It’s hard to pinpoint the moment the monster was created.
It may have happened when Robert Griffin III lit up the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. It possibly occurred when he torched the Saints in Week One of the 2012 season. It might have been when he flashed his million-dollar smile and his fancy socks after officially becoming the second overall pick in the draft.
There’s a chance it was triggered the moment the Redskins sent three first-round picks and a second-round pick to St. Louis for the future ability to select him.
Regardless, a franchise starved for a franchise quarterback made Griffin the most popular -- and in turn the most powerful -- player on the team, necessarily putting an unproven rookie above his teammates. He proved himself worthy of special treatment during a season that started with sizzle, slid to a 3-6 funk, and ended with an unlikely playoff berth, but the handling of a knee that imploded in the playoffs (I still wonder whether the ACL tear originally happened when he was hit by Haloti Ngata in December) has created a team that has lost its sense of team.
Lost in the current controversy regarding the team’s name is that, as a practical matter, the name changed at some point in the last 20 months. The Redskins no longer are the Redskins. They’re Robert Griffin III and the Redskins, and folks in D.C. are starting to notice that’s not the best way to be successful.
Jason Reid of the Washington Post looks at whether Griffin has the passing ability to ever be elite. Sally Jenkins of the Post explores the more important question -- whether Griffin has become an “unteachable know-it-all” who will always find someone else to blame for his failure to become what many in D.C. had already proclaimed him to be.
We reported earlier in the season that one teammate perceived that coach Mike Shanahan for the first time talked to Griffin as if he were any other player. The media in D.C. seems to now be doing the same.
Next will be the fans, and the end result could be the next new football regime in D.C. deciding whether Griffin or some other quarterback (Kirk Cousins?) gives the team the best possible chance to win a Super Bowl, or two.
Until the guy with the ultimate power to change the name of the team realizes that the team can’t succeed as Robert Griffin III and the Redskins -- and unless Griffin buys in to becoming something other than the face of a still-dysfunctional franchise -- the team will never be known again as Washington Redskins, NFL Champions.