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Josh Harris Ushers Washington Football Into a New Era

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (left) and new Washington Commanders’ owner Josh Harris (right). Photo courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn.

The Washington Commanders owners approved the sale of the team from former owner Dan Snyder to businessman Josh Harris and Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson.

Snyder’s 24-year reign as owner was filled with scandals and off-field drama that hindered the team and franchise as a whole. With Harris at the helm, the Commanders look to head into a new era as they start the 2023 NFL season 1-0 after a Sep. 10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

Washington gave up six sacks, while new quarterback Sam Howell had a 77.6 passer rating (league average was 85.2 according to Pro Football Reference). It wasn’t the most ideal way to start off the season, given the Cardinals are anticipated to be arguably the worst team in the league. Still, Commanders fans were happy to not walk away from FedEx Field with a loss. Marcel Jones, a Howard University student and Commanders fan, said, “Okay, we’re actually moving up now cause that’s the first win after the new ownership. That’s big, you know, that’s really big.”

Tyrell James, another Commanders fan at Howard, shared “The Commanders have had some rough past years. I mean, talking with the bad ownership, your name having to be changed, that took a hit on the team.”

He celebrated the team win in spite of the Cardinals’ low expectations.

“Right now with a newly built team, I don’t care who they were,” James said. “If they were the Cardinals, they just beat a team that was already kind of well rounded together, and they won.”

This win in the season opener was an incredible deal to Commanders fans as they won their first game under new ownership.

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For 24 years, the Washington franchise has been in headlines for multiple scandals such as sexual harassment in the work place and financial mismanagement. Their on-field product struggled as a result, evidenced by the presence of only two playoff wins in that span. Now, Harris has the team looking like a new franchise. They started by ending the Ravens’ 24 game preseason win streak at home. The fans were excited even in preseason as it displayed the grit and determination the franchise can show in this new era.

 The Commanders are starting the season 1-0 with a 20-16 win against the Cardinals. The defense recovered two fumbles and Howell threw for 202 yards and scored both a rushing and passing touchdown as the franchise seems to be starting the season off on the right foot. Despite other fans downplaying the win, Tyrell James said that “If you got haters, you doing something right.” 

Still, head coach Ron Rivera emphasized the need to play better.

“Believe me, I’m happy as hell we won,” Rivera said at the Sep. 10 press conference. “But we’ve got to play better, we really do. Because again, we’ve worked hard, we’ve done things the right way. But details, we’ve got to be better with those.” 

Copy edited by Jasper Smith

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