The Washington Redskins have moved heaven and draft picks to position themselves to land Robert Griffin III, the quarterback we here in Texas affectionately like to call Superman.
Nor did we cape him lightly.
He earned that moniker by winning at a Baylor program many felt beyond help. The thing about the cape, or even just the socks with the cape on them, is you think you are invincible. And as my fifth-grade nephew Max Perez recently reminded me, even Superman has his weaknesses. This is why he is a Batman guy.
“He has no super powers. He relies on wits and cool gadgets and Alfred,” Max explained. “And taking on the bad guys by yourself is hard.”
What I know for sure is not even Superman is a match for the dysfunction that is the Redskins. I am not saying RG3 will fail in D.C., just that it is likely.
Nobody wins with the Redskins. Not lately.
What we have in the nation’s capital is a train wreck of an NFL franchise, bringing down legendary coaches and up-and-coming players by the sheer depth and duration of their ineptitude. The Redskins sullied Joe Gibbs on his return engagement.
Nobody stays clean with the Redskins, certainly not in the Daniel Snyder era. What was once one of the best and most beloved franchises under Jack Kent Cooke with The Hogs, The Fun Bunch and championships has become a hot mess. Parallels exist with the Dallas Cowboys, except owner Jerry Jones is likeable, willing to roll with criticism instead of running around in a Napoleonic stupor of denial.
Does anybody believe Superman has a chance against Daniel “Lex” Snyder?
In the last couple of days, the Redskins traded away a lot of draft picks to get RG3 and lost $35 million in cap room because the NFL said so. (A quick word on Cap-ocalypse: Total b.s. As one of my Twitter followers noted, only the NFL can get away with punishing teams who did not collude against labor during the lockout.) Whoever is to blame, this does not bode well for RG3’s chance of actually succeeding. This is not an indictment of the quarterback but rather a nod to the reality that nobody can do it alone.
I like the Pierre Garcon signing. Who would not? History suggests, though, that team-building is not a Redskin strength.
The best quarterbacks need decent running games, offensive lines, wide receivers and defenses to have a chance. This is obvious. What is not so obvious is you have to have the right people in place to get the right people in place.
What about this Redskins organization at the moment says, “The right people are in place?”
The Redskins will be his Kryptonite. And six years from now, we will feel sorry for RG3 or, worse yet, talking about what a bust he was because he was unable to win in D.C. when the reality is doing so was always unlikely.
There will be second-guessing of the trade and hindsight about what the draft picks could have been and doubt about RG3. And the formative years of his career likely will have been spent in a wasteland. This will be painful to watch, not unlike when a drunken Superman flicked peanuts into the mirror in what I think was the second movie.
We all have a responsibility to try to save Superman, which is why Archie and Eli Manning need to talk to him about lost causes.
"I think that is the case," RG3 told my friend and Redskins fan, David Smoak, on ESPN Radio in Waco this week when asked if he’d play for whoever drafted him. "I’m not going to pull the ‘I don’t want to play here’ card. That is not in my nature, not who I am."
It is cute, even noble, to envision oneself being the savior of a franchise. It is quite another to actually do the salvaging. This is what Archie learned first hand in his NFL days and is why he advised his son, Eli, to avoid San Diego at all costs back in 2004.
Eli got crucified for this power play, for being controlled by his dad, for being unwilling to try to save San Diego. Chargers GM A.J. Smith still has his whitey-tighties in a bunch about this, years later, unleashing snarky little comments recently about how Archie is now making decisions for Peyton.
What is funny is Eli was right. Archie, too.
Of the three quarterbacks the Chargers could have had long-term — Eli, Drew Brees or Philip Rivers — only one does not have a championship. It is the one that San Diego decided to keep. I do not think this speaks to Rivers’ talent, or lack thereof, as much the franchise.
And San Diego is not nearly the mess that Washington is.
What Eli rightly decided was track record matters, and in New York there is a history of stability and sanity. It played out again this year. The knee-jerk reaction from the outside was to fire the coach, Tom Coughlin. If there is one thing the Giants rarely do, it is knee jerk. We all know how this story ends, with another championship parade in New York and a second ring for Eli.
Maybe, he could have done this in San Diego. And maybe, Superman really can swoop in and save this Redskins team from futility.
Me? I tend to agree with my nephew.
Taking on the bad guys by yourself is hard — especially when one of them owns the team.