A Letter To Duck Fans: Will You Ever Be Happy?

AJ Costilla Editorials

Dear Disgruntled Duck Fan,

What will it take for you to be happy?

Day in and day out, you complain about the team you say you love. And you know what? I’m sick and tired of it.

It seems nothing our football team does is good enough for you. Other teams’ fans are at least happy about something with their favorite team. There’s a die-hard Alabama fan where I work, and after Clemson embarrassed the Tide in the National Championship last year, he told me “It was a great season. I have no complaints. They’re a great team, and we’ll get them next year.”

Fans walking to Autzen

What did you say after Oregon lost to Ohio State in 2015? How about after the Auburn game in 2011? Sure we complained about the Michael Dyer run, but were you nonetheless happy about the season? Did you stop, reflect and count your blessings for the Ducks’ first-ever National Championship run?

I understand being frustrated about things, and, yes, last season’s lack of offensive creativity irked me. But I didn’t let it ruin the year. Hell, the team still went 9-4.  But all you can think of is “what if we hadn’t melted against Stanford?” “What if we had shown up for Arizona?” And you make fun of Beaver fans? Oregon State won two games last season, and the fans in Corvallis think the program is heading in the right direction.

And now all of a sudden nine wins isn’t enough. This is the year, you say. Undefeated or bust!


The fact that Mario Cristobal didn’t replace Marcus Arroyo made some of you sick. “Some no-name defensive coordinator from Boise State?” You know who else was a no-name guy from a tiny school? Chip Kelly.

Soak in the beauty of Autzen Stadium.

This may be news to you Johnny-Come-Latelys, but Oregon wasn’t always a juggernaut. Kelly’s predecessor Mike Bellotti won 10 or more games only four times en route to a career record of 116-55 and a bowl record of 6-6. Before him, Rich Brooks went 91-109. Brooks’s best season was the celebrated 1994-95 season, when the Ducks went 9-4, losing to Penn State in the Rose Bowl. Brooks’s nine-win season in 1994 was the first since FDR was President in 1933.

That’s 60 seasons with only a single nine-win season. And how many in the 24 years since? 15, including last year.  Sure, the most recent five-year stretch (13-2, 9-4, 4-8, 7-6, and 9-4) includes two sub-par seasons, but in the larger perspective those two seasons are but blips on the Ducks’ meteoric trajectory over the last 25 years..

It’s time we realize we aren’t Alabama or Clemson. Hell, we aren’t even Ohio State. Its one thing to aspire to be them one day, but to be mad that we aren’t? To be mad about the coaching staff and how they are running things? In Cristobal’s first season as head coach he won nine freaking games. Nine wins after Willie Taggart’s debacle of a season, and after Boise State beat the crap out of him in his first game as head coach.

I’m begging you, enough already with the negativity. When will it be good enough for you? Honestly, how many of you will think “there goes the season?” If the Ducks lose the opener to Auburn, will you think Cristobal is overrated? That Arroyo’s a bust? That Herbert isn’t worthy of a top draft pick? Have some perspective, some patience. Take a deep breath and believe me when I tell you there will be life after an Auburn loss.

Storming the field after a win

We all know it never rains in Autzen Stadium. So please Disgruntled Duck Fan, stop letting it rain on your personal parade. Stop complaining about the recruit who didn’t sign and start celebrating the ones who did. Oregon is pegged as a playoff hopeful this year, a team capable of winning the conference and making the Rose Bowl. Why are we not happy about that? And if they don’t, you know what? It’s okay — these remain the best of times; not the worst.

Every year if you ask me what it would take for the season to be a success I’d tell you the same thing: beat the Fuskies and win the Civil War. Set up a tailgate at the Eugene Masonic Lodge, hang with some of the greatest people I know, and cheer on our beloved Ducks. Nothing can get better than that. And if that doesn’t help, just remember, it  could be worse.

We could be Oregon State.


AJ Costilla
Wilsonville, OregonTop Photo by Kevin Cline


Phil Anderson, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is a trial lawyer in Bend Oregon.


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