WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Relive chapter 1 of Robert Griffin III's rookie season as a Redskin.
March 9th, 2012 -- The Redskins trade for Robert Griffin III
What to remember: If you love the Washington Redskins, March 9th should be celebrated like a national holiday. And if you recall the reaction the trade news stirred up one year ago, it mildly recreated some of those jubilant feelings felt in January 1992, you know, the last time Redskins fans watched Joe Gibbs get drenched with Gatorade. Twenty years and two months after Super Bowl XXVI in Minnesota, March 9th put New Year's Eve to shame. It was better than Trick-or-Treating for the million who worship the burgundy and gold. Random people were embracing each other with high fives and hugs in all sorts of public settings. Cars were beeping their horns in tune with "RG3!" chants. Area residents were literally and psychically drunk off of the news. The pure euphoria on Redskins fans faces -- and sunken stares of disbelief from Cowboys, Giants and Eagles brass -- provided the city with a numbing feeling, and this time a positive emotion for a change. Indeed the first chapter was born.
What we know now: Patience is the mightiest of virtues. And those draft picks were totally worth it.
April 24th, 2012 -- RGIII Meets the D.C. Media
What to remember: I first met Griffin in a Subway sandwich shop in Manhattan, on a Tuesday at 1 p.m. A marketing genius, Griffin would tally the most money ever for a rookie on endorsements before ever touching the field. All four local television stations were in attendance. All three local major newspapers had representatives, in addition to WTOP, WTEM and WKJF radio. The moment Griffin strolled out of a big black SUV with an entourage of marketing people and agents, enthusiasm and nerves crept into the tiny Subway. But Griffin was at ease and thrived in the chaotic atmosphere -- flashing lights, 15 microphones inches from his face, bloggers and cameramen standing on chairs with cameras. Rocking his green Subway socks and toothy smile, Griffin did what he does best: he won over the crowd. He swooned for roughly 35 minutes and told us "see ya Thursday." There's one additional sentence the quarterback preached to the crowd, which turned out to be the truest thing he's ever said: "You can't play the game scared." Fear is something the confident and collected Griffin doesn't have to do deal with.
What we know now: Griffin's media intrigue was even better than we originally anticipated. He's an open book. He's honest about everything. He'll even drop a joke once every few days. He gets it. Congress honestly needs more people like him. It became clear the local public was about to become infatuated with every move he made.
April 26th, 2012 -- Redskins select Griffin No.2 overall in NFL Draft
What to remember: It was the least speculative NFL draft the Redskins have ever been involved in. Griffin became the answer to the 20-year question mark at signal caller. Bye-bye Patrick Ramsey; hello Mr. Heisman.
What we know now: Dan Snyder was no longer the face of the Redskins franchise. Disrespecting the Redskins organization and chastising Washington's front office decison making was now a challenge for snarky NFL media professionals.
May 18th, 2012 -- Griffin appears on Jay Leno
What to remember: This was a significant moment for someone like myself who grew up in the Washington D.C. area. Previous sports stars from the nation's capital -- Gilbert Arenas, Alex Ovechkin, hell even Cal Ripken Jr. -- were too bland to be celebrated on a national level. Not anymore. Before he even stepped onto the field, Griffin's charm was winning over neutral fans.
What we know now: RGIII can beat beatbox and also NBC executives probably took note of Griffin's mass appeal. Although it would be hard to top Peyton Manning, hosting Saturday Night Live in the years to come is a distinct possibility. Griffin embraces his celebrity to a T.
Late July 2012 -- Shanahan puts Griffin's locker next to London Fletcher's
What to remember: Rich Campbell has the full story here. Mike Shanahan brilliantly forced this to happen, recognizing Griffin's god given talent in uniting all types of cliques together. Griffin's present leadership and serious practice tendencies made less talented players -- Josh Morgan, Alfred Morris etc -- believe they could flourish in this offense. Being negative were the Redskins of old. The Fletcher/Griffin leadership duo turned out to be a lethal combination for NFC East foes. Teammates bought in. Griffin's locker space later caused a stir when it was revealed he housed figurines of Spider Man and the Incredible Hulk, and several motivational quotes.
What we know now: Even if Fletcher retires following the 2013 season, Griffin will remember and cherish their relationship. In fact, I'll almost argue that Griffin willed himself to play in the Seattle playoff game out of his admiration for Fletcher's consecutive game streak. Let that sink in. It makes total sense.
July 26th, 2012 -- Redskins unveil pistol formation during training camp
What to remember: I remember vividly Redskins public relations officials expressed Coach Shanahan's displeasure with reporters tweeting out the Redskins new-look offense, which in hindsight makes a ton of sense. Remember, Washington didn't use the formation once during the preseason, which at the time made the pistol seem like a gimmicky practice routine. I even wrote that Griffin seemed to be playing scared and that Alfred Morris could be a sleeper.
What we know now: Little did we know at the time that Kyle Shanahan was about to put his stamp all up and down NFL film rooms. His pistol offense not only catapulted the Redskins to shatter franchise rushing records set by 'The Hogs', it arguably put San Francisco in the Super Bowl and nearly made Russell Wilson nab the Rookie of the Year award from RGIII. More colleges are going to experiment with running quarterbacks, meaning this trendy offense in the NFL is not on its way out.
August 25h, 2012 -- RGIII vs. Andrew Luck round 1
What to remember: It had buzz like any other preseason game in recent football memory. Which is basically saying you drank 10 O'Douls beers. This was the first time Griffin ever noticeably got irritated over the ever-prevalent Andrew Luck questions he'd been asked repeatedly. Perturbed and all, Griffin still managed fired off this gem: "It's not just something you can push away. It's going to be there our entire careers."
What we know now: Could a Luck vs. Griffin Super Bowl be the NFL's answer to Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird? It was that easy to tell in August these two players were bust-proof.
September 9th, 2012 -- "Griffining"
What to remember: Even though Pierre Garcon's legs were mostly responsible, Griffin's 88-yard score might go down as the most iconic first touchdown pass in NFL history. Merchandise and cameo's of "Griffining" went viral for the following month.
What we know now: As much as I have and will continue to praise Griffin, this moment for me is near the bottom of his dozens during chapter 1. Sorry, but I'm violently sick of Tebowing, Harlem Shaking, Planking, Gangam Styling, etc. The people who watch YouTube for hours at a time are making our country a dumber place. Sorry, cynical rant over.
September 30th, 2012 -- First fourth quarter comeback
What to remember: Some of you won't vividly recall Griffin's stellar game at Tampa Bay (26-35, 323 passing yards, 36 yards rushing, one rushing touchdown). With 1:56 left on the clock, RGIII engineered a seven play, 56-yard drive, culminating in a Billy Cundiff (lol) game winning kick. Griffin's 15-yard scramble was one of his most underrated plays all season.
What we know now: After this win, there was almost little doubting that Griffin was already a more equipped competitor than Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman, and most other gunslingers the Redskins would play. Griffin's missile of an arm, lively legs, lack of turnovers and decison making were undeniable, even to his loudest NFC East naysayers. A 22-year-old rookie from Baylor had established himself as Washington's most valuable asset, just four games into the season. Griffin said following the win, "You want the ball in your hands. When something has to happen, you make it happen. And that's what we did."
October 7th, 2012 -- First Concussion
What to remember: Question time for you. How many scrambles did Robert Griffin III have in this game against Atlanta? Come on, take a guess. The drive in which he received a concussion was the his FIRST and ONLY scramble of the game. Griffin later admitted he got too risky on the dash next to the sideline. Slate.com does a wonderful job of statistically proving quarterbacks are just as likely to get hurt in the pocket as they are out of it.
What we know now: If Mike Shanahan had followed suit with several Washington Post columnists, Brian Mitchell, much of the 106.7 brass, and half of the fan base, and put RGIII in a Rex Grossman 2011-style offense, the Redskins would've tanked. They would've folded, RGIII-damned and all. Without a pistol formation, you'd see Alfred Morris' impact nearly cut in half. The threat of Griffin's legs joined by his fearless mindset left Kyle Shanahan with no choice but to design some of Griffin's runs through the option, instead letting him roam completely wild. Several Fox, ESPN and CBS commentators would note throughout the season how Redskins wide receivers get unbelievably wide open thanks to the pistol/option.
October 14th, 2012 -- "The Run"
What to remember: People tend to forget, this 76-yard scamper to glory took place just two days after the Nationals were eliminated in one of baseball's biggest heartbreaks, EVER. Griffin's touchdown run was like NyQuil and chicken soup for the wounded city of D.C.
What we know now: You know how some diehard 'Skins fans have that poster of John Riggins fourth-and-one run from Super Bowl XVII? I bet in 15 years fans will add Griffin's peak-back at the lone Vikings defender. It was a you-remember-where-you-were, this-type-of-play-never-happens moment.
October 14th, 2012 -- Fred Davis nicknames RGIII "Black Jesus."
What to remember: We all heard this, laughed, and also secretly agreed.
What we know now: If Davis is still convinced Griffin is Jesus, and he leaves Jesus in free agency, he's going to hell, right? Also I wonder if RG has called to talk to Davis at all during this process. I wonder if/when Griffin will get involved in free agency and draft decisions. You know Snyder would be tickled to have him in a meeting room setting.
November 4th, 2012 -- Rock Bottom
What to remember: Mike Shanahan's quote after the loss to Carolina: "Now you're playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come. Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we're at." Of course Shanny argued his quotes were misconstrued but there was a good portion of redneck radio callers and distraught bloggers agreeing with Shanahan sentiment about evaluation mode.
What we know now: How about the real leader, Griffin's quote: "The media will say your record is what you are, but I just don't feel like our record is what we are." Griffin loved the challenge of putting Baylor on the map and certainly wasn't going to simply fold because the cards were stacked against him in D.C.
November 22nd, 2012 -- Turkey Day in Dallas
What to remember: NFL fans love to see Dallas, and particularly Tony Romo, suffer. Griffin granted the people their wish by beating the stuffing out of the Cowboys -- before a late Dez Bryant powered rally. Washington led 28-3 at one point in the first half, evoking memories of Super Bowl XXII and Doug Williams. Griffin was utterly flawless, throwing darts over the middle to Garcon and jet fighter bombs 60-yards to Aldrick Robinson. It really was like watching art, in front of a national audience albeit. All of a sudden, playing Dallas was fun again. The Cowboys were inferior now. The Redskins were the bullies. A torch had been passed.
What we know now: The Redskins were officially back in the playoff hunt. And some baby from Arizona has to be named Robert Griffin because of the quarterbacks March 9th trade vindicating performance. Also, beating Dallas is all that matters to 'Skins fans over the age of 55. So he's super cool with them now.
December 9th, 2012 -- The beginning of RG-Knee
What to remember: The injury saga that continues to ache many a heart across the D.C. area began on this misty Sunday at Fed Ex Field. On a 2nd-and-19 play with less than two minutes remaining -- aka four-down territory -- Griffin felt pressure up the middle, and whisked towards the left sideline. After gaining a decent six-or-so yards, Griffin did what any scrambling quarterback in the league would've done, bolting up field instead of out-of-bounds. He took a cringe-worthy blow to his left knee from Haloti Ngata. Remember Griffin returned to the game for four pretty productive plays, before an intentional grounding. Kirk Cousins pulled a comeback against the Super Bowl champs out of his ass, in what was one of the most compelling games in Fed Ex Field history.
What we know now: It all makes sense now. Griffin left the game against Baltimore for a snap, brought himself back in the game, played four more snaps until he couldn't stand any longer. RGIII went 2/3 for 37-yards, putting the Redskins at the 16-yardline. At that very moment, it's arguable he's as injured if-not more than he was against Seattle in the second half. Griffin produced against Baltimore and I believe could've potentially produced against Seattle.
December 3, 2012 -- Monday Night Upset
What we remember: I remember the luckiest fumble recovery ever, and thinking this team could do no wrong. By the time December 3rd had arrived, Griffin's best games of the season were long gone. Regrettably for Washington opponents, the Redskins roster had completely bought into Griffin and the defense had new life following the bye week. Alfred Morris, Rob Jackson and Griffin's 72 rushing yards gave the Redskins a 17-16 victory.
What we know now: Griffin's rushing totals against the Giants: 14 carries, 161 yards which equals 11.5 yards per carry.There's a reason the New York coaching staff is chatting with college coaches about how to stop the read option.
December 13th, 2012 -- "Cornball Brother"
What to remember: Journalism at its lowest form.
What we know now: It's sad that our country has to acknowledge manufactured dirt on ESPN 2's First Take and over cover it. As racist and absurd as a comment it was, it was even more our fault for continuing to rant about it for days. We all need to learn to ignore certain sports tabloid stories. Also we learned its impossible to say anything negative towards Griffin.
December 17th, 2012 -- RGIII has the top selling jersey
What to remember: This was bound to happen.
What we know now: How many years does he stay in the top three?
December 30th, 2012 -- Clinching the NFC East
What to remember: Adrian Peterson was mashing his way towards the coveted NFL rushing record against the hated Green Bay Packers -- and that game didn't come close to consideration for being flexed to NBC for Sunday Night Football. With wind chills in the teens, Robert Griffin had revived the Redskins from its deathbed, rallying his troops for just another battle, breathing confidence onto anything that came into his path. Even on what probably was his least effective game of his first season, RGIII protected the football, which was all Mike Shanahan needed him to do. If Tony Romo throws just one interception, Dallas would've won. Griffin to Romo after the game: "Hey Tony. I just wanted to say to you, don't listen to what anybody else
is saying about you. You're a great quarterback, man. And this game
doesn't mean anything." Griffin knew that would make it sting even worse for Romo. Because there's no way Romo would've done the same had Dallas won.
What we know now: Read more here about my reaction the day after Washington D.C. had their first Redskins division title since 1999. The prodigy, on a gimpy leg and all, has his franchise two-four years ahead of schedule.
January 6th, 2013 -- Griffin tears his LCL
What to remember: Seattle was a much better football team than Washington, even with a fully healthy Griffin III. Whether you agreed or disagreed with Shanahan's decison (I agreed), its' over and done with. My biggest pet peeve about this decison is that most of the people ripping Shanahan for leaving RGIII in the game are the same ones who would pile on Shanny for pulling Griffin any earlier. The aftermath with the Dr. James Andrews situation was humongous black eye for Shanahan, because it all felt like a cover up.
What we know now: Griffin's quotes and tendencies about fearlessness are littered all throughout this chapter 1 essay. This situation was bound to play out during some point of his career. You know by now Griffin has a London Fletcher makeup in his character, willing his body through anything. Taming that inner fire must now be dually (and cooperatively) judged by Griffin himself, Mike Shanahan and the doctors. RGIII will strongly oppose the coddling about his health during the 2013 season, but that's life for a franchise dual-threat quarterback.
February 2nd, 2013 -- Rookie of the Year
What to remember: Alec Baldwin hosted the NFL Award's Show, roasting Andrew Luck for his neckbeard. He tossed a softball at RGIII about him starring in loads of commercials. Luck is such an easy target.
What we know now: "Sometimes it's not what you get for your team, it's what your willing to give for them," Griffin said as he closed his acceptance speech on stage in New Orleans.
Chapter 2: Coming in July from Richmond, VA.