You want to talk about stability? Take a look at the Super Bowl XLV participants, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers. Maybe the Washington Redskins can take note, and learn that it doesn’t take rash decisions and quick fixes to deliver success.

The Steelers and Packers can certainly attest to that gameplan. The Packers drafted their Super Bowl-starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers in 2005 despite having Hall of Fame-bound signal caller Brett Favre still wielding the pigskin at a high level. But good franchises always plan for the future, not for the present—another lesson for the Redskins.

Rodgers sat behind Favre for a couple of seasons, and the team eventually severed ties with one of the greatest quarterbacks in the franchise’s history in 2008. The move was bold, and came with plenty of controversy, but it was all part of a plan.

Three seasons later, Rodgers has a chance to match the number of Super Bowls Favre has won: one. The Packers could’ve kept Favre and traded Rodgers, a decision which might have satisfied the fans at the time, but crippled the future of the franchise. In other words, it was something Washington would have done.

The Steelers might be the epitome of sticking to the plan. They draft stars, remove themselves from bidding wars for overpriced players—remember Antwaan Randle El, ‘Skins fans?—and keep franchise cornerstone players. Despite the two black eyes that two-time Super Bowl-wining quarterback Ben Roethlisberger delivered to the franchise after back-to-back summers of rape allegations, the franchise held firm and held onto their man.

The result was an NFL-tying eighth trip to the Super Bowl and a chance at extending their championship trophy collection to seven. Considering that the Steelers franchise has had just three coaches since 1969—the Redskins have had three coaches since 2007—it’s no wonder the organization is so stable.

If you were to group the Redskins, Packers and Steelers, you might decide that the common denominator is history. All three franchises share great tradition, great fans and great history, but something has gone terribly awry over the last two decades. Green Bay is set for its third Super Bowl appearance since 1996, and the Steelers are set for their fourth since 1995. But the Redskins? Well, let’s just say they won’t be making the big trip anytime soon.

The blueprint for NFL success will be on display Feb. 6 for Redskins fans everywhere. Let’s just hope the franchise jots down a few notes.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO