Fans of the Washington Football Team know all about expectations.
After they finished first in the abysmal NFC East last season and gave the eventual champion Buccaneers all they could handle in the playoffs, analysts and pundits throughout the industry anointed Washington as the team to beat in the division.
Some pundits, including ESPN radio host Mike Greenberg, proclaimed Washington as a darkhorse candidate to represent the NFC in this year’s Super Bowl when he likened them to the 2019 San Francisco 49ers.
Greenberg jumped ship just a few weeks later, but the premiss is the same: almost everyone had high hopes for Washington this year.
Of course, Washington hasn’t come close to meeting those expectations. Through five weeks, they might be the NFL’s most disappointing team this side of the Kansas City Chiefs, who they’ll meet at FedEx Field this weekend.
Speaking of falling short of expectations, Ron Rivera appeared on 106.7 The Fan on Tuesday and made some truly unhinged comments.
Seriously, look away, Washington fans.
Washington head coach Ron Rivera made regrettable comments about the team’s expectations for this season.
Yikes. This is an all-time bad response from Rivera.
To translate, Rivera is saying that Washington should’ve intentionally lost the division, gotten a better draft pick instead of No. 19 overall, and avoid getting matched up against four of last seasons’ division champs this year.
We know that would never happen — and Rivera probably didn’t mean it come off like this — but he’s essentially rooting for the easy way out. To hell with your young roster getting to host a playoff game against Tom Brady, right? Why play the NFL’s elite when you can feast on the basement-dwellers?
Additionally, this is a damning indictment both on his team and the job he’s doing as the leader of the locker room. Regardless of the sport, the best teams are ALWAYS the ones who are hit with abnormally high expectations each season and still find a way to live up to or exceed them.
An extreme example would be the Patriots, who went to nine Super Bowls and won three of them during the Bill Belichick-Brady era. A more recent example would be the Chiefs, who went to the AFC Championship Game in Patrick Mahomes’ first year as the starter. From there, they went to back-to-back Super Bowls.
While Kansas City has started off slow, we’d bet on them to be one of the last few teams standing when all is said and done. This is just such a defeatist’s attitude from Rivera. Insinuating your team can’t handle high expectations is — intentional or not — a direct shot at your team’s mental fortitude.
We don’t doubt that Rivera regrets making these remarks. If you dig deep enough, you can understand the point he’s trying to make. However, it’s an unwritten rule of coaching that you don’t go on a local radio show and feel sorry for/make excuses for your underachieving team.
We’re talking about a storied NFL franchise with five championships (three Super Bowls) on its resume, not some sorry FBS program that celebrates wins as if they just defeated Alabama in the National Championship Game.
We still believe in Rivera as a head coach, but there will be fans who turn on him after they stumble across this abomination of a quote.