Dan Snyder's biggest mistake

Redskins owner Dan Snyder said he feels bad when the team disappoints the fans. Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder participated in a Washington Post panel discussion Tuesday along with other sports team owners in the area. He was asked by the moderator to identify the biggest bust during his tenure.

"You know," said Snyder. "I don't need to answer this. You all know."

I think it's a safe bet Snyder was referring to the $41 million in guaranteed money he plunked down on defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. Asked if it was hard to spend so much money on a "dud," Snyder had this to say:

"When you make a mistake, whatever the mistake, whatever the dollars are, you feel bad," said Snyder. "You were obviously hoping for the best.

"One of the things you try to do is, you're trying to make the right decision. You're trying to be supportive. You end up taking the entire blame in response and I understand that. That's fine. But the reality is the intentions are in the right place."

But it's tough to sell good intentions to a long-suffering fan base. The simple truth is that Washington has missed the playoffs in nine of the past 11 seasons under Snyder's watch. He's wisely turned all the football decisions over to Mike Shanahan, but it's not like that's going as smoothly as some of us predicted.

But you do get the feeling that Snyder's going to ride this out and try to give Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen every opportunity to succeed. That's not a statement you could have made about Snyder a few years ago, but I think he finally realized that his model was not going to work.

"When you look at what an owner goes through ... understand that we feel so bad when we disappoint the fans," he said. "And this season, you feel like you're close. And all of a sudden, maybe you falter a little.

"That's a difficult, difficult thing to go through. Obviously, you're trying to push for the future as best you can. But the beauty is you get ready for next season."

Something tells me Redskins fans might have trouble seeing the "beauty" right now.