Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hail to the Redskins

SmartMom and I moved to the D.C. area in the fall of 1992, less than a year after the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  A few months later, the Redskins' season ended with a 20-13 loss at San Francisco in a divisional playoff game.  But the team had played well, and most folks were confident the Skins would continue to be a major power.

They were wrong.  Soon after that game, Joe Gibbs announced his retirement as the head coach of the Redskins, and the franchise collapsed.  Except for a brief revival when Gibbs returned in the mid-2000's -- two playoff appearances in 2005 and 2007 -- the Redskins have been horrific.  From 1992 to 2011, they won their division only once -- when they squeaked through with a 10-6 record and were eliminated by Tampa Bay in the divisional playoffs.  Their typical record has been more like 6-10.

The saddest thing about it, from my perspective, is that year after year, folks in the DC area kept expecting the Skins to be good.  There is probably no city in America where people know less about sports than Washington, and it was painful to watch them get their hopes up year after year over plans ("We've picked up an aged Deion Sanders!"  "We've replaced Marty Schottenheimer with Steve Spurrier!"  "We've given an enormous contract to Albert Haynesworth!") that, to most folks familiar with the NFL, had no chance of working.  (To be fair, the Redskins do have a lot of blue-collar fans, and most of those fans knew that the team was making one silly move after another.  But their wisdom is usually crowded out by the silliness of the local sports media and the naivety of the richer fans.)

But this year the Redskins finally did something right.  They traded their first-round picks in 2012, 2013, and 2014, as well as their second-round pick in 2012 for the Rams' first-round pick in 2012 -- which was the second overall pick in the draft.  That may seem like a lot to pay for one pick, but the Redskins used that pick to draft Robert Griffin III.  And all he did this year was complete 65.6 percent of his passes, throw 20 touchdowns (and only 5 interceptions), put up a QB rating of 102.4, rush for 815 yards (and 7 touchdowns), survive some silly race-baiting from ESPN, and be chosen as a captain because of his hard work and professionalism.  Given that all the teams in the NFL basically use the same system (just ask Tim Tebow), and that the rules are rigged in favor of the passing attack, there is simply nothing more valuable than a good quarterback.  Assuming that RG III continues to play at the same level he's shown this year for the next 15 years, there is almost no price that would have been too high to pick him up.

1 comment:

  1. Here's how I'm rooting for the NFL playoffs play out (though it would be fine with me if the Redskins won it all):

    Bengals lose at Texans
    Vikings lose at Packers
    Colts win at Ravens
    Seahawks lose at Redskins
    Colts lose at Broncos
    Redskins win at 49ers
    Packers win at Falcons
    Texans win at Patriots
    Redskins lose at Packers
    Texans win at Broncos
    Packers beat Texans