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Ron Rivera: 'It might be refreshing' to play in Dallas, Philly without fans

Ron Rivera: 'It might be refreshing' to play in Dallas, Philly without fans

The 2020 NFL season is set to begin in early September, and the league has yet to announce anything that would change that. But if the season does start on time, there's a chance that fans won't be allowed to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Redskins head coach Ron Rivera was asked about the possibility of playing in an empty stadium, and the 58-year-old found a silver lining to the idea of it.

"If you're the home team, you kind of wish you had your folks in the stands," Rivera told WUSA9's Darren Haynes. "When you have to go someplace like Dallas or Philadelphia, it might be refreshing that you don't have their fans in the stands. That's for darn sure."

Dallas and Philadelphia have two of the toughest stadiums to play in. The Eagles pack Lincoln Financial Field for every home game and have one of the most raucous fan bases in the entire league. The Cowboys have the NFL's largest stadium, as over 100,000 people attend every Dallas home game.

The Redskins travel to Dallas in Week 12 for a Thanksgiving clash with the Cowboys. Washington heads to Philadelphia in Week 17 to close out the season.

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Both venues have not been kind to the Redskins as of late.

Washington has not won in Dallas since Week 17 of the 2015 season when the Cowboys started backup Kellen Moore in the season finale. Dallas has won seven of the last eight games between the two clubs and nine of the past 11.

Things have not gone much better in Philadelphia, where the Redskins have not won since December of 2016. The Eagles have currently won six straight matchups against Washington, the longest winning streak in the rivalry since Philadelphia won seven in a row from 2001-2004.

While it might initially feel "refreshing" to play a road game without fans in the stands for Rivera, he certainly hopes that is not the reality. The head coach understands how important fans are and how much they can influence a team.

Since taking over as head coach of the Redskins, Rivera has preached building a new culture -- a winning culture -- in Washington. One thing that he's stayed consistent with is emphasizing the need for the Redskins fan base to rally behind the team.

"We also need to have the fans get behind us," Rivera told local media in early April. "It’s one of the things that I was very fortunate to happen for us when we were in Carolina. Our first two years we showed promise. We gave fans a reason to come out and cheer for us."

Now with Washington, Rivera hopes to do the exact same. Over the past few years, fans of the opposing team have taken over FedEx Field; it was not a pretty sight for the Redskins or their fans. So, when fans are allowed back into the stadium, the head coach wants to make sure FedEx Field looks nothing like it did in years prior.

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Ex-Washington GM believes Dan Snyder will use name change as a 'chip' to build stadium bigger than Cowboys'

Ex-Washington GM believes Dan Snyder will use name change as a 'chip' to build stadium bigger than Cowboys'

After receiving immense public pressure from major sponsors earlier this month, Washington announced in a statement on Monday that the team would retire the name 'Redskins' and its logo. The change was likely not one owner Dan Snyder wanted to make, as he stated in 2013 that the team would "never" change its name.

However, former Washington GM Vinny Cerrato believes there might have been another reason Snyder agreed to finally move on from the name.

In an interview on ESPN's 'Golic and Wingo,' Cerrato explained that he believes Snyder will try and use the name change as a "chip" to eventually build a new stadium in Washington, D.C., one "bigger and better" than his good friend Jerry Jones' 100,000-seater in Dallas.

"Ever since Jerry [Jones] built his stadium...we're playing the Cowboys, and we flew down and had dinner in Jerry's box," Cerrato said. "Jerry gave us a tour of the stadium, he's pushing the button opening and closing the roof. Ever since then, [Snyder said] 'I'm going to have one bigger and better.'"

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Cerrato said that now that the name has been retired, Snyder will be able to turn his dream stadium into a reality.

"Trust me when I tell you this, Dan will have one bigger and better," Cerrato said. "He'll use it as a chip to get that land where RFK was, to change the name. I would bet that it's somewhere involved in there. The name change is also probably helping him get the property he really wants."

RELATED: THEISMANN HOPES WASHINGTON CAN BE AN EXAMPLE OF ACTING ON SOCIAL CHANGE

Prior to the name change, it's been no secret that the owner wants a new stadium, specifically one in downtown Washington at the team's old RFK site. However, the process of building a new stadium may not be so easy.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in June that she believes the name must be changed and that the team won't be allowed to build a new stadium in D.C. until that happens. Even after Washington's statement earlier this week, Mayor Bowser said there are still plenty of hurdles that remain for Washington to build a new stadium at the old RFK location.

Washington's current lease as FedEx Field in Landover, Md., is set to expire at the end of the 2027 season.

Only time will tell if the name change ends up helping Snyder build his "bigger and better" stadium in D.C. Despite that, Cerrato believes the owner will look back on the name change and wonder why he took so long to make it.

"For where we are at in society, I think it was an absolute that needed to be done. I think he realized that," Cerrato said. "His business partners, Dwight [Schar], Rob Rothman and Fred Smith, they tried to push upon on him recently. So I think it was something that needed to be done. In five years when Dan thinks back about it, he'll probably think 'Why did I wait so long?"

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Joe Theismann hopes Washington can serve as example of taking action on social change

Joe Theismann hopes Washington can serve as example of taking action on social change

Following the killing of George Floyd on May 25, the fight for social justice and racial equality has been at the forefront of issues in the United States.

The current social justice movement in America has impacted Washington's NFL team, as the organization announced on Monday it would retire the name 'Redskins' -- a slur that some Native Americans find offensive and racist -- and the team's logo. The change -- something Washington owner Dan Snyder said he would "never" do in 2013 -- is felt to be overdue by many.

Former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann hopes that the team's eventual name change can be used as an opportunity for the organization to serve as an example by taking action for social change.

"I think that what we've proven with the new name of the Washington football franchise is that we need people to take action on the things that they want to get done," Theismann told ABC7's Scott Abraham.

"There's so many things socially that people talk about doing... but we're not really getting the results. In this case, I hope the Washington name and the change that's taking place can be an example to people."

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Additionally, the Super Bowl-winning QB explained that he wants those upset by the change to understand that things don't say the same. Sometimes, change is necessary.

"Things are always changing in one place, in one way or another," Theismann said. "We're experiencing this now through the pandemic and all the things that are happening socially around the country and really around the world. And I think what we have to do is listen, open our hearts, open our minds to what's going on."

Asked if he was upset or angry by the change, Theismann said that he doesn't have any regrets personally with the franchise.

"I don't have any regrets... I was very proud to put on that uniform and represent, what I felt like were the Native Americans," Theismann said. "As a matter of fact, in 1982 when we won the World Championship, I was given a chief's headdress by one of the tribal individuals. And it's a cherished item."

Plus, the quarterback also stated he would continue to wear his 'Redskins' gear, saying  he will "explain to people, to me it represented a proud tradition of the people that I spoke to who were Native Americans."

RELATED: FORMER WASHINGTON KICKER MARK MOSELEY UPSET BY NAME CHANGE

However, Theismann made sure to emphasize he is fully embracing the change and the current social movement.

"I think it's a time to get excited," Theismann said. "Let's embrace what's here in front of us, let's embrace this young group of guys."

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