Rivera lauds fans for creating 'outstanding' Week 1 atmosphere originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
FedEx Field wasn’t sold out for the first game of the Commanders’ 2022 season — the franchise remains far from flooding its stadium with supporters — but those who did post for Washington’s opener versus the Jaguars helped create a rowdy atmosphere at a place that’s been rather dull of late.
When given the chance, Ron Rivera commended those people for their passion in a Monday one-on-one interview with NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay.
“That was outstanding,” Rivera said of the environment in the club’s 28-22 win.
According to the NFL game book that’s distributed to various media corps after every matchup around the league, the paid attendance at FedEx Field was 58,192. The actual figure was smaller than that — swaths of empty seats were seen in the middle and upper levels of the stands — but the lower bowl was quite filled and very into the proceedings.
Rivera wasn’t the only one to notice the contributions from those who traveled to Landover, either.
“They kept it entertaining,” Carson Wentz said in his press conference on Sunday. “We got a couple of big plays and you could really feel the energy and the momentum.”
Thanks to consistent losing under owner Dan Snyder, the Commanders’ home has been a fairly-to-seriously difficult spot to pack, especially in recent campaigns. In 2021, in fact, no organization struggled more than Snyder’s to bring folks through the gates.
That history, a sketchy forecast (albeit one that ultimately proved to be fine) and an unattractive opponent (the handfuls of Jaguars diehards that exist out there in the universe surely wouldn’t quibble with that label) all combined to create questions about how Sunday would go attendance-wise.
Fortunately, it was an encouraging showing all around, and during the victory’s most pivotal sequences, the volume was significant. If Washington can take care of Detroit in Week 2, Week 3’s tilt with Philadelphia should be another energized afternoon.
“The fans knew when to cheer, when not to, when to get on us, when to make noise, when to help and that’s important,” Rivera told Finlay.
“You get some momentum behind you, and you get a little inspiration from the crowd, boy, you can be pretty tough.”