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Commanders fans overwhelmingly prefer a push for playoffs rather than losses to force change

Poll results!!!

Green Bay Packers v Washington Commanders Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

It seems as if every day I read a comment from some Washington Commanders fan somewhere - on Twitter or here on Hogs Haven - who says that he or she would rather see the team lose than win. One of two reasons is usually given: draft position or a coaching change.

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I do not have confidence in our HC/FO/Owner making the correct decision in the draft but even a broken clock is right once a day so there’s a chance they could get it right. Making the playoffs, though exciting to watch, holds us back even further. If we are lucky enough to be rid of Snyder and co. after this season, we could at least be in a better draft position moving forward with a new group. I do enjoy the wins (last 2 games were exciting to watch, though not remotely close to dominant in any capacity) but I wonder what the cost of a few W’s will be for us long term.

But there are plenty of other fans who are doing what fans normally do; that is, they are hoping for the team to win games, and hoping for a playoff seeding come January.

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I just want to see wins, dammit.

I’m tired of the empty, lottery ticket, promises of, “this’ll be the year,” or “next year we’ll be great.”

No quarterback ever drafted here, or damn near Anywhere, has been the “sure thing” he was hyped to be.

Injuries happen at inconvenient times and positions - seemingly, especially here.

Wins vs Losses are not what’s going to drive little danny to sell the damn team.

Heart and Passion are what inspires Heinecke’s teammates - with, or without the expected requisite skill set certain other guys are reputed to have.

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Never try and better your draft pick. I hate that...loser mentality. You play to win the game, every game.

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I am a fan and I want wins. It will be hard to finish with a top 7 pick without intentionally tanking. Compete for WC, and if you just miss, you pick 14-15. As a fan, I’d give up a few places in the first round in favor of a competitive finish.

its often hard to gauge which side of the fence the majority of fans come down on, so we decided to pose the question in the Week 9 Reacts survey this week.

I’m a bit surprised how lopsided the results are, with 82% of Hogs Haven readers who voted saying that they prefer to see the team win rather than lose in hopes of either improving draft position or forcing a change of coaching.

Of course, if the team keeps winning, the argument that the coaching staff needs to be replaced begins to lose its rationality. But for most fans who want to see the coaching staff replaced, the fear is not the horrible 3-13 season that results in high draft picks and coaches under pressure, but what is sometimes termed the ‘cycle of mediocrity’ in which Washington seems to spend so many seasons, getting just enough wins to avoid embarrassment, but never amassing enough momentum to become truly dominant. It’s that failure to get to 11 or 12 wins that is the frustration — the frequent seasons with 7, 8 or 9 regular season wins and no playoff wins — that takes its toll on these fans.

For the 82% majority, however, getting to the playoffs is the first step in chasing an annual goal that always seems possible if the team can simply get into the playoffs. The “second season” offers an opportunity to any team that can win 3 or 4 straight playoff games to crown themselves champions, and other unlikely teams have done it before.

Wildcard? Really?

Being fans of the Commanders in 2022 means being fans of the team that is in last place in the NFC East, and having to deal with an undefeated team and a pair of 6-win teams that have each lost only one game outside the division. Having lost to the Eagles and the Cowboys deepens the sting.

But if you widen your view to look at the rest of the conference, you’ll see that 4-4 is a comparatively good record. The 49ers are 4-4 and in 2nd place in the NFC West; the 4-4 Falcons lead the NFC South, and are the only team in that division that doesn’t have a losing record. The same is true in the North, where the 3-5 Packers and 3-5 Bears, who have both lost to the Commanders, sit in 2nd & 3rd place in the division.

If the playoffs were seeded based on current records, it would come down to tiebreakers to decide between the Commanders and the 49ers for the 7th seed. Incidentally, Washington and San Fransisco play one another on Christmas Eve, which could end up being a game that helps decide the final wildcard spot in the conference. In a conference where there are only 2 non-NFC East teams in wildcard contention that are better than 2 games below .500 (the 4-4 Niners and the 3-5 Rams) even an 8-9 record might be enough to get a team into the playoffs in January.


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“The confidence question” is asked every week in the Reacts survey, and this week, the number of fans expressing confidence in the direction of the team was similar to last week, with the figure dropping only slightly from 43% to 42%.

Given that the team picked up a win in Indianapolis to extend the winning streak to 3 games, I had thought that the number would rise a bit this week rather than holding steady or dropping slightly, but perhaps it will take something truly unexpected to move the needle.

Winning against Minnesota or Philadelphia

Based on win-loss records, no team in the NFL has a tougher two-week stretch coming up than the Washington Commanders, who face two teams in the Vikings and Eagles that are a combined 14-1 at the moment, with the only loss for the Vikings coming at the hands of the Eagles.

I’d say that most pundits have already penciled in 2 losses for the Commanders to drop them to 4-6 heading into the Week 11 game in Houston, which would, presumably, provide an opportunity to ‘get right’ against what looks to be the worst team in the NFL in 2022.

Getting a win in one of these games — and Minnesota at FedEx Field seems the more likely place to get an upset win — would be one unexpected way to get more fans to vote that they believe that the franchise is headed in the right direction.

To lose both games, however, while expected, would probably lead to another drop in fan confidence, and trigger a slide in the Power Rankings, which, collectively, had reluctantly rewarded the Commanders for their 3-game win streak.

Selling the team

The thing that is likely to really move the needle on fan confidence, however, has little to do with short term wins & losses.

This week’s confidence poll had already been posted well before the news broke that Dan and Tanya Snyder had engaged Bank of America Securities to help them evaluate opportunities to sell all or part of the Commanders franchise.

The reporting has been steady since the news broke, and I have to believe that if fans become totally convince that it’s really gonna happen, then confidence numbers will change dramatically.

Reader comment

I would like to re-cast my vote in light of recent events.

For years, fans have laid the lack of team success at the feet of Dan Snyder, whose toxic management style has infected the team for over two decades.

Finally, it seems as if the constant pressure from fans and local media has prompted others to step up and cut into Dan Snyder deeply enough to make him do more than just blink. The Washington Post has led the campaign against Snyder for years, with talk radio and blogs like this one providing constant everyday rallying points for fans to give voice to their frustrations with the little man.

The cracks became obvious when the Washington Post ran a series of investigative articles about the toxic workplace in Ashburn that led first to the Beth Wilkinson report that was buried by the NFL, and later to a Congressional investigation that is ongoing. A subsequent investigation by Mary Jo White, instigated by and under the control of the NFL is ongoing, as are some further investigations by Attorneys General for local and state governments in the area.

Snyder suffered a huge loss of face when he was forced by major sponsors like Federal Express and Pepsi to change the name of the team in 2020, just a few months after Ron Rivera had been hired with a mandate to “change the culture” of the organization.

There have been more losses than wins for Snyder and his wife and co-CEO Tanya since that time, with one of the most significant being the inability to secure a deal with any local government to help with funding or constructing a stadium to replace the aging FedEx Field, where the current lease runs to 2027.

When Colts owner Jim Irsay spoke publicly about removing Snyder, and Al Michaels spoke out against against the Washington owner in an extended comment on Thursday Night Football while the Commanders were playing the Bears, all in the wake of NFL partner ESPN putting together a deeply researched and nationally published feature article on Dan Snyder’s failures that broke new ground that hadn’t necessarily been plowed before, it felt as if the tide had finally turn irreversibly against Dan Snyder and that it was just a matter of time.

It’s all gone a bit faster than I thought possible.

All signs over the past few days point to this really being the time where it is finally happening, but Washington fans have been suckered by Dan Snyder too many times to willing believe that the Reign of Error is finally coming to an end just because they’ve read a few tweets and a few articles.

But this feels real. It feels as if this could all be done and dusted by February or March, and Washington fans could have the new owner that most have been hoping for for a very long time.

Week 9 predictions from the National Reacts survey

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Reacts sends out an email survey every week to fans who have signed up to receive it. If you are interested in adding your name to the list of survey recipients, click here to sign up.

It’s no surprise that the Vikings are expected to win their road game against the Commanders on Sunday. The Giants and Cowboys are both on a BYE this week, and the Eagles have already won, beating the Texans on Thursday Night Football, so Washington’s record is the only one in the NFC East that will change this weekend.

A win against the Vikings to go to 5-4 and get within a game of the Cowboys and Giants in the win column and to stay in position for a possible wildcard playoff spot would look really good. I don’t think the difference between the Vikings and the Commanders is as great as their respective win-loss records would indicate, and I’m looking for an exciting game on Sunday.

For the record, I have predicted that Washington not only pays off a bet at +3, but that the Commanders win outright, dropping the Vikings to 6-2, and setting up an exciting second half of the 2022 season.