A Fan's Perspective on What RGIII Means to the Washington Redskins Franchise
For my 25th anniversary as loyal fan of the Washington Redskins, I couldn't think of a better present than moving up to get Robert Griffin III in the first round of the NFL draft. Words cannot explain how much he means to the franchise and its fanbase, but I will try my best to put it in print.
I came in at the perfect time, seeing my Redskins win two Super Bowls in four years. Since Super Bowl XXVI, I haven't been blessed with the same fortune.
Have you ever been on one of those roller coasters that bangs you around so hard, you come off it with a pounding headache, a sore neck and bruises? That's the kind of roller coaster fans of the Redskins have been on for the last two decades.
During that time, we have seen 21 different quarterbacks start under center in the nation's capital. Hell, the Super Bowl quarterbacks didn't even last.
Joe Theisman had the longest tenure of the three Super Bowl quarterbacks. But he didn't make it through two seasons after his Super Bowl win, before Lawrence Taylor split his shin and ended his career.
Doug Williams didn't even start the season for the 1987 Redskins. He had just been the more efficient quarterback, filling in for Jay Schroeder, and Joe Gibbs chose to go with him in the playoffs.
Williams would eventually lead the Redskins to a title, throwing four touchdowns in the second quarter to beat young John Elway and the Denver Broncos. He was the first and only African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
The following season, Williams was fighting injuries and ended up losing the starting job to Mark Rypien.
A few years later, Rypien helped the team earn another Super Bowl title in 1991. Could he be the one?
Mark Rypien's numbers plummeted after that year; he threw just 17 touchdowns to 27 interceptions in the following two seasons. Yet again, the Redskins were back in the hunt for a quarterback.
Enter the era of 21 quarterbacks in 21 years.
Of those 21 quarterbacks, two were considered to be our “savior” at the time. Heath Shuler was drafted in the first round of the 1994 draft, but a holdout during training camp left him behind and that showed on the field.
By the next season, Gus Frerotte had the starting job and the third overall pick turned out to be one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
Frerotte was later selected to the 1997 Pro Bowl and the Redskins appeared to be in good hands. Then he decided to celebrate a touchdown by ramming his head into a wall. He would sprain his neck and we never really saw the same quarterback again.
After a long ride of washed up quarterbacks, the Redskins finally landed the next hope—Jason Campbell. Selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft, surely he couldn't end up another bust.
Though, I wouldn't say he was a bust on the level of other quarterbacks we had seen over the years. I'd venture to say Jason Campbell was pretty impressive at times, considering the lack of protection from his offensive line.
Nonetheless, he wasn't successful in Washington and we were used to putting the blame on the quarterbacks by this point. After the 2009 season, Jason Campbell was traded to the Oakland Raiders.
You know the rest. We have gone through Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman and John Beck since—none of which gave us any signs of hope.
On April 26, 2012, hope had arrived once again in Washington, D.C.
The Redskins managed to pick up a perfect fit for the offense implemented by Mike and Kyle Shanahan. Not only does RG3 bring the strong arm Shanny loves, but mobility beyond even the great John Elway—who helped Mike Shanahan to two titles in Denver.
Even with all the accolades and potential of the No. 1 overall pick, Andrew Luck, I was going to be upset if the Colts picked RG3 instead.
The last half of Griffin's college season, I simply couldn't stop watching him. He was a show stopper and I was envisioning him running the boot in burgundy and gold. I could see him dropping those long bombs to Redskins' receivers and finally lighting up the scoreboard that has collected its share of dust over the years.
And not only is he a great athletic fit for the system, he is also extremely intelligent and a great role model. Griffin isn't just about himself, he is about the team and winning.
RG3 has it all—or at least that is how it appears at the moment. This is Washington, and as you can see, quarterbacks just find a way not to last. But for some reason, this just feels different.
No matter how much my mind tells me to back off, I can't help but feel positive about the future of my Redskins.
Could Robert Griffin III be the second black quarterback to win a Super Bowl title? It would only be fitting, considering the first came out of D.C.
I can't think of a better place for the plight of the black quarterback to officially come to an end—or a better quarterback to make the Redskins relevant again.
RG3 is simply the perfect fit in D.C.
Thank you, Mike Shanahan. Thank you, Bruce Allen. And welcome to Washington, Robert. I have a feeling this is going to be a great ride.
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