Josh Norman Takes Shot at Redskins Fans: 'They're Not Really Behind Us' at Home

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2018

Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman (24) before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
Jason Behnken/Associated Press

After picking up a 16-3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road, Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman had something to get off his chest regarding Washington's home fans at FedExField.

Responding to a question about performing better away from home, Norman told reporters he believes his team has nothing approaching a home-field advantage, per Craig Hoffman of 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C.:

"When we go into the home stands, it seems like (sigh) an open bubble or something. Like the other team's turf or something. You hear more of them than you do of us. Then, if something bad happens, they sulk. They sit back in their seat and they boo. I don't know. ... We come back to our home and guys...they just don't really care. They just boo everything. They're not really behind us."

Here is Norman's full quote on the topic:

Craig Hoffman @CraigHoffman

Josh Norman was asked about playing better on the road. This prompted his thoughts on recent home crowds at FedEx Field. https://t.co/ceewBP7mR6

Attacking your own followers could galvanize the fanbase, or it might further alienate those who are already feeling jaded.

In terms of pure numbers, Norman may have a point.

The Washington City Paper's Dave McKenna explained in 2011 how the franchise's sellout streak at FedExField was somewhat deceiving. Washington had already trimmed 10,000 seats from the stadium and had tickets on sale at the stadium's box office on game days.

McKenna looked into the topic even further in June for Deadspin after Washington announced it no longer had a waiting list for season tickets.

"The Skins PR staff used to lead off every postgame notes package after a home game, even those played in two thirds–full stadiums, saying the just-played contest was sold out and was continuing a sellout streak that’s been running 'since 1966,'" McKenna wrote.

Prior to Sunday, Washington ranked 27th in attendance this year, averaging 61,201 fans over five home games despite the Redskins sitting first in the NFC East, now at 6-3.

Since Dan Snyder purchased the team in April 1999, Washington has three 10-win seasons and two playoff victories. That's a stark contrast from the Redskins of the 1980s and early '90s that won three Super Bowl titles.

Fans also had to sit back and watch the franchise push Robert Griffin III beyond his physical limits and derail what was a promising career. Then the team painted itself into a corner with Kirk Cousins and basically made it impossible to keep him this offseason.

While the Redskins haven't consistently been among the NFL's worst teams, they haven't exactly exceeded expectations either.

The problem with criticizing fans for poor attendances or a lack of atmosphere is that voting with their feet is the one way fans can collectively send a message.

Norman's frustration is understandable because a team counts on having an edge when it's playing at home. At the same time, fans can't effect change by continuing to fill a team's stadium maintaining the status quo.