There is no one to skewer today — no coach, player or team to fillet. Even the woeful Wizards feel like less of a target and more like the relative in recovery that you pray for but don’t yet allow back to holiday gatherings until they sober up.
With 2013 closing in, with days before a win-or-go home, NBC-In-Da-House, Redskins-Cowboys game at FedEx Field, let’s pause for a moment to commemorate the thrill ride experienced the past 12 months.
Okay, great. Now back to all RGIII, all the time.
There is, of course, no renaissance to speak of among District-represented pro teams if not for the late-night deal brokered in March by Mike “I Told You My Way Was the Right Way” Shanahan for the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft that became Robert Griffin III — who, in just 14 dizzying games, has become the primary answer to Washington’s legitimacy as a bona fide sports town.
But for all the Merry Griffmas mania, the Bryce-is-Naughty-and-Nice hyperbole and the debate over one golden, if surgically repaired, young arm, the guy who got 2012 rolling in earnest was the furthest thing from a kid.
A codger named Davey, pushing 70, kick-started the whole thing in February.
Remember Davey Johnson, answering a Comcast SportsNet question by saying he would in fact be disappointed if the Nationals didn’t make the playoffs in 2012? And that if a team that had lost a combined 205 games in 2008 and 2009 and had never been to the postseason didn’t make it,“you know, and they can fire me.”
After a jolting ride that came within a strike of the National League Championship Series, the Nationals re-upped their soon-to-be-70-year-old manager for one year. Davey promptly raised the bar again this month, telling audience members as he accepted an award from the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, “Next year is going to be my last year and I’m going to go out with my fourth World Series ring.”
What drama, no? For the first time in forever it seems every big-revenue sports team in this town but the Wizards will enter next season as a genuine championship contender. The worry is no longer when the Nats and Redskins will get it together but instead whether they can beat the Caps to the city’s first major pro team championship since 1992.
Most people who witnessed the Redskins’ last Super Bowl would discount any year ending in a loss as coming up short on the all-time list. The logic being that no matter how special the Nats were in their breakout season, no matter how scintillating RGIII’s high-stepping down the sidelines looked in slow motion against the Vikings, no one raised the grail.
Fine, but finding a year with more headlines, finding a 12-month journey with just as much euphoria as mind-numbing pain, will be tough.
From incredible high to gut-wrenching low, at the least 2012 has tested the nerves of the Washington sports fan.
After Davey’s dare in February, March 9 goes down in history — the night that mock drafts featuring Ryan Tannehill or Justin Blackmon going to Washington at No. 6 didn’t matter anymore. Shanahan bet the house on Griffin, moving up to secure the No. 2 pick in a deal that featured three first-round picks shipped to St. Louis.