By Parmida Schahhosseini
As the NFL season comes to an end after the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, the NFL teams will be looking back on their season trying to figure out what adjustments they need to make for next season.
The Washington Redskins are no different.
The Redskins have a rich history. They had the heated rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys and won three out of five Super Bowls, but they have not been relevant since 1992, the year they won Super Bowl XXVI.
While they have been in the playoffs a few times, they only won two out of six since then.
In 2010, Mike Shanahan was named the Redskins’ new coach, which brought a small glimmer of hope for the franchise waiting for a turnaround.
People started to question Shanahan, however, after he posted a 6-10 season in his first year and followed that with an abysmal 5-11 record.
While Shanahan never had much to work with in the quarterback position, which included the likes of John Beck and Rex Grossman, 2012 was destined to be a better year because Washington finally found its franchise quarterback.
In 2011 when Shanahan was switching between quarterbacks, one quarterback started to make history—that was Baylor’s own Robert Griffin III.
Griffin and the Baylor Bears began the season with a 50-48 win over No. 14 TCU in which he threw for 359 yards and five touchdowns.
He followed that up with a 10-win season, including a thrilling 38-45 win against Oklahoma at Floyd Casey Stadium in which Griffin threw a touchdown pass with eight seconds left in the game.
Griffin finished off the season winning numerous awards, including the Heisman Trophy, and led the Bears to their first bowl victory since 1992, ironically the same year the Washington Redskins won the Super Bowl.
After the season ended, Griffin decided to enter the NFL Draft.
Before the draft, the Redskins gave up “the farm,” as many people called it, when they traded three first round picks and a second round pick to the St. Louis Rams to move to the second spot to get their franchise player.
The Redskins did indeed pick Griffin with the second overall pick.
While many people thought they traded away the future, Griffin is rejuvenating a once-great football city.
In Griffin’s rookie debut, he out-dueled Drew Brees on the road at the Superdome, completing 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns in the 40-33 win.
Despite big plays from Griffin, the Redskins went 3-6 before the bye week and people began to write them off, but Griffin did not quit and neither did his team.
The Redskins went on to win seven straight games, including a week 17 victory against the Dallas Cowboys for the division title.
Through that win streak, Griffin made Baylor proud as reached the 100 mark in quarterback rating five times, threw 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions during that span.
In the regular season Griffin recorded 3,200 yards, a 102.4 passer rating and 20 touchdowns and five interceptions, which was an NFL low among starting quarterbacks. He is also in the running to win Rookie of the Year.
Griffin was a vital part of the Redskins’ success because there was pressure on him to score since his defense allowed an average of 25 points per game, though he was under the same pressure while at Baylor.
While the defensive unit was ranked 28th in the league, there were some key injuries on that side of the ball, such as linebacker Brian Orakpo and safety Brandon Meriweather.
Despite the shortcomings on defense, Griffin turned this franchise around and made the Redskins relevant again as teams started to consider them a threat.
Their pistol offense was enough to keep defenses on their toes, which allowed for more play action passes and bigger plays down the field.
Injuries to the offense also hurt as they lost tight end Fred Davis for the year and wide receiver Pierre Garcon for parts of the year.
Griffin, however, kept putting up big numbers with his arm and legs leading his team to the playoffs.
The Redskins did lose the wild card game against the Seattle Seahawks, but many feared that they lost their franchise quarterback after Griffin tore his LCL and ACL. Griffin, however continues to be positive and is eyeing a bigger year next year. Who knows, maybe he can come back and have an Adrian Peterson kind of bounce-back year and continue to make Baylor proud.