WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDVM) – The Washington Football team has a chance to win the NFC East title, for the first time since 2015, and that is why Head Coach Ron Rivera wants all the attention this week to be focused on that, instead of the storyline surrounding him and his former team, the Carolina Panthers.
Washington (6-8) will take on Carolina at home, this Sunday, December 27th, for a shot at the playoffs. Something the team has only been able to do twice in the last 12 years.
“We’ve got to want to play our best and we’ve got to want to win the game.” said Ron Rivera, “It is, it’s the most important game we’re about to play because this one takes another step.”
Feelings for this game might have been different, had circumstances been different. Rivera thought the game against Carolina, would have been on Washington’s schedule earlier; but because it comes at such a crucial time for the franchise, it isn’t much of a concern.
“To me, the emotions of the game is, yeah, I was there for nine seasons but this late in the season is different.” said Rivera, “If this had been our opener, believe me it would have been a highly emotional game. But it’s not. This game, to me, the consequence of this game is really the team, the organization, trying to be relevant, trying to take a step forward. I want to see us focus on the reasons why we want to win the game as a team as opposed to a personal reason.”
This doesn’t mean Rivera isn’t grateful for the opportunities he had with Carolina; it just means he wants to limit conversation surrounding that storyline. Understandable, considering the team had their four-game win streak snapped on Sunday, against Seattle.
“In all honesty, I do owe that franchise a lot.” said Rivera, “It was my first opportunity as a head coach. We got to where we got. We were in the Super Bowl. To me, this is not about that. This is about this organization growing and developing.”