When I say that I speak for the youth of Washington Redskins fans, I believe I am one of the more qualified to do so. I was born in Prince George’s County, approximately three miles from where the Redskins currently call Fed Ex Field home. I was raised in that same county where I attended grade school as well as college at the University of Maryland (stand up!). I, much like most of Redskins Nation, am too young to remember the “glory days” of Washington, DC. I am too young to think about the rattling stands of RFK and the chants of “We Want Dallas”, when it really meant something. I’m from the era of Redskins fans that know that Brad Johnson took us to the playoffs in 1999 where we defeated the Detroit Lions in the first round. I’m from the era that knows that Stephen Davis was the hottest thing since sliced bread and absolutely had a shot at Redskins running back lore. My fondest memories are of a pre-twitter era when a video of Michael Westbrook going “ham”- as the kids call it- on Stephen Davis, was the closest thing we had to preseason interaction with the players. I was then familiarized with $10 parking fees (at training camp) by Dan Snyder and having my car jacked in the green lot at Fed Ex Field on game day.
I can watch as much of NFL Films as I’d like but I’ll never know the feeling of John Riggins running through the Miami defense in Super Bowl XVII. I’ll never know what it was like to have a Super Bowl Champion hold a parade on the streets of Washington, DC in the 1980′s or 90′s. For us younger fans, all we have known is frustration and disappointment.
Whether it was Brunell’s knee starting to give in the 2007 season or the death of Sean Taylor earlier that year, we just don’t know how to handle success. For most of my life in this region I’ve been subjected to Cowboys fans that believe their team is somehow superior with the greatest choke artist of all-time at quarterback. I pity the Cowboys because they are now stuck in neutral with an owner like Jerry Jones and a quarterback that can’t decide whether or not he wants to be great. The Dallas talk is aside from the point I’m trying to make. What I’m trying to say is that the Washington Redskins success in 2012 is something that half of the fans have been waiting for and something the other half doesn’t even know that they’re missing.
I took to twitter earlier and posted this:
I guess if there was any franchise that could feel the pain of our beloved Redskins, it would be the Detroit Lions. The response, by the way, was from one of our Fansided affiliates at SideLionReport.com (check ‘em out). I guess things could be worse in DC. Anyway, back to the rant.
I, along with many other twenty-something-and-under Redskins fans are ready for a streak of brilliance. We are ready to hear Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck’s name called on draft day. We’re ready to forget all the pain from the last two decades and move on to the brilliance to come. Are we sure that Mike Shanahan has all the answers? No. Are we positive that RGIII or Luck will deliver a Lombardi trophy in the next few years? Absolutely not. We do know, however, that unlike previous seasons there real is hope. Real, tangible hope. There is a reason to show up to the third preseason game at home and watch our team take on the Indianapolis Colts like it’s Super Bowl XLVII. I personally believe we are approximately 22 days from the beginning of an incredible era. I know most of the Skins youth believe it too because I can feel it when I talk to them. The older generations are essentially taking a “wait and see” stance on the whole process, which is understandable. The drafting of Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck is going to place the pressure of an entire fan base and city on their shoulders. Our only hope is that they can deliver and right the course for our often misguided franchise.
A post about the Redskins’ recent history wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to the late great Sean Taylor, so there it is. His fumble return against Tampa Bay may be the single greatest memory I have of this franchise and for that I am forever indebted to him. I can only hope that this next month of the NFL’s offseason will set our franchise up for success during the next twenty years.
If you’ve enjoyed or been moderately entertained by this rant you can follow me on twitter @KMawyer2.