Sunday November 20, 2011 could not have possibly gone much better for the Washington Redskins.
The Seattle Seahawks won. The Miami Dolphins won. And the Redskins lost in very entertaining fashion while looking to be a much improved team from what we had seen the previous several weeks. The Redskins actually looked like a quality team while still managing to maintain their draft position. Perfect.
The only thing that could have gone better on Sunday would be if Peyton Manning (or Johnny Unitas for that matter) miraculously returned to the field for the Indianapolis Colts and guided them to their first of six consecutive wins.
The Redskins lost to their biggest rivals in the Dallas Cowboys, and for once, that's okay. For once, losing to the Cowboys was in Washington's best interest. I'm not going to say I was rooting for the Cowboys, but the end result was exactly what we expected going in, and it wasn't disappointing. It was actually downright enjoyable.
So how does one manage to detach oneself emotionally from a team that one has supported since birth? It’s easier than it sounds really. When I watch a Redskins game now, I just pretend that I’m watching a fairly entertaining television program. Some weeks are more entertaining than others, of course. And I’m interested in the outcome, but I’m not specifically rooting for any certain outcome. Just like I could be entertained by watching Lost without stressing over whether Kate will wind up with the reluctant leader doctor or the bad boy redneck who uses a certain cliché as a crutch, I can also watch the Redskins without stressing about who will win and who will lose.
We don't stress about the Redskins because for the first time in 20 years, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. That light shines brightly with the promise that the Redskins will soon be in position to select the second best quarterback in the 2012 NFL Draft. It shines on the hope that either Matt Barkley of USC, Landry Jones of Oklahoma, or Robert Griffin III of Baylor will soon be the franchise quarterback this team has been so sorely lacking.
The light shines directly on the date April 26, 2012.
And so we're introducing #042612. It's not just a hashtag. It's a movement. It's a lifestyle. It means that our years of despair may soon be over. It means that the quarterback that will lead the Redskins to their next Super Bowl will soon be on the roster. It's something I think about every single day.
It also means that there will immediately be a new and highly marketable face of the Washington sports scene. Step aside Alex Ovechkin. Move over Stephen Strasburg. A new star will be born on #042612. It might be the most important day in this franchise's history.
Of course there are no guarantees that any quarterback taken highly in the first round will turn into an elite player. Barkley could just be a younger Matt Leinart. Jones' NFL career might not last much longer than . But in the supposedly best quarterback class in a decade, the chances increase that Washington might get a future Pro Bowler.
And the Redskins shouldn’t feel like they are settling for Barkley, Jones, or Griffin after missing out on Andrew Luck. Each one of these quarterbacks is a great prospect who might have easily gone first overall if Luck had entered the draft in 2011 instead of 2012. This isn’t like choosing between Blaine Gabbert or Jake Locker as the second best quarterback in the draft. This is like choosing between Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers.
Or at least we hope it is.
We'll find out soon enough. We'll find out on #042612. I can't wait.