Over the past couple of years, SB Nation has run a series of polls under the FanPulse moniker. The polling has been expanded this year and includes a name change to NFL Reacts. There is a poll every week during the regular season, and at key points during the off-season that covers things like fan confidence in the direction of the team, the most exciting games each week, and a fan Pick’em where you get to predict the winners of every game on the schedule.
If you’d like to become part of the process, you can sign up to NFL Reacts by clicking here.
You’ll get a survey via email each week that takes just two minutes to complete.
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There will be additional articles later this week (and every week for the rest of the season), but this one will focus on the confidence of Washington fans, and how it has fluctuated from early in the year to this week.
Fans were asked how confident they are in the direction of the team.
At the end of the 2019 season, fans were given a big boost by Dan Snyder’s decision to dump Bruce Allen and hire Ron Rivera. It gave fan confidence a boost from the near-zero levels that were reached at the end of the ‘19 regular season, but not everyone was sold, as the confidence level landed at 55%.
Free Agency and the Draft both seemed to help fans feel better about the team, as confidence rose first to 78% and then to 90%. I suspect that Chase Young had a lot to do with that good feeling.
Just ahead of the regular season, fans seemed to be feeling pretty good about the Washington Football Team, with the confidence level measuring 80%, and it got a huge boost from the Week 1 win against the Eagles, as it jumped to the highest point in 2020 at 93%.
Four consecutive losses since then have taken their toll, with the confidence level falling to 55% before the announcement of Kyle Allen as the starter and the benching of Dwayne Haskins actually pushed the confidence level up slightly to 58%.
I was a bit surprised that the confidence level has remained at 55% this week (the third time this year it has been at that level) in the wake of the horrible all around showing against the Rams in Week 5. Hogs Haven fans are proving to be more resilient this season compared to the last two years, apparently still buying into the RivEra and Ron’s vision as an upgrade to the dysfunction that was the hallmark of the Bruce Allen lost decade.
Washington faces the heart of its schedule from Weeks 6 to 12 with a chance to redeem what has started out looking like a lost season. The upcoming schedule is:
- Week 6 @Giants (0-5)
- Week 7 Cowboys (2-3)
- Week 8 BYE
- Week 9 Giants (0-5)
- Week 10 @Lions (1-3)
- Week 11 Bengals (1-3-1)
- Week 12 @Cowboys (2-3)
With a combined record of 4-14-1, the opponents that make up the middle of the WFT season — with 4 of those games coming against division opponents — offer an opportunity that may underlie the confidence of the majority of fans who still believe in this 1-4 franchise.
By contrast, the combined record of our first 5 opponents is 16-8-1, with the four losses coming to four good teams with an overall record of 15-5 so far this season. The next six weeks, then, promise the chance to add to the win column by playing some of the league’s weaker and more injured teams.
Click here to see results from all of the 2020 NFL Reacts surveys
Click here to see results from all of the 2020 Hogs Haven Reacts surveys
Of course, a couple of losses to divisional opponents with Kyle Allen at the helm of the offense between now and the bye week could result in a dramatic erosion of that confidence.
For now, though, the Washington Football Team is one game out of the division lead, with the opportunity to jump into first place on Sunday and expand the lead a week later; Ron Rivera stands in stark contrast to Jay Gruden and Bruce Allen who preceded him, and it’s been a month or more since the Washington Post has published a devastating expose about Dan Snyder or horrible employment practices inside the organization.
We also still have the brights spots of people like Jason Wright and Julie Donaldson to hang onto for the moment. Dwayne Haskins may be home with the flu, but better things are (as they have been since 1999) just around the corner with Dan Snyder’s Washington NFL franchise.