And it began yesterday in the Super Dome. I have been anticipating Robert Griffin III’s regular season debut since the Redskins traded up in the draft last March. Each step beyond that raised my level of anticipation: the team drafting him in April, the rookie minicamp in May, OTAs in June, training camp in July, and the brief glimpses we’ve gotten in three August preseason games. And yet, I was still trying to be realistic; trying to remember what I wrote in April:
Robert Griffin III: Heisman Trophy winner, former quarterback of the Baylor Bears, and first-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins. After starting over twenty quarterbacks in the last twenty years, the Redskins may finally have their guy. A name to follow Baugh, Jurgensen, and Theismann in the all-too-short list of genuine franchise quarterbacks.
We won’t know until the fall, and even then it may take a few seasons for him to reach his full potential as the leader of a young, stable, consistently winning team. But he has the potential, and he could be great.
I knew the Redskins had a long road ahead no matter how well RGIII played in his debut. I also knew that the Saints don’t lose at home and that they we’re mad at the league and were going to take it out on us. They had the first shot at rattling a rookie quarterback. The first shot at saying: “Welcome to The Big Time™, Bob. Here’s what a real franchise quarterback looks like at the top of his game. Maybe you’ll get there someday , but that day’s not today.”
So I hoped for a good effort, but I expected it to come in a loss. I was wrong, and I am so happy to be wrong.
The Robert Griffin Era began with a bang, and it promises to get better. For now, I’m sticking with what I thought was an optimistic prediction of an 8-8 season, but as tight as the NFC East could be this year, and as surprising as the Redskins already are, who knows what will happen?
The one thing I can say: RGIII is for real. The team knows it, the fans know it, and now the league knows it. The NFL is on notice. I have seen the future, and the future is now.