In the Capital City where expediency trumps ideals and villains seem to out number heros by a wide margin, Robert Griffin III has managed to beat the odds and elevate himself to hero status in just one season. Even on the gridiron, DC has seen few icons recently, as evidenced by the Washington Redskins (10-6) continued failure to win over ten games in a season since the 1991 Super Bowl Champs won fourteen.
However, at this juncture, it matters very little to the Skins that they have once again failed to win over ten games this season; what matters is that with their talented and charismatic rookie signal-caller at the helm, they will be hosting the Seattle Seahawks (10-6) in the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game. RG III is currently all the talk in a town which some say epitomizes being about all talk and no action.
As if totaling over 4,000 combined passing and rushing yards and leading the Skins to a NFC East Division title and a playoff appearance in his first season was not enough, RG III also went out and blasted the NFL record for passer rating by a rookie set by the Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger in his rookie season of 2004. And with a possible rookie of the year award, RG III has certainly set the bar very high for first year quarterbacks.
In terms of his NFL rookie passer rating record, RG III saddles up with some very impressive company. Behind Roethlisberger, ranked fourth on the list is retired Miami Dolphins QB Dan Marino. Rather astonishingly, number two on the list is Griffin’s opponent on Sunday afternoon, Seattle QB Russell Wilson.
Whereas Griffin has done his work in the glare of an internationally renown city with big media, Wilson has managed to put together a torrid second half of the season while toiling in the relative obscurity and reclusiveness of the Pacific Northwest. Under the leadership of Wilson, the Seahawks posted consecutive fifty point games and then hung six touchdowns on the formidable San Francisco 49ers as an encore.
If RG III is a lock for rookie of the year, Wilson currently goes down as one of the greatest steals of the NFL Draft. At 5’11” tall, he was considered too small and passed over by several teams who must now be kicking themselves. With a third rounder, it appears Seattle obtained more than most teams can hope with a first rounder at the quarterback position.
No rookie quarterback has succeeded in leading his team to a Super Bowl victory. After Sunday’s game, Griffin or Wilson will be one step closer in attaining an accomplishment which has only been dreamt about up until now.
In a city where ideals are shattered quicker than a Dan Marino release, two rookie quarterbacks will battle toward their ideal goal of winning an NFL title.