The Washington Football Team has found an identity.
On Oct. 7, 2019, Bruce Allen infamously announced to the world “the culture is damn good in Washington”. On Dec. 30th, 2019, Bruce Allen was released from his duties with the Washington Football Team. On Dec. 31, 2019, Washington hired Ron Rivera as Head Coach and he was handed full control of football operations.
On Jan. 1, 2020, the culture was already better.
Now, on Dec. 17th, 2020, for the first time since 1992, the Washington Football team is establishing an identity. An IDENTITY! We’ve been screaming for this for decades.
Sure, in the early years of the Snyder tenure we had the big-name signings, but those guys weren’t Washington Football Teamers, and most of those players were past their prime, they had created a legacy in other cities. Yes, we’ve seen high-profile coaches come here, most notably Joe Gibbs when he returned for his second tenure, but even with that regime it never had a felt like this.
This moment right now, this feels different. And no, I’m not referring to the 6-7 record and “meaningful” December football of a mediocre team. We’ve seen this before, seen it plenty.
Culture is something you feel, it’s not tangible. When you’ve been stagnant and entrenched in substandard conditions for as long as WFT fans have, it’s easy to become apathetic. But when we see something different, something special, we know it! How? Because we’ve seen the deficiencies of poor leadership for far too long.
IDENTITY, man, that word gets me excited. IDENTITY, that’s what an expansion franchise in Baltimore has established in Baltimore the past two decades. Identity creates a culture within a franchise, standards that players must live up to. It’s the ideology of the organization that influences the types of players the team acquires.
Recently, Ike Taylor, the retired 12-year veteran defensive back of the Steelers appeared on the Washington Football Talk Podcast with JP Finlay. He talked about what it was like playing for the Steelers and how they drafted a certain type of player, they looked for toughness.
When they drafted Taylor, they told him he was drafted because he was a Steeler even though he’d never taken a snap. They knew he fit their player profile. He had a respect for his coaches (most notably dating back to High School where he called them “sir”). He was a team player and tough. Again, easy to say in a meeting room or interview, but those types of players show up on tape, it’s not lip service.
That mentality, that’s what I’m beginning to see in Washington. And that’s exactly what has me excited.