With 6:19 to play in the Seahawks vs. Redskins Wild Card matchup, Redskins fans everywhere watched as the franchise quarterback, Robert Griffin III went down and stayed down for good. The end of Griffin's season would mean the end of the Redskins' as well, as the home team Skins fell to the Seahawks, 24-14.
As Griffin lay on the field in agonizing pain, and viewers at home saw replays of his injury that were nearly too gruesome to watch, Fed Ex field broke its stunned silence to support their quarterback together as chants of "R-G-3!" rang through the stadium of nearly 85,000 patrons.
With the Redskins' season wrapped up, there is now time for reflection. RGIII has had an incredible rookie campaign both throwing and running on his way to a Pro Bowl selection.
But what exactly has RGIII brought to D.C., and what does this season's success mean going forward?
One word. Hope.
It has been well reported that the Redskins have not played a postseason game since 2007 and have not won a division crown since 1999. Despite the season's grim look after week 10, the Redskins managed to win out, ending the season 10-6 and as NFC East division champions.
After so much heartbreak for the Redskins nation, one would think that what the Skins had done this season was enough, and that anything in the playoffs would be gravy—icing on the cake, if you will.
That was not the case, however. The Skins came into the postseason hot, boasting the number one running game in the league, winning their division in Week 17 against the bitter rival Dallas Cowboys and claiming home field in the Wild Card round.
There will be many "What if?" questions asked after the Skins' loss to the Seahawks.
"What if RGIII had never hurt his knee?"
"What if he had sat out until the Dallas game?"
"What if Shanahan had pulled RGIII while he struggled earlier in the fourth quarter?"
While all questions pose a potential alternative ending to the Redskins' season, asking these questions is just going to drive die-hard Redskins fans insane.
What fans need to do now is realize what the 2012-2013 season means to D.C. going forward. RGIII's season provides hope, as he is, arguably, the first franchise quarterback that the entire fan base and team has rallied around since Joe Theismann in the 1980's.
A healthy Griffin in the same backfield as the rookie surprise of the year, Alfred Morris, means stunning offensive numbers for years to come, something the Skins have not seen this century; they have had a defensive identity for years.
The Redskins will have time to heal in the offseason. Griffin will have a year of turmoil, success, failure, heart break—and most importantly—experience under his belt heading into next year, as he looks to lead the Redskins in defending their division crown and in looking to push farther into the post season.
Griffin turned one of the most storied NFL franchises around in just one year. Imagine what he can do in two.