Picking Splinters: Snyder, Mason & the Pack

With the Super Bowl approaching and March Madness heating up, it felt like the right time to dip into the magic mailbag. Here’s what came up this month.


According to the Washington Post, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is apparently preparing a lawsuit against the Washington City Paper for an allegedly defamatory article in November. Do you think that’s a smart move if the owner wants to clear his name against some of the misdeeds the City Paper chronicled, including skirting marking down premium tickets to skirt lobbying rules and selling nearly year-old bags of peanuts from a defunct company?


Idontwannagetsuedville, USA

No, I think it’s a terrible move. Look, the claims made by the City Paper may be disputable, they may even be inaccurate (though the City Paper told the Post it stands firmly behind the article),  but simply from a PR standpoint I believe a lawsuit is absolutely the worst move Snyder can make.

The knock against Snyder is that he is irrational and petty. Guess how a lawsuit against a fringe newspaper is going to make him look? The City Paper went bankrupt and was bought out by a hedge fund in 2009. Do you think they want to spend millions defending a lawsuit against an attorney that represented Conan O’Brien against NBC? No way.

But even if Snyder wins a possible suit, he’s simply doing more damage to his public image, once again showing himself as someone who cannot take criticism and behaves impulsively. If he really wanted to demonstrate that the charges leveled at him in the City Paper were erroneous, write an Op-Ed piece and distribute it to all the major newspapers in Washington refuting the claims line by line. Snyder should save his money for another contract bonus to an over-30 free agent in the waning years of his career.


How about George Mason? How about a little love for the Patriots? They’re looking like an NCAA Tournament team, aren’t they? What do they need to do to get there?

Jim L.


You’re right, Jim. The Patriots are in the midst of a stellar season. With a record of 17-5 and a 9-2 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association, Mason’s magic from 2006 could be rekindled with an NCAA berth. What do they have to do to get there? Win the CAA Tournament.

While their record is stellar, the Patriots’ Tournament profile isn’t that stellar. Yes, they’re No. 2 in ESPN Insider’s Mid-Major Power Rankings, but their resume is a little light in the “Big Wins” department. According to the RPI, the Patriots’ best win is against Harvard. There aren’t too many teams that earn a bid to the Big Dance by merely beating the Crimson.

The Patriots’ next best shot for an eye-opening win comes Feb. 5 against Old Dominion (RPI of 31). And if they want any hope at an at-large bid, beating Northern Iowa (RPI of 51) in their Bracket Busters game is a must as well. But I’d still say an at-large bid is a long shot, even with the expanded field.

My best advice to Jim Larranaga? Get your team ready for tournament play. Fortunately, I think he knows a thing or two about that.


Who do you like in the Super Bowl? Packers or Steelers?

Vinny Pots and Pans


Simple question, so I’ll give you a simple answer Vinny. Channeling the spirit of Paul, the World Cup-predicting octopus, I’m going with the Packers. Bada Bing, Betty Boop, take it to the bank.

Okay, you actually want a reason? I think the Packers receivers are going to be too much for the Steelers to handle on the fast artificial track in Dallas. And I think the Packers’ defense will come storming through the Steeler line so often Big Ben Roethlisberger will never have time to get his feet set. I don’t think Pittsburgh can keep up if the scoring goes skyward. But this is also coming from a guy who regularly gets beat by his wife in NCAA Tournament pools, so take it with a grain of salt.