As the Redskins’ romped through their brand new Richmond training facility to delirious cheers this mild summer, the vibe was they were on roll. Not a stale old bun, like usual, but an honest to goodness roll.
A trip to Super Bowl 48 wasn’t too much to imagine, really.
RGIII wasn’t quite walking on water, but he was showing up in more TV commercials than any other sporting star in recent history. More, even, than that twitchy owner of Papa John’s Pizza.
It didn’t matter that this amazing Heisman trophy winner had one of his superfast-but-skinny legs all but broken off at the knee the season before.
Even the usual drumbeat about the team’s offensive name couldn’t put us on the defensive.
Because we believed!
Then the season started.
Every week it seemed certain they would get going. How could they not?
And now it’s over. Three and 10. RGIII benched for the season. (Of course, they’ll win the rest of their games with back-up quarterback Kirk Cousins.)
It’s enough to make longtime season ticket holder Stephen Wilson consider giving up his seats.
“The defense has been bad,” Wilson said. “The special teams has been bad. The offense has been bad. Griffin has been bad. The coaching has been bad.”
Former Richmond City Council mainstay Marty Jewell – who held out his vote for the Redskins training camp till the last minute – has been a die-hard Redskins fan for more than three decades.
“They put a young man out there way before he was ready,” Jewell said, shaking his head. “ And they had excellent bench quarterbacks. Some of this is numbskull behavior. What the ham sandwich is this?!”
There are many fans in Richmond outraged that their favorite quarterback has been benched and blamed for the team’s poor performance. Yes, many of them instead blame the offensive line for not giving their beloved RGIII a chance to work his magic.
But many others, like Jewell, who say Griffin wasn’t ready – emotionally or physically – to captain a team when his confidence wasn’t at its peak. Some placed the blame squarely on coach Mike Shanahan.
But then there are those – mainly just me – who believe there may be a curse.
The curse of the Richmond Redskins Training Camp.
Ridiculous? Of course.
It came to me because I hoped with all my heart that the Redskins would win the Super Bowl so we could take partial credit for it. After all, we gave them that lavish, loving welcome to their new season of hope!
But if they rushed out and did a great big belly flop . . . well, I don’t see how we can escape being a part of that as well. (BTW, every time they move to a new park, they do this.)
Plus, while I was out talking to people for this story, I met this mysterious Green Bay fan walking on West Broad Street who said he works right across the street from the new park.
“So I had to go over there and put the curse on ‘em,” he admitted on camera. “That’s why I went over there on opening day.”
I posted this observation about the training park curse on Facebook. And, of course, most everyone thought I was a complete idiot.
But many said there IS a curse on the Washington Redskins. They even named it in a surprisingly harmonious voice:
Team owner Daniel Snyder.
But what do they know?