There was a time when Washington had such an enthusiastic fan base that not only was every game sold out, but the team claimed a season ticket waiting list 200,000 fans long. But that time has long passed.
In recent years, Washington has played in front of thousands of empty seats at FedEx Field, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Coach Ron Rivera hopes some of those fans who tuned the team out are interested again after last year’s surprise NFC East title.
“I think they’re curious. We’ve piqued their curiosity from last season, and we’ve got to get ahold of them,” Rivera said.
Rivera remembers watching and playing against Washington during its glory years, and he would love to be the coach who brings the Football Team back to that level.
“I’m telling you that this place can be special,” Rivera said. “It really can. With the fan base that this organization has had for years, being a team that started in 1932 with a lot of tradition and history with five world championships, three of them being Super Bowls under Coach [Joe] Gibbs. We want to be able to get those folks back in the stands and get them behind us. Last year we were a little bit fortunate because we started kind of slow and it was kind of nice not having fans at the time, but as we started to roll and started getting some momentum, it would have been cool to have those people there because again, I think we have piqued their interest. I think people are curious about who we can be and it’d be good. I mean, we’ve got a lot of good football players. We’re still learning and growing. We’re a very young football team and I’m really pleased with that because I think we’ve got guys in the right position and all they need to do is grow into it. Our goal and our intent is to get these folks interested and get them back into the stands and play some really good football.”
It’s probably going to take more than winning a bad division with a losing record to get the fans back on board, but Rivera did take a step in the right direction in 2020.