate facilities to handle the Hogs.

Although McDonnell says he wants to keep budget spending tight, he is tosses plenty at the ‘Skins. The move involves $6 million in government money, including $4 million over two years from the state, a payment by Loudoun County of $2 million and $400,000 from Richmond.

Why so? Presumably, the public money is being used to keep heathen Marylanders and even worse people in the District from getting the Redskins who will still be headquartered in Ashburn.  The Governor’s office also says it would be useful getting the football team more exposure in Central Virginia and Hampton Roads. A few other reasons could include that McDonnell’s wife used to be a Redskins cheerleader and George Allen, a prominent Republican running for Senator, comes from a Redskins family. His dad used to be coach. Speaking on WRVA, McDonnell claimed that the Skins generate $200 million in revenue for the state and their loss would be a “huge economic hit” even though the half smokes, beer and nachos are sold at the Skins home stadium in Maryland.

The government money seems a lot to pay for intrastate marketing for a football team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2007. What’s more, there doesn’t seem to be a place for the ‘Skins to play in Richmond.

The University of Richmond uses a small stadium for its Spiders but the school hasn’t been asked about housing the Redskins for a few summer weeks. The much-larger Virginia Commonwealth University doesn’t even have a football team. The city’s baseball stadium, the Diamond, is so decrepit that the Triple A team associated with the Atlanta Braves moved to Georgia a couple of years ago. The city now has a Double A team but it, too, makes noises about moving because of the stadium.

So, there are a lot of questions about this Redskins play. There’s no question about ExxonMobil. It’s a big loss.

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  1. DJRippert Avatar


    I didn’t even catch the point about $2M from Loudoun County (I try to stay focused on the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond). However, at least the county will get some construction jobs as the Redskins renovate the practice facility. However, given NoVa’s penchant for allowing illegal immigrants to work on construction jobs I have to wonder if the City of Guadalajara might be asked to contribute to the “keep the ‘Skins in Va” fund.

    ExxonMobil was an aberration. It was never really clear to anybody why Mobil wanted to have its HQ in Fairfax. Maybe they were anticipating Virginia’s rise as the energy capital of the east coast. The job losses will be painful. However, we have a new approach for any abandoned land in Northern Virginia – we build a Metro stop there. I am happy to announce the ExxonMobil Memorial Metro stop on that package of land.

  2. DJRippert Avatar

    As for finding a “place to play” during spring camp – I wouldn’t sweat it. They only engage in scrimmages and few fans contribute to the Dan Snyder fund in order to watch the practices and scrimmages. Only a few are even open to the public. Richmond got duped.

    The reason that the Deadskins don’t want to keep summer camp in Loudoun is that Napoleon Bonaparte Shanahan (the Redskins diminutive head coach) wants the team away from home during the camp to foster “team bonding”. Kind of like when little kids go to sleep over camp in the summer.

  3. DJRippert Avatar

    Also, you are “one Allen short of a load”. You correctly note that the late, great George Allen, Sr was the former head coach of the Redskins. Regardless of what one might think of his sons, the original George was a helluva coach and a helluva guy. I don’t know what it is about fathers and sons named George – it seems the original is always better than the follow on.

    However, you forget an Allen – Bruce Allen. Bruce Allen, son of George,Sr and brother of George “Mecaca” Allen, is the General Manager of the Redskins. Meanwhile, he and little Danny Snyder are rumored to be big Republican fundraisers.

    Finally, when you go to see the Redskins practice (if you are hopelessly bored), do not sit in the reserved seats marked with “KB” on the back. Those are for the Koch Brothers and the bros don’t like people sitting in their seats.

  4. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Koch Brothers, huh? I’ll have to let Bacon know. He goes nuts when you talk about the Koch Brothers — that is — when he’s not foaming at the mouth over “underclass sex.”

  5. accurate Avatar

    Exxon already has a fairly big presence here, but Shell is HUGE. Looks (from down here) like Exxon wants to be as big a presence as Shell. Fine by us, the area around the new Exxon campus is booming. We actually LIKE jobs and the energy sector. We don’t tax them out of existance. And despite the heat, my move from Oregon was one of the better things to have happened to me. Go Texas.

  6. larryg Avatar

    Accurate… you can’t be serious about comparing Houston’s “weather” with Oregon’s weather.

    In Oregon.. you WANT to go out and bike, windsurf.. hike…. in Houston…ya’ll just hunker down inside where the AC is..and if you venture out the bugs will finish you off!


    “underclass sex”… now THAT’s a phrase!

  7. accurate Avatar

    Larry –
    I can say this because I lived over 50 years in Oregon. Where we proudly claim that there are two seasons, the rainy season and August. Quite seriously in Oregon you can go for 3 months without EVER seeing blue sky. It rarely rains really hard (which it does a lot in Houston when it rains) but it rains steady for two to three days without stopping. In Houston there are times (like right now) that when it rains, you feel like taking a bar of soap with you and showering up, right outside. In Oregon, it’s ALWAYS a cold rain which is raining on a cold day. You don’t know rain till you’ve lived in Oregon.

    One last item but very important one. In Houston we have jobs and a standard of living that one can afford (as a middle class worker); neither of those can be said about Oregon.

  8. larryg Avatar

    as they say…. youse pays your money and makes your choices…

    I LOVE you description of Oregon’s weather!

    Well Oregon ranks 24 on tax burden but Texas is down around 40 something.

    I used to live in Galveston a long time ago.. I remember a time when all the streets were underwater and rattlesnakes running amok.

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