Once a vibrant epicenter of sports and entertainment in Washington, D.C., RFK Stadium has been silent for years. However, the winds of change are starting to pick up, hinting at a possible resurrection of this iconic landmark as the new home of the Washington Commanders.
The Bill That Might Bring the NFL Back to RFK
In a significant development, Rep. James Comer, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is said to be crafting legislation that could clear the path for the District to build a new stadium or a mixed-use development at the RFK site. This could be a game-changer in Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s pursuit to return the Commanders to their home turf.
“As Chairman Comer mentioned at the hearing with D.C. Mayor Bowser, he is interested in working with her and the city on a wide variety of issues, including the RFK Stadium site,” the committee’s spokesman, Austin Hacker, said in a statement. “Committee staff continue to have fruitful discussions with the Mayor’s team and other stakeholders on these issues.”
The RFK Stadium site, which is currently under federal jurisdiction, has been a topic of discussion for several years. The existing lease between the District of Columbia (D.C.) and the National Park Service limits the use of the land to sports, recreation, and entertainment and is set to expire in 2038. The proposed legislation, not involving the sale of the land, has the potential to extend this lease and modify its terms, thus providing more possibilities for land utilization in the city.
The Commanders, who currently play their games at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, have been trying to get the process of building a new stadium underway for several years. If Comer’s legislation is successful, D.C. could become a strong player in this competition alongside Maryland and Virginia.
Navigating the path to this goal is not a walk in the park. The DC Council finds itself at a crossroads over the future use of the RFK site. The controversies surrounding the Commanders, including allegations of sexual harassment within the organization and financial impropriety, have added fuel to the fire.
However, the potential sale of the Commanders to Josh Harris has breathed new life into the quest for a new stadium. Comer’s decision to introduce a bill could sidestep previous legislative roadblocks and rekindle the conversation about the destiny of the RFK site.
Commanders management has expressed excitement about the possibility of returning to RFK, which holds significant sentimental value for the franchise and the fanbase. That said, it’s currently unclear what specific proposals are being considered to attract the Commanders back to the District, especially considering the city’s financial limitations and the needs of other professional sports teams in the area.
While we wait for the next step in how Comer introduces his legislation, it is evident that the future of the RFK site is a subject of great interest for both residents of Washington, D.C., and fans of the team located around the world. Returning to RFK is the chance to right a wrong done long ago. The problem is, achieving this will require careful negotiation, building consensus, and a shared vision for the future of the RFK site among a group of people who, up to this point, can’t agree on much.