D.C., Snyder working on secret deal to secure RFK site for an NFL stadium

D.C. officials are reportedly working on a secret plan with Republican Congressional leaders to insert a measure into the federal spending bill that would … do something for Washington’s NFL team owner Daniel Snyder in its efforts to build a new football stadium on the site of RFK Stadium, though it’s not entirely clear what, because “secret,” remember?

Developing the RFK site, which is on federally owned land along the Anacostia River, is politically fraught. The city controls the land only through 2038 under a National Park Service lease that states the land must be used for “stadium purposes” or “recreational facilities, open space, or public outdoor recreation opportunities” only, precluding commercial development.

According to one congressional official and a D.C. official, the language under consideration would extend the existing lease for 99 years and remove the recreation-only language, thus opening the site to other, commercial development.

On the face of it, that doesn’t sound like a huge concession from the feds — just giving D.C. more time and leeway over what to do with the land. But it also doesn’t seem to have much to do with a federal spending bill, and the whole behind-closed-doors aspect is suspicious as well, which is probably why the local advocacy group Greater Greater Washington is sounding the alarm about it.

As a reminder, the stadium Snyder wants to build would look like this:


In totally related news, it was revealed that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has negotiated a memorandum of understanding with the Department of the Interior to obtain federal land near National Harbor south of D.C. with the intent of possibly using it for an NFL stadium. This is certainly starting to look like it has the makings of a bidding war, and one where both sides’ bids are being helped along by the federal government to boot. But I guess who can put a price tag on snowball fights?

14 comments on “D.C., Snyder working on secret deal to secure RFK site for an NFL stadium

  1. I hope they have an overly dramatic final concert at RFK similar to Billy Joel at Shea.

    The Last Hooray at RFK or something of an equally cheesy name.

    • My money is on the Foo Fighters for that sort of show. They’re the last ones to sell out the place.

  2. So a ‘birds nest’ without the nest part? And the fans aren’t even translucent and none of them are wearing foam fingers…


  3. … and, a little off topic but, you know, shouldn’t GOP leaders be focusing their attention on some other massive crisis even closer to home?

    I mean, “take care of Dan Snyder’s income supplement for the next 35 years” really shouldn’t be job one for any of these guys in 2018 America, should it?

    • Never underestimate the parochial interests in local DC issues when it comes to members of Congress. The favorability of venues for events donors and lobbyists are keen to attend is something I’m sure they have interest in, especially for the not insignificant number who were just defeated and will in a few weeks become lobbyists themselves.

      • But surely the recently defeated will just enjoy the holiday (and pay increase) while they wait to resume their place in govt in 2 years…. it is essentially just a revolving door these days.

  4. Wow, that Maryland plan makes no sense in any way. National Harbor is nowhere near a Metro station so everyone would have to drive. But even more to the point, yes it keeps the team in Maryland…but barely. Even if you believe a stadium causes economic development of some sort, the site borders both DC and Virginia. It’s only feet into Maryland. Presumably any economic benefit would be split between the three jurisdictions while all the costs would be paid for by Maryland.

  5. So, I see in the headlines the Chargers knocked off Chiefs… does anyone know if there is a league plan on how to handle a potential AFC championship game hosted by the Chargers?

    It might be the one time there’s plenty of demand for tickets at the tiny stadium in Carson…