LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Imagine the Washington Redskins without Robert Griffin III. Is there any chance the team could have gone on an improbable seven-game winning streak to capture their first division title since 1999?
Poll your friends, family and colleagues and you’ll repeatedly hear the same answer — no. No way, in fact.
And yet, Washington came perilously close to slugging along without Griffin, still searching for their first franchise quarterback in seemingly forever. Had it not been for an otherwise meaningless game at the end of the 2011 season, things would be a lot different in Washington.
That game carried with it enormous stakes for the Redskins… and they weren’t even playing.
If the Jacksonville Jaguars had not eked out a 19-13 victory over the lowly Indianapolis Colts, who were 2-13 at the time, Griffin may very well have been Peyton Manning’s successor — not Andrew Luck.
A win would have knocked Indianapolis off the top of the draft board and into the No. 2 spot where the Heisman Trophy winner was ultimately selected.
Colts owner Jim Irsay confirms the team would have selected RGIII with the second-overall pick and still moved on from Manning. Luck, presumably, would still have been taken with the first overall pick.
And if Griffin were to have sported blue on Sundays, not only would things be different in Washington, but the happy-legged quarterback would have had a night and day rookie season.
“I wouldn’t have exposed him to injury in the same way they have in Washington,” Irsay told The Indianapolis Star. “My philosophy on quarterbacks is, first and foremost, you’ve got to keep them healthy and on the field.”
And keeping them healthy and on the field requires in a less “run-happy” system in Irsay’s eyes.
Which begs the question, would Griffin have been as successful as a Colt?