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Thursday Explanations: Rivera’s Draft Prowess Benefits with Each Win

Because Friday explanations are a TOTALLY different kind of explanation.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Since we kicked this week—and this show—off with a discussion on why rooting for losses is silly, I figured we could mop it up on the back end of the week. We spent a little time on it on this week’s show:

First, there is a difference between finding the positive in a losing season and rooting for a losing season. We are all within our rights to find solace in a higher draft slot after a miserable sixteen-game campaign...but only after. If you wake up on Sunday morning and actively root for your favorite team to lose, that’s an entirely different beast. Do you put on your Sean Taylor jersey when you watch that game? Are you even watching the game at all? Are you tuning in and actively rooting for our opponent each week? I know some people who do. I think it’s insane. At that point, I think you are no longer really a football fan, as much as you are a front office/offseason maneuvering fan. You don’t actually care about the game as much as you care about the machinations behind the curtains. Just say that and we can dip our chips in different bowls. To those...ahem (he knows who he is!)...who choose to Monday morning quarterback this debate and ask if I would have preferred more wins last season or Chase Young, you still don’t get it, sir. There aren’t two separate paths we “could have taken.” There’s just what happened. It’s one path, and it led to Chase Young. I rooted for a win every single week last year...and I still got Chase Young. See what I mean? You rooted for losses, and you might argue that you “won,” but what did you really win? You actively rooted for bad things to happen to a team you claim to love.

I think it bears mentioning that some people who grew up fans of the team are now actively rooting against the team because of Dan Snyder. On THAT, I will find zero fault. I feel that angst and anger and I want to make sure I am keeping that separate here.

Secondly, the Washington Football Team did not need anyone’s help losing games. We were pretty good at it already. Whether you rooted for the losses or not, the losses piled up—because we were bad.

Ugh...I am ready for the comments section to be full of folks telling me that I don’t get to define what being a fan is for each person. Fine. I am not doing that...for you. But for me, a fan doesn’t get out of bed, turn on the TV and hope for the worst. You might expect the worst. You might understand the futility of hoping for something that is insanely unlikely to happen, but what do you do when our team beats a team it hasn’t beaten in about 30 years? Are you telling me that going on the road and beating an undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers team gave you no satisfaction? Were you disappointed that we won, because it hurt our draft chances?

I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Root how you want to root, but know this: the joy of winning is felt differently by those who put their heart into the effort, their passion into the effort. Those of us rooting for wins are invested FAR differently in the Washington Football Team than those hoping for better draft picks. And that isn’t about who is a better fan. It’s about me trying to help people reach the same high as the rest of us. You can’t possibly experience the same joy of victory if you were rooting for a loss. You just can’t. It’s impossible. I don’t want that for you. I want you to share the same euphoria when we make the playoffs that I feel, but if you were hoping for a losing season because you wanted Trevor Lawrence of Justin Fields, you are locked out from the penthouse floor of that euphoria, or the “euflooria” as it were.

So, in summary: be your own fan, by all means. But don’t expect to get the full payoff from watching a team grow up right in front of your eyes in the midst of a ridiculous season when we take this division and put some fear in the hearts of a first-round opponent. You lock yourself out of that when you root for losses.

Finally, the hidden bonus of drafting in the middle of the first round next year is that it will give Ron Rivera a lot of tantalizing options. Instead of being dared not to pick one of the top quarterbacks, Rivera can look long and hard at adding a “Rivera” kind of player, which could very well take the shape of a stud middle linebacker. I don’t think for a second that Rivera wouldn’t consider putting his guy behind that defensive line and stepping up this defense even more. That isn’t to say there won’t be more pressing needs, or better players available, but since we hired Rivera to be the head coach, I have grown more and more excited about him as a guy who will wield a heavy hand in the draft process as long as he is here. I believe that no matter where he drafts in the first round, Rivera will find a guy he believes in as much as he believed in Chase Young. I say this because I know that the name Rivera writes on that card will be someone he knows can come into his locker room and not just fit in, but excel. Anyway...just thought all of this needed just a little bit of explaining...

Check out the show every Tuesday night around 8:30 PM EST. Subscribe for free here and join the conversation, and then come back here on Thursdays when I try and clean it up.

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