Sep 8, 2023 - News

Commanders to kick off with new owners, new quarterback, and stadium perks

Head coach Ron Rivera (left) and new owner Josh Harris. Photo: John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Washington Commanders officially kick off a new era on Sunday.

Why it matters: The team's regular season debut is a BFD for Washington, with many fans hoping the new ownership brings a rebirth after more than two tumultuous decades under Dan Snyder.

What's happening: FedEx Field is sold out for the Sunday 1pm game against the Arizona Cardinals.

  • Fans can attend a season kickoff party Friday from 5pm to 8pm downtown in Franklin Park.
  • On game day, DJ Kool will perform a pregame concert, and beers start at $6.75 until kickoff, NBC4 reports.
  • Of note: For the tailgating crowd, parking lots open at 9am.

If you took a hiatus from Commanders fandom, we don't judge. Here's everything to know if you're a diehard, casual fan, or just looking to root for the home team again.

What to watch: The Commanders are in rebuilding mode. Newly named quarterback (and captain) 22-year-old Sam Howell will be under trial by fire when he leads the team out.

  • Co-owner Mitchell Rales was candid: "Let's be realistic: Do we have a great quarterback? We just don't know right now," he said in an interview Wednesday at the Economic Club of Washington. "We have a great kid, who wants to learn, and he wants to play hard and he has great intentions. But he's had one NFL start."
  • After suffering injuries, wide receiver Terry McLaurin and defensive end Chase Young hope to start on Sunday.

The venue: We're still stuck with an aging FedEx Field, but $40 million in upgrades from the new owners is more than just lipstick on a pig.

  • After feuding with he-who-must-not-be-named, celebrity chef and NoVa native David Chang is now coming to the stadium. The man who once made #snydersucks fortune cookies opened Fuku, serving a $20 spicy hot chicken that the Post has crowned as the best concession in the stadium.
  • Other new food vendors include DMV Crab Rolls, Hill Country BBQ, and DC Half Smokes.
  • Upgrades include a new sound system and video boards, ticket scanners, three new suites, branding imagery, maintenance, and a coat of paint.

Reality check: The franchise hasn't won a title since 1991. Its last playoff victory was in 2005.

The buzz: The new era is being celebrated far and wide. Virginia's Barrel Oak Winery and Brewery in Delaplane created a new "Hail To The Harris" IPA.

  • "We all realize that ultimately we have to deliver wins on the field," Harris, who vowed to attend every home game, told the Post.

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