Washington Football

Washington Football

Every football fan remembers Dennis Green coaching the Cardinals in 2006 screaming at the podium after a loss to the Bears: "They are who we thought they were, and we let them off the hook!"

Green's rant was an all-time classic and spawned memes and commercials. Seriously, it's tremendous, and now nearly 15 years later we learn that Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera played a major role in the finish. 

At the time Rivera was the Chicago defensive coordinator with the NFL's best defense going into a Week 6 showdown against Arizona on Monday Night Football. The Bears had a 5-0 record and were heavy favorites to win the game over the 1-4 Cardinals. 

Well, at halftime the score was 20-0 Arizona.

The Bears defense played lousy for the first 30 minutes, and at halftime, Rivera let them hear about it. 

"We were in Arizona; it was 2006 on Monday Night Football and we did not play really good football in the first half. Ron came in there and he let it be known," new Washington defensive backs coach Chris Harris said.

Harris played cornerback for that Bears team and said that halftime speech was when he knew without a doubt that Rivera would eventually become a head coach. 

"He told everyone to man up and said, 'I don't want to see anyone pointing any fingers. You turnaround and point that finger at yourself. You do your job. If you do your job, then we will win this football game.' And he came in and just laid it out there and he is a very blunt person and he is going to tell you exactly like it."

 

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In the second half Chicago only allowed three more points and eventually the Bears offense put up enough points to win the game 24-23. That loss drove Green to his infamous postgame tirade, and it was Rivera's speech that put his defense into overdrive. 

So what exactly did he say?

"I don't know if I can speak any of it in mixed company. But it was intense. It was intense, it was very intentional and it was very blunt. He kind of told it like it is. He didn't sugarcoat anything. We weren't playing well defensively," Harris said. "He got his point across and guys came out and we played a really good second half of defensive football."

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The Bears finished that season 13-3 before an eventual Super Bowl loss to the Colts. As for Harris, he played under Rivera for two seasons in Chicago and now gets the chance to work for him in Washington. 

Green passed away in 2016 after a long and successful coaching career. He was 67. 

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