Of all the numbers that illustrate Griffin’s importance to the Redskins, here’s the best: Zero. That’s how many NFC East championships the team has won in the past 13 seasons. Washington will host Dallas on Sunday night in a winner-claims-the-title finale that simply wouldn’t have occurred without Griffin.
After more years of being an NFL afterthought than its supporters would care to remember, Washington rocketed back to relevance in 2012 because of Griffin’s ability to pass and run better than any first-year quarterback in the game’s history.
“He’s a tremendous threat in both,” said New York Giants Coach Tom Coughlin
, echoing the sentiment of frustrated coaches throughout the league. “Have we worked against a guy that’s as fast and elusive as Robert? No.”
Each week, opponents focus their efforts on shutting down Griffin’s highlight-film performances. They study countless hours of tape in the hope of grounding him. But Griffin keeps on rising. “It’s like telling Superman not to fly,” Baltimore superstar safety Ed Reed said.
The Redskins became a factor on the field again during their current, stunning six-game winning streak. With Griffin injured, backup quarterback Kirk Cousins played well late in one of the victories and had a superb start during another. Some might argue that Cousins’s performances showed Griffin isn’t as important to the Redskins as he seems. But anyone who thinks that simply doesn’t understand the Griffin Effect.
The Redskins now expect to win. No matter the opponent, they believe they will. Griffin’s performance has inspired his teammates to believe more in themselves. “Early on, it was like, ‘Wow, we’ve got a great quarterback,’ ” nose tackle Barry Cofield said. “Now you look around and say, ‘We’ve got a great team and we’re all doing this together.’ Robert got us going. Every guy on our team has built on it.”
The Griffin Effect spread quickly. The District is abuzz about the franchise that defines it as a sports city more than any other.
Rooting for our favorite teams inspires a feeling of community. When the top ballclub in town is riding high, it seems that everyone is a little friendlier and the commute to the office isn’t as long. Heck, even the water-cooler chatter is more interesting. Life around these parts is a whole lot better when the Redskins are winning. That’s why Griffin’s approval rating is 100 percent.