I’m sure when Gameday Connexion at Grapevine Mills Mall, about twenty miles from Cowboys Stadium, booked an autograph session with Robert Griffin III a few months ago, they thought they would have lots of fans of Baylor Football and a few collectors show up, but as soon as the Redskins drafted him, it became a much bigger deal. Many people don’t realize how many Redskins fans live in the Dallas area, but we exist in large numbers in the Metroplex. Everywhere I go in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, if I’m wearing a Redskins hat or jersey, another Skins fan will find me, and we’re instantly family. Redskins fans showed up in large numbers for this autograph signing, and it turned into a fun event for everyone involved. I walked into the store as Griffin approached, only to see that the first guy in line was wearing a Cowboys shirt. This rubbed me the wrong way, so as he got his autograph, I shouted, “You know, the man standing in front of you will be breaking your heart on Thanksgiving Day, right?” While the Cowboy fan just looked annoyed, Griffin laughed and flashed his big signature smile. As people were leaving I talked to a few people about the event.
Babar, a young Redskins fan, looked to be on the verge of tears as he walked out of the store. I asked him, “What does it mean to you, as a Redskins fan, to see Robert Griffin III signing autographs for all these crazy Redskins fans twenty minutes from Cowboys Stadium?” He replied, “I’ve been a lifelong fan. I know that’s cliche, but it’s been twenty-two years of straight hell. Now my hero is standing in front of me. I got four or five things autographed. Money does not mean a thing when your savior is standing in front of you!” I asked another Skins fan, Robert Ward, the same question, and he said, “I think it’s awesome. It’s weird, because there was also a handful of Cowboy fans getting autographs, so they definitely respect him as well. I’m just glad we finally have a quarterback.”
Being that Baylor University is so close to Dallas, I was curious to hear from Griffin’s college fans about which NFL team they will be rooting for this year. I asked Josh Huff, a Baylor fanatic and lifetime Cowboy fan, “Now that the best Baylor football player of all time is a Redskin, will you be cheering for the Redskins now?” He surprisingly responded, “Absolutely. That will just increase my odds of one of my favorite teams winning the NFC East. I’m still a Cowboy fan, but now I like the Redskins too. I guess I’m a trend-setter. I’ve never been to Cowboys Stadium, but I will be going on Thanksgiving Day to watch RGIII play. I’m not a Jerry Jones fan, but I love my Cowboys, and I will be there this year to watch RGIII play.” Another Baylor and lifelong Saints fan, Kenny Lee, said, “College runs thicker in my blood than pro sports. RGIII is the greatest football player ever. He put Baylor back on the map. We love him. I’m a Redskins fan for life.”
In my lifetime, I’ve never seen an athlete so adored by his fans. Baylor fans were constantly reminding me that, even though we paid a hefty price, we’re extremely fortunate to have RGIII as our quarterback. It’s really strange to see people here in Texas struggling with which NFL team to root for because of one player. Many Cowboy fans are jumping ship and joining our side, as you can read on the baylorfans.com forums, and the Burgundy and Gold club in Dallas, which you can check out at dallasredskins.com, will welcome them into their group. It will be exciting to see how Griffin performs in the coming years, and it should be interesting to watch how many new fans he can inspire to wear burgundy and gold!