This past week has already brought Griffin two more distinctions: He’s now the second quarterback to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 750 (Randall Cunningham did it in 1990) and only the second rookie at the position to make the Pro Bowl. The other: oh, just Dan Marino.
No Redskins or Cowboys quarterback has ever been as good and as famous as quickly as Griffin. He’s even flipped the notion of America’s Team. This week, a national ESPN poll showed that 49 states and 73 percent of fans were rooting for the Redskins in this showdown.
But the Cowboys did carry Texas. Given time, Dallas owner Jerry Jones, meddler-in-chief, could even change that. He’s already dragged a dynasty down to mediocrity (128-127 the last 16 years). The big-picture dynamics in play are that Griffin is ascending as Romo has reached a plateau. And Jones refuses to cede authority on personnel even as Washington team owner Daniel Snyder appears to have taken his hands out of the Redskins machinery.
To those who’ve watched the whole inter-team saga and seen all of this several times before, the plot is familiar and haunting. You know the theme, but you don’t know the timing. When does “mostly losing” turn to “mostly winning?” Does it happen in one game or over a couple of years?
Also, these teams love to thwart each other; Dallas may be tougher to beat because it hears the Redskins pounding on the door.
The Cowboys can’t do anything about the arrival of Griffin or Alfred Morris, who needs 87 yards for 1,500 on the season, or the pistol any more than the Redskins could when Aikman arrived or Staubach ran the shotgun. The next chapter of the Cowboys-Redskins novel has already been roughed out. The details? Will the Redskins merely be good with RGIII or, eventually, exceptional? Was Thanksgiving in Texas Stadium foreshadowing for Sunday night or a red herring to throw us off the trail?
All this has happened before. “History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme a lot.” One team’s story arc ages, another’s tale suddenly gets a rewrite. Once the transition is complete, fans and franchises sometimes feel like it takes an eternity before the next script flip. The Cowboys once had things their way for almost 20 years, the Redskins ruled for as much as a decade.
That’s the longer-term story that hangs over this one dramatic Sunday night game. The Redskins love their future and can’t wait to see the next chapter. More than likely, all the Cowboys can do is read it and weep.
For previous columns by Thomas Boswell, visit washingtonpost.com/boswell.