The NFC East is the most polarizing division in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles bring an aura of interest because of either their talent or geographical location. The aforementioned teams have combined to win nine Super Bowl titles, the most of any division in the NFL. That statistic also lends to the polarization of the NFC East.
However, the Washington Redskins were not looked upon along the same lines as their divisional rivals. Although the Redskins have won three Super Bowl titles, their recent history has been littered with questionable personnel decisions. As a result, Washington has suffered through numerous losing seasons, as well as being looked upon by their divisional rivals as an easy victory on the schedule.
Not anymore, thanks to Washington finishing with a 10-6 record in 2012, resulting in the franchise’s first NFC East title since 1999. The Redskins’ resurgence can be attributed to two sensational rookies, quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris. They were key components to a Washington offense that proved to be prolific at times, averaging 27 points per game during the 2012 regular season.
Although the Redskins’ season ended in a disappointing home loss to the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC Wild Card playoff game, there is hope for Redskins’ fans. In past years, the franchise had no hope of being a competitive franchise. That’s because Washington consistently traded their draft picks in exchange for free agent players that were well past their prime.
It’s amazing that the Redskins even qualified for postseason play in 2012. Washington lost a total of five starters for the 2012 season due to either injury or suspension. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon missed considerable time with a foot injury. Even Griffin III missed a start due to an injured right ACL. Despite the injuries, Washington played exciting, inspired football after a 3-6 start to win their final seven games and reach the postseason.
Now that the Redskins have proven themselves to be an efficient team, 2013 figures to be an even more exciting year for Washington. The days of being an NFL doormat are over. Washington has enough talent to become competitive in the NFL. If the Redskins are to improve on 2012’s success, Griffin III and Morris must continue to anchor the offense. In addition, linebacker Brian Orakpo, as well as safeties Brandon Meriweather and Tanard Jackson, must return from their 2012 exile to solidify a defensive unit that struggled at times.
It remains to be seen if Washington can improve its fortunes in 2013. Nevertheless, the Redskins’ successful 2012 campaign has NFL fans talking about Washington in other than derisive terms. These are exciting times in the nation’s capital regarding the Redskins, cementing their path to relevance, and maybe much more.