[COLUMN] Robert Griffin III has mine and the District's approval
Washington, D.C. has been through a whirlwind of emotion over the past week. Postseason baseball returned to the nation's capital for the first time since the FDR administration. The Nationals won an exhilarating Game 4 in walk-off fashion on Jayson Werth’s home run, all before a heart-breaking collapse in the ninth inning of Game 5, roughly 24 hours later, putting an end to the team's promising season.
But amid the disappointment, sprung a beacon of hope for a sports city that even longtime Washington Post sports columnist Michael Wilbon called "terrible".
Robert Griffin III, the future of the Washington Redskins, put on a performance that hadn't been seen in Washington in, well, ever. A week removed from being knocked from a game with a concussion, the rookie quarterback became the first player in NFL history to throw for a touchdown of 75 yards or more and rush for a touchdown of the same length in a season. Not to mention breaking a 60 year old Redskins record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a season---in only his sixth professional game. And to top it off, ending an eight game home losing streak with a 38-26 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
For Griffin, the accolades and praise never seem to end. I keep waiting for the moment when he comes down to earth, takes off the superhero suit and shows his humanity. But Griffin doesn't break stride.
A bright student (He received his degree in political science in three years and is working on a master's degree in communications at the University of Baylor), a gifted and versatile athlete (Griffin could have qualified for the London Olympics as a hurdler, breaking two Texas state records in the 100M and 300M hurdles), and a charismatic personality (He beat boxed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, wears obscure socks and serenaded his girlfriend with a song he wrote when he proposed), Griffin is in a class of athlete that doesn't’t come around very often. An athlete who loves playing the game but it doesn't’t personify him solely.
Griffin is an endorsers' dream, appearing in a handful of commercials for Adidas and Subway. A well-rounded athlete with a flashy smile and likable demeanor, he is the player that the Redskins have needed, at a position that the team hasn't had a franchise quarterback since Sonny Jurgensen in the 1960s.
For the first time in my lifetime, the Redskins have a legitimate star to cheer for. Not some overpaid, top dollar free agent that the team signs in the off season, only to disappoint in the long run. No, Griffin is a different story. He is a humble superstar who thrills on the field while keeping a clean record off it. Griffin has given the city of Washington, D.C. much needed hope for an abysmal team that has won just one playoff game in the last twelve seasons.
It's surreal how much he is beloved in D.C. and the surrounding area. As I was leaving Game 4 of the Nationals-Cardinals NLDS series, still buzzing from a walk-off win, I passed a street vendor selling t-shirts and hats. Expecting to find a knock-off Jayson Werth shirt or Nationals cap, I was surprised to find the vendor was instead selling RG3 t-shirts and hats. It just goes to show you how much power football plays in this town and the impact the Griffin has brought to the city; a city whose politics tend to overshadow the sports presence for much of the year.
As we near the final stretch of the 2012 presidential election, former Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama will make their final pushes for the Oval Office. Each campaign will intensify, pushing for the last few meters to reach the finish line ahead. But, if you were to ask either candidate whose likability they would want, the answer would be resounding.
After all, Griffin has the highest approval rating in the District.