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Last year's ranking: 86
Title track: 54
Fan relations: 105
Stadium experience: 112
Bang for the buck: 116
What's in a name? If you've been paying attention, apparently everything. Washington's nickname controversy finally boiled over this past year, with everyone from Gene Simmons to Supreme Court justices to the POTUS chiming in as the issue became a topic of debate in the United Nations, an answer to a "Jeopardy!" question and a punch line in a WWE broadcast. An issue that truly spans the public consciousness.
If there were any silver lining to the maelstrom, it's that it may have covered up just how dysfunctional the team was on the field last season: Fans were forced to deal with a crippling love triangle between their QB, coach and owner. Mike Shanahan resented Daniel Snyder's special treatment of Robert Griffin III. Meanwhile, RG III didn't think the coaching staff believed in him. And, while the QB was benched for the last three games of the season, many speculated Shanahan was doing it to force Snyder's hand and fire him so he could collect the estimated remaining $7 million on his contract.
Not surprisingly, this affair had a tragic conclusion. Washington was outscored by 144 points, collected only three wins (its lowest since 1994) and lost its last eight. A Virginia CVS started advertising Kleenex specials to football fans, and when Washington came out for the second half in Week 14 down 38-10, FedEx Field was practically vacant. Figure in $50 parking, $6 hot dogs and $9 beers ... and you have a fan base that's not getting its money's worth. So, while the team name may be drawing fire from a segment of the public, the team itself isn't exactly helping its image.