WATCH: Rivera says NFC East title is just ‘first step’ in postgame victory speech


For Washington Football Team fans, Sunday night’s 20-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles was not pretty.

But the end result, winning the NFC East and securing a trip to the NFL Playoffs for the first time in five years, was a beautiful experience.

Inside the Washington locker room, the celebrations were ebullient.

And Ron Rivera got to give his seventh victory speech in his first year as Washington head coach.

“A lot of reasons why we do what we do, guys,” Rivera told his team.

“You get an opportunity like that, you gotta learn to take advantage and you did. It’s been tough, it’s been hard, it’s not been simple. I promise you, it has not. But you persevered, you’ve done what people didn’t think you could do and it’s just the start of who we can be. OK, this is just the first step. Don’t let it end. Keep working at it, keep getting better, keep becoming the team I think we can be.”

“Hey, really quick — we know we’ve been through a long season,” defensive lineman Jonathan Allen said. “When we look at our leader Coach Rivera, I think he’s a testament to what it means to grit, grind and get through it.

"From Dan Snyder, the owner, he personally wanted to say, ‘This is a game ball for taking us to the playoffs for the first time in God knows how long.'"

Rivera said he appreciates the game ball, but “I’m telling you guys, it’s about who you guys are.”

But Washington has a short-week: 43-year-old Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers await them at FedEx Field on Saturday night in the Super Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs.

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