Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera has his own personal Twitter account. While Rivera isn’t a heavy Twitter user, he knows what’s out there. As Jonathan Allen has explained, social media, specifically Twitter, is a toxic place and doesn’t often represent real life.
However, Twitter is a place where many Washington fans turn to while the Commanders are playing. Fans can vent to one another and even tag players and coaches in their tweets. I advise against tagging players or coaches in your angry tweets. That crosses the line.
If you’ve ever spent a Sunday afternoon on Twitter while watching a Washington game, it can be comical, realistic, depressing and enjoyable all in one. For fans who grew up with this franchise, they are 30 years removed from the end of Joe Gibbs’ first run as head coach. Since that time, especially over the last 22 years with Daniel Snyder as the franchise’s owner, Washington is one of the worst NFL franchises.
Fans have every right to be hurt, disappointed, angry and refuse to go to games.
During his Monday meeting with the media, Rivera was asked if he feels pressure from the fans after another bad start.
“Well, I’ll tell you right now, a lot of things that I do is not dictated to me by what’s out there on social media,” Rivera said. “I like to believe I’m responsible and I understand enough to know though, that the fans are gonna be frustrated. I don’t doubt that. I really don’t.”
The head coach is absolutely correct not to allow Twitter to dictate his decision-making. Rivera was far from done on the topic.
“I understand the history of what’s gone on here for a while, and we’re trying to change that, but it’s not gonna happen overnight,” Rivera said. “It’s not gonna be easy. If anybody thought it’s gonna be easy, they’re crazy. I honestly tried to get that across last season but let’s just be realistic about it. I get it, I understand it, and we’re gonna keep playing hard. That’s the only thing we can do until we get to the situation and to the point where we really believe that this is what we need. Everybody’s in place; everybody’s healthy; everything’s rolling. It’s not gonna change. We’re gonna continue to work hard and continue to try and mature and grow as a football team. This is gonna take time. It’s a process. Now, how much time do we have? That’s up to you guys.”
There’s a lot to unpack here. It’s good that Rivera acknowledges what Washington fans have dealt with long before he arrived. He mentions how he tried to tell everyone last year. He did, but to fans, that sounds like an excuse. Fans are tired of excuses. First, no one thought it was going to be easy. He said it wasn’t going to happen overnight. He’s right. But this is the third year of his regime. He picks the players. He picked the coaches. He picked all of Washington’s top personnel men. Surely, he can’t expect just to show up, buy new gear, invest their time and energy into a product that is getting worse.
Everybody is in place? Everybody is healthy? It’s not gonna change? Not sure about you, but those are some perilous statements if you’re a Washington fan. Some things better change. At 1-3, the current version of Washington’s NFL franchise doesn’t elicit a lot of hope. That’s not on the fans or the media.
“Like I said, I understand, I respect their, their frustrations as fans. I get it,” he said.
Here’s where fans struggle. The New York Giants have been a mess for years. General manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll come in as another new regime and have the Giants at 3-1. The Giants aren’t one of the NFL’s most talented teams, but they play smart and are coached well. Coaching matters. They compete. They play smart.
In year three of Rivera’s regime, the secondary is still blowing coverages like it was game one of year one.
Rivera is a good man. A good leader. But fans aren’t wrong for questioning him or the direction of the franchise.
Understanding how the fans feel is good, but ultimately it doesn’t matter. Fans are tired of being told things are going to change. It’s time for things to change.