Sometimes our sports get away from us. We take winning at all costs, because…well, we like to win. But winning the right way is still better. The Redskins’ rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III is more than a great rookie football player, he is a class act.
He is educated, respectful, and has the respect of his veteran teammates. You can tell how good he is off the field by the push-back that he gets from small-minded reporters like Rob Parker of ESPN. Parker questioned Griffin’s blackness based only the idea that he does not act…like Parker.
For people like Parker, a person who transcends race with simple talent is too much to bear. Griffin did something this year that is significant, even to us New York football fans. He brought meaningful football back to a city that loves the game.
The Redskins are a storied franchise. They have been around since 1932. The team not being competitive for so long was bad for football. The revived rivalry bewteen the Dallas Cowboys and the Redskins is healthy for the game. What is more is the fact that Jets fans can look at the turnaround and see that better things are possible.
I spent three years in Washington, where they talk about football 12 months out of the year. The losing seasons were hard to bear, even for a New Yorker just overhearing the frustration. The Redskins may have been on a lucky winning streak in the last seven games, but luck is all you need sometimes.
Griffin is a franchise player, the way the Jets thought Mark Sanchez would be. The difference between the two players? In the case of Sanchez, only the Jets thought he was a franchise player; the world knew Griffin was the real deal.
The Jets can still put winning seasons together without a marquee quarterback. Although we are living in the era of elite quarterbacks, Gang Green can build around that and still improve. Right now, there are a lot of holes in the Jets’ offense.
The way Griffin and the gradual improvement in the last two seasons by head coach Mike Shanahan brought life back to the Redskins, someone can do this for the Jets. To do this, they need to see what has worked in Washington. Instead of grabbing headlines by making stupid moves - like bringing in Tim Tebow only to waste a year of his life on the bench - they need to build without being the circus team that they have become. The mindset in Washington is classier. The mindset in the Jets’ locker room is clownish.
The Redskins are back, and this is good for the fans. The Jets can be at this level in a couple of seasons once they bring in a new general manager and get their offense rolling. If they can draft a good quarterback like Geno Smith of West Virginia, it could prove useful.
Lucky for the Jets, Smith’s Mountaineers ended their season in lackluster fashion, which means that some teams will pass on him. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad teams that will most likely get to choose ahead of the Jets, but that is what good general managing is for – trading up.
The Jets have a long way to go in order to emulate the success in Washington. And people can say that the Redskins have only won a few more games than the Jets, but the Redskins are in a place to have better seasons and the Jets are not…not yet, anyway.
The Jets need a makeover on offense, and they need to keep and fine-tune their defense. As someone who used to watch the Jets play in cold, wet Shea Stadium, it would still do the team better to have its own stadium. But an offense would be a start.
Until then, embrace the good stories in sports…like Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, and the new and improved Washington Redskins.