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Couch Slouch: No one does the ownership thing worse than Daniel Snyder and James Dolan

UPDATED: Mon., Dec. 16, 2019

Executive chairman and Madison Square Garden CEO James Dolan, second from right, hasn’t done much with the New York Knicks since his dad gave him control the NBA franchise in 1999. (Mary Altaffer / AP)
Executive chairman and Madison Square Garden CEO James Dolan, second from right, hasn’t done much with the New York Knicks since his dad gave him control the NBA franchise in 1999. (Mary Altaffer / AP)

Just before the turn of the century, two monsters of a new millennium were unleashed on the unsuspecting sporting communities of New York and Washington. Twenty years later, two franchises – the NBA Knicks and the NFL R*dsk*ns – have fallen from proud to pathetic, laying in waste in a rubble-filled puddle of dysfunction and defeat.

Today we bring you an overdue comparison of the presumptive worst owners in professional sports, the Knicks’ James Dolan and the R*dsk*ns’ Daniel Snyder:

How They Got There. To his credit, the 55-year-old Snyder, a college dropout, is a self-made billionaire (perhaps forever tainting the terms “self-made” and “billionaire”), parlaying his Snyder Communications marketing company into buying the Redskins in 1999 for $800 million. Dolan, 64, climbed the ranks the old-fashioned way – he is the son of Cablevision founder Charles Dolan, and his dad handed him control of the Knicks in 1999.

Team Records. Under Dolan, the Knicks have the worst record in the NBA in the 21st century, winning exactly one playoff series (2013) and missing the postseason the past six years. Under Snyder, the R*dsk*ns are 142-190-1, with a grand total of two playoff victories (1999, 2005 seasons).

Coaches. Dolan has had 13 head coaches in 20 seasons, including Herb Williams twice; he fired David Fizdale this month. Snyder has only had nine coaches in 20 seasons; he fired Jay Gruden in October, asking him to report to the R*dsk*ns facility at 5 a.m. to be told of his dismissal. (At least he beat traffic.)

Front Office Boo-Boos. Dolan hired Isiah Thomas as team president and subsequently hired him as head coach. Snyder first had Vinny Cerrato running the team, followed by Bruce Allen. If Thomas, Cerrato and Allen ran Bed Bath & Beyond, there would be no bath or beyond.

Business Hiccups. Dolan reportedly lost $250 million for Cablevision when he bought the failing Wiz electronics chain, which ended up in liquidation. Snyder seized control of Six Flags, taking it into bankruptcy four years later. Apparently, integrated circuitry and theme parks ain’t in these guys’ wheelhouse.

Customer Relations: After a fan yelled at Dolan to “sell the team” following a home loss in March, Dolan banned him from Madison Square Garden for life; he has attempted to bar individuals several times from Knicks games. Snyder once banned fan signs from FedEx Field (largely to eliminate embarrassing, critical messages), once disallowed pedestrian traffic into FedEx Field (largely to prevent fans from parking at a nearby mall to avoid stadium parking fees) and sued season-ticket holders who back out of long-term contracts (largely to extract more money from the serfs).

Media Relations. Both virtually never grant interviews. As part of a long-running feud, Dolan barred the New York Daily News from a post-draft press conference in June, incurring a $50,000 NBA fine. Snyder once sued the Washington City Paper and writer Dave McKenna for the greatest Snyder article ever penned, “The Cranky R*dsk*ns Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder,” before dropping the action in 2011.

Hobbies. Dolan is the frontman and guitarist for the blues-inspired rock band JD & The Straight Shot. Snyder is the owner of a $180 million superyacht that includes an IMAX theater, a basketball court and a helipad; it can accommodate several hundred passengers, coincidentally about the same number of people attending R*dsk*ns home games this season.

Temperament. They both have a bad temperament.

Conclusion: Who Is Worse? With cooperation from the Johns Hopkins Advanced Physics Laboratory and ESPN Stats & Info, we created a complex analytical model to deconstruct the two owners. And the results? Remarkably, the numbers indicate that, if Dolan and Snyder swapped franchises over the last two decades, the Knicks and the R*dsk*ns would still have the exact same records over that span.

Ask The Slouch

Q. Vanna White is currently pinch-hitting for the injured Pat Sajak. If you went on the D.L., who would peck away on the old Smith Corona? (Jack Drury; Cumberland, Md.)

A. Our one-month contingency calls for Toni to handle two columns, Shirley to handle one and Daisy – our 90-pound pit mix with a 25-word vocabulary – to handle the other.

Q. Does the Bureau of Engraving and Printing literally print money? (Dan Campos; Miami Beach, Fla.)

A. No. Scott Boras does.

Q. How can you explain the execrable Lane Kiffin getting his fifth head-coaching job? (Howard Freed; Mequon, Wis.)

A. I assume he interviews well.

Q. A la Le’Veon Bell, have you ever called in sick for work and then went bowling? (Tim Jones; Philadelphia)

A. No, but I opted to bowl on the second night of my second honeymoon, effectively ending the honeymoon.

Q. Are there any videos in the Patriots’ “Do Your Job” series that aren’t about cheating? (Mark Cohen; Gibsonia, Pa.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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