By Mark Pierce
Scratch the surface of any football sports site this time of year and you will likely find presented for your entertainment written articles which are chiefly predictive in their nature. They are ubiquitous. Fans love them. They concern themselves with questions like: How will my team do this year? Where in the pecking order does my team stack up against other teams? Given what we now know about the wildly expanded pre-season roster, how will the offense fare? The defense? And on and on. These are natural topics to deliberate when there is no true news to report.
Unfortunately, these late June flights of fantasy about how good a team can be can represent the best and most memorable portion of the football calendar for some fans. How blissful to lie on a shaded back yard hammock and imagine hometown greatness, eh? Those seventh round picks? Pro Bowlers in June. Real suffering must only commence in September, when the games count.
I’m not naming teams, I’m not naming names. Well, ok I am, but I’m also saying I’ve had the experience of imagining better teams in the summertime. So have many other Washington Redskin fans. Sadly, many young erstwhile fans have only associated feelings of despair and loss for a team that has remained so blatantly and chronically inept for so long. People who grew up watching their father watching the Redkins lose. That is tragic, to me. I want young Redskins fans to at least have the chance to feel otherwise. There may be that chance this year.
In the coming season, reams of material will be written and recorded about Robert Griffin III and his deep and lasting impact on the Washington Redskins. His every move, personally and professionally, will be scrutinized. There is a massive pressure inherent in the role of franchise savior. Given this brutal exposure, it is fair to surmise that comparisons to other quarterbacks, however clumsy and inexpert, will be made in abundance. In short, like all saviors, Griffin will be made to suffer fools gladly.
In this instance, Griffin suffers the bad fortune of having to follow Cam Newton’s record breaking rookie season, and he will no doubt be forced to endure relentless questioning concerning similarities or differences in their games. The same holds true for Andrew Luck. He and RGIII will be endlessly analyzed as a pair. In fact, a strong case could be made that these three players– Griffin, Newton and Luck are early favorites to dominate the football story lines in the coming season, based on sheer ability alone.
Ultimately, the stat that matters appears under the column labeled W. So, how will these three potentially great quarterbacks affect the outcome of games? That is how success will be measured. Can Newton build on last year’s eye opening performance? Can Luck do anything at all with a team that has been completely gutted? And what about Griffin? He’s taking over an improved team that is nonetheless regarded as nothing special. Much remains to be seen.