The fans' ticket tenacity has created legal, moral and ethical dilemmas. The Redskins see the tickets as leased property on which renewal rights can be claimed by a survivor in the immediate family, should the holder die. Their custody can be hard-fought. "In divorce cases," says Redskins spokesman Ronn Levine, "the Redskins tickets are right up there with the kids and the house."
In July an Alexandria, Va., circuit court had to decide the case of a mother who was suing to make her son return the family's season tickets, which she claimed he had stolen. After the son had said he would go to jail rather than give up the tickets and appeared headed for the slammer, Ma relented, although she had already won the case. Well, sort of relented. She will let her son use two of the family's five tickets.
The Redskins ticket staff—three hardworking souls in a noncomputerized office—keeps busy "counting, perforating and stuffing the tickets into envelopes." And every week it adds new names to the waiting list.
I whiled away several summer hours scouting this season's scalpers' prices. End-zone seats are running $100 each per game, and the price goes up roughly $2 a yard to the $200 seats on the 50-yard line. Add 25% if the Redskins are playing Dallas or San Francisco. Perhaps I should buy just one of those cheap seats behind the photographers and, like that fan from Maryland, poke around the rafters of the stadium for someplace where a few new seats might be wedged. It's my only hope.
The 353-year wait is growing. This year, every single season-ticket holder renewed. "And so," ticket manager Barton sighed, "no one moved off the waiting list. Absolutely no one."