Robert Griffin III: Why Redskins fans won’t give up on Him

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Dec 28, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) looks at a tablet on the sidelines against the Dallas Cowboys in the third quarter at FedEx Field. The Cowboys won 44-17. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Why 2015 is a pivotal Season for RGIII

Remember watching Sean Taylor patrol the invisible part of your TV screen as teams tried in vain to throw deep? It was like having a guardian angel on the field. And remember when the team rallied into the playoffs behind journeyman QB Todd Collins after Sean Taylor’s funeral in 2008?

Or that two-year stretch when they used to chant Chris Cooley’s name? Remember ruining Drew Bledsoe’s first season with the Cowboys? And Santana Moss catching two deep balls in the last three minutes of an MNF game to win by 1 in Dallas?

Chris Cooley remembers. Why else would he be itching so bad for a comeback? Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

You don’t let yourself get spoiled when you root for a team like the Redskins. A friend of mine who roots for the Eagles once told me he liked Redskins fans of all the NFC East options, because they were by far the quietest fan base.

“You know, they tend to be more humble.”

Twenty-three years with just 2 playoff victories will do that to you.

People who don’t understand this recent history discount RG3’s rookie season as an interesting sports factoid, with no real relevance beyond its relationship to its embattled QB. But think about the inscrutability of that season in the historical context I just vomited out for you.

Remember that Approximate Value figure I gave above? RG3’s AV was 18 in his Rookie season. You know who else was an 18 that year? Tom Brady. We led the league in rushing yards with two rookies in the backfield.

We were 5-1 in the NFC East, beating the Cowboys both on Thanksgiving and in the final, division-clinching game of the season. It began with RG3 creating “Griffining,” and ended with an unbelievable seven-game run that culminated in a 200-yard, 3-TD conference clinching performance by the eminently lovable sixth-round draft pick Alfred Morris.

It was their first year, and they won the NFC East for the first time in thirteen years. They were just getting started. Times had finally changed. Help had finally arrived.

And yet, they hadn’t.

Now, if RG3 ends up being a dud like all the other duds, then two things are true that the fan base absolutely cannot emotionally handle right now: 1) our search for a franchise QB is still not over, 22 years after Mark Rypien, and 2) We still have at least 3 years of rebuilding left to do.

If you are a Redskins fan of the Millennial generation, then 2012 was the greatest sports run you have ever experienced. It is the nearest equivalent you have to Boston’s 2004 ALCS rally against the Yankees. To give up on RG3 is to give up our belief that we can have that again, that we deserve to have that, despite our meddling, incompetent owner.

2015 is a pivotal year for RG3, sure. But it’s pivotal for us as well. 2015 will answer this important question: does our team have a future, or only a past?

For now, we just have our hope, and our memories.

Next: RGIII: Excuses to Take him in Your Fantasy Draft

Next: Redskins Rewind: RGIII vs the New York Giants - 2012