Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has emerged as one of the top-performing quarterbacks to wear the burgundy and gold in decades.
Any die-hard fan of the 2012 Washington Redskins will tell anyone that will listen, "This is the Redskins year!" or "RGIII is the best quarterback the 'Skins have ever had!"
As a resident of the Washington, DC suburbs for 35 years, I have seen quarterbacks arrive in Washington year after year, only to leave with their heads hung low. The Redskins fanbase is harsh and at times critical if the team finishes below .500 on the season.
You have to either show up and immediately put a win in the win column or the fans, which is short for the word fanatics, will turn their back on you like the drunk uncle who shows up at Thanksgiving dinner uninvited.
Washington has had success and plenty of talent at the quarterback position. However, many have not produced great results. Since the Redskins moved to Washington in 1937, only two quarterbacks have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Sammy Baugh and Sonny Jurgensen.
Redskins fans have seen top-name quarterbacks come and go without any measurable result. You only have to go back to 2000 to see how easily quarterbacks come and go with regularity in the nation's capital.
We are talking big time QB's whose name alone draws immediate recognition, high hopes, and praise, only to be replaced by a hotter prospect the following year.
The Redskins quarterbacks, going back to the 2000 season, in order:
Rex Grossman, Donovan McNabb, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins, Mark Brunell, Patrick Ramsey, Tim Hasselbeck, Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel, Tony Banks and Jeff George.
Quite a list.
If RGIII can continue to perform at his current level of play and avoid a more serious injury, there is a great chance he will shine with the 'Skins and lead them to future NFC East titles and playoff appearances.
When Griffin was slow to get up following a hard hit against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5, the 'Skins fans at FedEx Field held their breath collectively.
A friend of mine, who was at the game, told me nobody in the place moved.
His knee-bending backward moment against Baltimore in Week 14 caused great concern until team doctors determined his knee was sprained with no ligament damage. Fellow rookie and backup QB Kirk Cousins stepped in and closed out the game with an overtime victory.
Cousins started the following week as Griffin heeded doctor's advice to rest and allow his injured knee to heal.
Current Redskins owner Dan Snyder paid handsomely for his star rookie with draft picks and salary. He wants regular season wins, immediate results and postseason play. On top of that, the fans expect wins and they are the ones who pay for tickets, merchandise, concessions, parking, etc.
With all of the hype, media exposure and expectations placed upon RGIII, let's hope he can enjoy the ride while it lasts and stay on top of his game. Quite possibly, he can continue to lead the way for a Redskins team desperate for some continuity at the quarterback position.
After years and years of heartbreak, could this dream finally come true? Yes, DC. RGIII is for real. Pinch yourselves. It's time to believe!
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