Before we turn the page on that 2013 Redskins season, let’s pause a moment to recall some of the worst media predictions made about that season before it imploded in a cloud of burgundy smoke and burned Subway sandwiches.
And let me note that my predictions, about the Redskins and every other topic, are always laughably, horribly wrong. I predicted the over-unders for eight recent football contests in a strictly recreational pool, and went 2-6. I predicted the Redskins would win 10 games. I also wrote this, as Eagles fans reminded me after every single win:
Chip Kelly’s NFL debut: 77 plays, 443 yards, 33 points. Spurrier’s NFL debut: 73 plays, 442 yards, 31 points.
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) September 10, 2013
So I’m not saying I’m better than my peers. I’m just saying it’s fun to laugh at them.
The Express columnist wrote a preseason column brimming with optimism.
There may be something super about this Washington Redskins season. It looks like another NFC East crown and 10-6 mark, but this time, the Redskins won’t rely as heavily on quarterback Robert Griffin III and with a little momentum might even reach the Super Bowl. Crazy, huh?
Preseason usually shows nothing about a team, but this year, it revealed everything about the Redskins. The past month proved they have enough offensive playmakers and sound backup quarterbacks to score even without Griffin extensively running the zone read.
Washington is not the NFL’s best team, but the Redskins are among the NFC’s top four and should be quite dangerous come playoff time. … This is the deepest roster Washington has had since its 1991 Super Bowl championship….
The key for the postseason is whether Washington can win 12 games to get a first-round bye and home-field advantage. … The only team Washington might fear in the NFC playoffs is Seattle, which has eliminated the Redskins three times since 2005. Otherwise, fans shouldn’t duck any opponent and bet the over in total points each week.
The ESPN.com beat writer and former Postie is usually among the most sober of Redskins reporters. Here was his preseason prediction:
There are enough underlying issues that could spoil the season. But we’ll stick with 10-6 and, as long as Griffin is healthy, a trip to the NFC Championship Game.
My colleague, who is the best of the best, wrote a preseason column angry at Las Vegas oddsmakers for disregarding Washington’s Super Bowl chances.
There’s disrespect in sports and then there’s just a downright in-your-face insult. I get it when ESPN.com’s baseball page says that the Nationals have only a 3.4 percent chance to make the playoffs. But when the Post sports section runs “Odds to win Super Bowl XLVIII” and Washington is the 15th pick at 35-to-1 (2.9 percent) my eyes roll back in my head. …
The NFL is (repeat after me) a quarterback league, a head coach league, a playmaker league, a pass-rusher league and a left-tackle league. The Redskins have ’em. There aren’t 14 teams better stocked at those spots, no way. …
I didn’t say they should be Super Bowl favorites, or second or third or fourth. I just said that you have to be nuts to think an RGIII-Shanny team that’s the defending NFC East champion and won its last seven games (some with Griffin gimpy) has only one-fifth the chance at the Lombardi Trophy as the Seahawks (7 to 1). …
What’s up? Is virtually everyone in Washington completely blind to a multitude of Redskins flaws? Does the smart money know that RGIII’s knee isn’t really healed; or that an antidote for the read option has been found; or that Bad Mike has gone soft and turned into Sunshine Shanny?
Put me down for “none of the above.” What we’ve got is entrenched Redskins Hating — building for 20 years, often for good reason. It dies hard.
The CSN Washington and Real Redskins blogger was asked before the season if Washington would finish over or under 10.5 wins. He went over.
I don’t think this is a slam-dunk by any means given the schedule. … But it’s a quarterback league and with RG3 the Redskins will either be on equal footing at the most important position on the field or will have a clear advantage in 14 of their 16 games (exceptions are the matchups against Aaron Rogers and Peyton Manning). I don’t think that they will be a juggernaut or anything but I do see them getting to 11 wins.
The ESPN 980 host presides over several of my favorite sports-radio segments every week. He also admittedly has a soft spot for the Redskins.
Sheehan predicted the results of 13 games on his blog this season. These predictions were written within a few days of each game being played. In the games he predicted, Sheehan had the Redskins going 9-4. In those games, they actually went 3-10.
The official site of the team got especially excited during the third quarter of the final preseason game against Tampa Bay
If there’s one word to describe the first half of the Washington Redskins’ preseason finale it’d be domination – or whatever you use to describe a game where one team has more touchdowns (three) than the other has first downs (two) that’s what it’s been. Barring one play, Pat White’s second quarter interception after a linebacker jumped a slant route, the Redskins have looked every bit the part of Super Bowl contender.
Theismann could look at several large squashes dressed in Redskins uniforms and predict 11 wins, at least. So this one wasn’t a surprise. But still.
“I think this Redskins football team, in all honesty, can contend for a title,” he told the Redskins Blog.
The Washington Times columnist and ESPN 980 host had the Redskins finishing 10-6, which isn’t excessively crazy. He also had them losing to the Broncos in the Super Bowl, which … well … it’s getting there.
My pal, formerly with WUSA, wrote a fairly optimistic preview on that station’s Web site:
As unpredictable as the NFL regular season can be, barring a catastrophic RGIII injury, I’ll be stunned if the Redskins miss the playoffs….The Redskins have the most complete team and the most upside in the NFC East. Keep filling that bathtub with Kool-Aid, burgundy and gold faithful.
Admit it, you’ve been waiting for this one. Honestly, I think in the context of all these other people, The Post columnist’s 12-4 prediction looks a lot better. He just got ahead of the curve by writing it in July instead of August.
Although the Redskins aren’t yet built to return to the game’s highest level (the defense still isn’t where it needs to be), they’ll be a perennial winner again, which is something they haven’t been since the 1980s and early 1990s. The Redskins will win 12 games and their second NFC East title in as many seasons. Count on it.
My other best friend in the world joined me and Jason Reid in early September in making “bold predictions” for the 2013 season. This was LaVar’s:
“A definitive transition into being considered an elite team. I think that’s pretty bold, because they’ve been a joke for a long time.”
Reid said the Redskins would win a playoff game. I said this would be Kirk Cousins’s final season in Washington.
Frankly, there wasn’t a whole lot of doubt from any WaPo columnist heading into the season. Wise’s preseason column seemed to be poking fun at the runaway optimism, but it closed with what appeared to be a serious prediction of 9-7:
9-7 qualifies Washington for wild-card status, and RGIII and the fellas beat Green Bay and Atlanta on the road in January and make it all the way to the NFC championship game — where Kirk Cousins is intercepted three times after halftime and they lose in Seattle, 34-31. Shanahan is roundly criticized for not playing a gimpy RGIII the entire second half, but saves his job and gets a three-year contract extension for worrying about health concerns before his Hall of Fame bust in Canton.
There was also this, from a chat:
Q: Boz, can you please address the numerous people who say that RGIII’s high passer rating, completion pct., and yards per attempt numbers were easily achieved and merely a function of an offense geared toward very short passes?
A: Anybody who can’t see Griffin’s talents as a passer either has a vision problem or an agenda problem.