The Redskins have been statistically eliminated from the playoffs, a bit earlier than they were the previous two seasons, but nonetheless, they will watch the postseason on TV for the eighth time in the past 10 seasons.
As has been mentioned several times, most notably by Dan Steinberg, who compiled very scientific data using the city’s two competing sports radio stations at the beginning of the season, there hasn’t been much excitement surrounding the Redskins recently.
In previous iterations of Dan Snyder’s Redskins, the main reason to talk burgundy and gold was the hilarity in the team’s blunders; the team has been relatively scandal-free since the disastrous firing of Scot McCloughan, and the Kirk Cousins storyline appears to have been played to death, at least for now.
So when the team was eliminated from the playoffs, nobody seemed to really care very much. Attendance at home games plummeted — Steinberg exchanged a candy bar for a ticket to Sunday’s game that originally sold for $135 — but it really just kind of feels like people are losing interest.
Maybe that’s due in part to the underwhelming NFL season the league has endured, with the terrible quarterback play and myriad injuries to star players, but things just feel different.
In lieu of Redskins postseason dreams, what do fans of the team turn their attention to? Or does their attention leave at all? What do the fans want to see?
I didn’t know, so I asked. I posed four questions to the Twitterverse, each with a one-hour response window, on Monday night. Here’s what you said:
Nearly half of the 209 respondents said they were less interested in the NFL as a whole now that the Redskins have been eliminated, while just 14 percent say they’re more interested in other teams and games.
I have no historical data to compare this to, and I don’t really know if Redskins fans usually turn their attention to the competitive teams in the league once Washington’s season is over, or if they instead give up on football until the playoffs or until the offseason kicks into gear.
So I approached from a different angle.
There are two sides to this one. On the one hand, 49 percent of the 212 respondents say they’ll watch the final two Redskins, which are completely meaningless aside from determining draft position (and one assumes they’ll watch in hopes of a win). On the other hand, 37 percent say they won’t watch, and 14 percent say they’ll only watch out of spite — hate-watching counts for ratings, but it’s not great for the fan connection.
If they’re not watching the Redskins, what are those 51 percent watching?
Furthering the unfortunate reality that Washington simply doesn’t care about the Wizards, 39 percent of respondents said they’d start paying more attention to the Capitals and 26 percent are already looking ahead to the Nationals season, which doesn’t start for more than four months.
Meanwhile the Wizards are a game out of fourth place in the East despite having played most of the season either without John Wall or with an injured John Wall, but here we are.
It’s a good thing that Washington fans are expanding into other sports. The Capitals, Nationals and Wizards are all objectively better than the Redskins, they’re better run, they’re infinitely less dysfunctional, they’re more fun to cheer on, and a postseason run, even a short one, is the expectation, not the pleasant surprise. But I digress.
Going back to that fan connection, how can the Redskins get the fans back onboard?
This was the one that really got people worked up. Nearly 50 percent more people responded to this poll than any of the other three, and others started chiming in with their own responses, which got a little weird.
At least in the voting, the fans got it right.
“Fire Bruce Allen” was the overwhelming favorite, snagging 53 percent of the vote, while “re-sign Kirk Cousins” picked up a healthy 36 percent. THESE ARE THE CORRECT OPINIONS TO HAVE.
Bruce Allen is bad for the team. Kirk Cousins is good for the team. It’s not that difficult. (No, I didn’t list “Snyder sells the team” as an option, because I was hoping for some variance in the responses.)
The option of letting Cousins walk received just 8 percent of the vote, which was a bit surprising to me, and firing Jay Gruden received a mere 3 percent — even more of a shock to me. What’s bizarre (read: not even a little bizarre) is the fans voted in what is probably the exact opposite order of what the Redskins will do.
The fans want Allen gone, Cousins re-signed to a long-term deal and Gruden to stay on as coach. Instead, the likeliest scenario might seriously be Gruden and Cousins are shown the door while Allen stays on to hire another coach and search for a new quarterback.
This team is truly remarkable.
Now, to the replies! *swigs whiskey*
No More Snyder
There’s not a football fan alive that didn’t see this coming.
Yeah, what about those things?
That’s what’s been holding them back!
This is actually a very good answer.
True, true, an “OK quarterback” has never won a Super Bowl before. Shoutout Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer, Joe Flacco, Jeff Hostetler, Mark Rypien and Doug Williams! (Using just those six quarterbacks, and there are others who could be considered “OK” — hey, Eli Manning — more than 17 percent of the Super Bowls in history have been won by “OK” quarterbacks.)
No reason, THEREALMASONMAN, no reason at all.