When you hear the word "Fitzmagic" — which is the term that's been assigned to the phenomenon of watching a dialed-in Ryan Fitzpatrick play quarterback — 400-yard passing days and wild, absolute-edge-of-your-seat comebacks are what first comes to mind.
But during his introductory press conference with the Washington media on Thursday, when the Burgundy and Gold's new signal-caller was given a chance to define "Fitzmagic" in his own words, he didn't solely focus on the risky throws and baffling confidence that most associate him with.
Yes, the 38-year-old acknowledged those things certainly are a vital part of who he is — he even explained that this famous picture sums up his aura quite well — but in his mind, it's his unabashed love of football and his peers that truly makes him so, well, magical.
"I tell ya, I just think there's times in games where I just get excited," he said. "I try to play with passion, I try to make sure that rubs off on my teammates and, if you talk to a lot of my former teammates, I think they would tell you they enjoyed playing with me. For me, it's real, it's who I am, I just try to bring guys around me up. That's what I've tried to do for the majority of my career."
What a career its been for the 2005 seventh-round pick from Harvard, too: 16 seasons, eight jerseys (soon to be nine, come Week 1 this fall) and 165 career games so far. And while that amount of travel and that amount of instability might sap the enthusiasm of some pros, Fitzpatrick actually cherishes it.
"Part of my story is skipping around to different teams and just trying to instill belief and trying to just show that passion to these guys," he told reporters. "In Miami, it was getting some guys that maybe didn't believe in themselves before to believe in themselves, to know that they're good players. Those are the things that I love as a quarterback."
When Ron Rivera and his organization moved on from Alex Smith, the move made total sense in a multitude of ways. However, the principle concern about releasing Smith was that the locker room, which had come to trust and admire No. 11, would be impacted by losing such a respected leader.
Fortunately, Smith's replacement under center is one of the few guys, if not the only guy, who has the experience to match Smith's. As Fitzpatrick referenced on Thursday, those at his past stops have appreciated sharing a uniform with him, and that'll make a difference for the 2021 roster.
Of course, Rivera and Washington didn't sign Fitzpatrick to a one-year contract a few months after winning the NFC East just because he's well-regarded as a person. They badly need him to continue his late-30s renaissance after he put up some seriously impressive numbers with the Dolphins, and if he's able to, that'll be an enormous boost for an offense that cycled through four starters in 2020.
Therefore, the club would obviously welcome the kind of "Fitzmagic" that includes clutch fourth-quarter connections while being face-masked and afternoons where he scorches an opponent to the tune of three touchdowns.
Don't discount the other, overlooked side of "Fitzmagic," though, as that'll be key as well. Washington is labeled as a squad that's ascending, and the veteran-of-all-veterans' intangibles, energy and rallying personality have the potential to assist in that rise.
For Rivera, a coach who's attempting to further instill a culture throughout the franchise, Fitzpatrick seems like an ideal figure to advance that effort.
"It's just a new opportunity, it's just a new adventure, a new journey for me," he said. "Those are the things that get me really excited.