MIKE BURKE

Allegany Radio Corporation Sports

These are hands down the best days to be a Washington Commanders fan because there had previously never been a best day to be a Commanders fan until Thursday when NFL owners unanimously approved the sale of the team to the Josh Harris ownership group that includes Magic Johnson.

The future became suddenly bright for this franchise because the future does not include Dan Snyder, which has universally energized and delighted players, coaches — past and present – and, most importantly the fans, who have been beaten up and disregarded for the past 24 years after decades of being one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases in professional sports.

They’re all coming back now, and what’s more, so, too, is the alumni of this organization that has been missing from the picture for even longer than the fans have been, because Snyder, as though threatened by their presence because of his vast ineptitude and greed rarely invited the people who have been the history of this franchise to be part of the present day of it. Then, after a time, former players and coaches voluntarily stayed away because of the way the franchise had been run into the ground.

Maybe there isn’t a Super Bowl on the immediate horizon; but then, who knows? Maybe there is. That doesn’t matter, though, at this particular moment, because the pall of Dan Snyder that permeated the past physical and emotional health of this franchise and its base — even on what had been perceived as being the very few good days — is no more.

Already Magic Johnson is reenergizing the fan base as only Magic Johnson can. There is talk of another new team name and another rebranding. There have been pep rallies, there have been parties at area businesses and in just two days, season-ticket sales and business and party suite sales exceeded all of last year’s totals.

Truthfully, no team name is going to fully satisfy the base other than Redskins, and that’s taboo. Not only is it a racial slur (come on, it always was), but the District of Columbia long ago made it clear there is no chance for a possible stadium deal in the district for a team that carries that name; and, as everybody knows, the district has long been the desired site for a new NFL stadium ever since previous owner Jack Kent Cooke left it to build his monument to himself in the Maryland suburbs.

But first things first; there are more important matters at hand for the new owners to address first, such as building its front office on the business, community and football sides and getting the team ready for a season that is suddenly a lot closer than you might think it is. The possible renaming and rebranding are at least a year away, yet both Harris and Johnson, during their introductory remarks to fans, are the ones who brought it up, with Harris saying it doesn’t matter if he likes “Commanders” or not. What matters is if the fans like the name “Commanders” or not, and it’s been clear from the beginning that a majority of them do not.

It is an exciting time to be a fan of this franchise again regardless of the team name, for in just a matter of days, it’s already clear there will be more excitement and hope surrounding the team, the season and the future of the team, as well as the future of being a fan, than there has been for at least 20 years; and that’s important.

The Josh Harris group is everything that Daniel Snyder wasn’t as an owner. Harris ownership has a track record of building winning organizations in the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils, and the group is made up of D.C. business people who have a track record of giving back to the community and treating people the right way through their past business dealings.

And as we mentioned last week, Magic Johnson’s involvement is pure genius and huge. His confidence, his presence and, yes, his magic smile screams winning. A Basketball Hall of Famer and five-time NBA champion. Johnson owns pieces of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the MLS Los Angeles Football Club and the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks, and since 1979 has tended to be in places that seem to experience shifts to positive karma whenever he is in the picture.

That is no coincidence, of course, and if any sports franchise in the world could use a shift to positive karma, it is the NFL franchise that represents Washington, D.C. that doesn’t play, train or headquarter in Washington, D.C.

All of that will change in time, because this ownership will partner with the community, not lord over it. There is much to do, and much ahead, but already, it seems, in just a matter of days, that karma has shifted and the excitement and an invigorating new energy are in place.

This should be a lot of fun.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT