Maybe people did let it go, as in they no longer go to the games.Chief has been gone for 15 years now. People just need to let it go.
Given this I would hope for an increased urgency to listen to the good ideas people are posting here. I think it is a massive indictment that the admin has created nothing as a differentiating factor and has seemingly no ideas or plans to. Nebraska used to release balloons, Iowa waves at a hospital, Wisconsin jumps, Auburn flies an Eagle, OU has the sooner schooner, FSU has you know what, Colorado brings out a buffalo, Purdue has a big drum, USC has a Trojan plunge a sword, Clemson touches a rock, Oregon has stupid uniforms, Boise St. has blue turf. These are examples just off the top of my head. Illinois has a marching band. It's not even necessarily about the Chief anymore, it's about having something, anything else that is unique about Illinois.
Winning is the best fix, but then you absolutely can't give Lovie Smith a 4th year, let alone a 5th year and that falls on the administration too.