The Washington Commanders underwent a significant transformation in the 2023 NFL offseason with the sale of the team from Daniel Snyder to an ownership group spearheaded by Josh Harris. This change marked a pivotal moment for a franchise that had long grappled with dysfunction under Snyder’s tenure. The new ownership, led by Harris, aimed to remedy the team’s off-field issues while simultaneously aiming for on-field improvements.
Despite efforts to overhaul the organization’s off-field image and reconnect with fans alienated by the previous ownership, the team’s performance on the field hasn’t mirrored these positive strides. The Commanders currently hold a disappointing 4-8 record following a demoralizing Thanksgiving Day defeat against the Cowboys, which followed an embarrassing loss to the 3-8 Giants, where the third-string quarterback, Tommy DeVito, excelled against Washington’s struggling defense.
These recent setbacks have amplified speculation regarding head coach Ron Rivera’s future with the Commanders. Rivera’s position appeared precarious, especially after the lopsided loss to the Cowboys, with the team heading into a Week 14 bye. While there were murmurs about potential changes, particularly concerning Rivera’s status, the firing of defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio on Black Friday seemed to indicate that Rivera’s dismissal wasn’t imminent. The decision hinted at a willingness to allow Rivera to see out the remainder of the season.
Reports from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport suggested that Harris and the ownership group aimed to evaluate Rivera’s performance over the entire season, although a substantial defeat to the Cowboys could have accelerated any decision-making. Despite the apparent pressure on Rivera, there’s recognition of a strong rapport between Rivera and Harris, characterized by mutual respect, as evidenced in Harris’ statements.
Nevertheless, Rivera’s coaching seat appears increasingly precarious. The team’s overall performance hasn’t lived up to expectations, and it seems plausible that the new ownership might consider a change in leadership unless there’s a notable improvement in the team’s performance during the latter part of the season.
Examining Rivera’s coaching record with the Commanders, he’s been at the helm for four seasons, during which he navigated the team through off-field challenges. However, the on-field results have been middling, with a win-loss-draw record of 26-35-1. Despite securing an NFC East title in 2020 with a 7-9 record, the team hasn’t achieved a winning season under Rivera’s leadership, with their best finish at 8-8-1 during the 2022 campaign.
Below is a year-by-year breakdown of Rivera’s four seasons in Washington.
Below is a look at Rivera’s performance with the Panthers by season: