On April 28, two days after being selected second overall in the 2012 draft, Robert Griffin III got a glimpse of what he was up against.
Incredibly lofty expectations.
Thousands of Redskins fans went to FedEx Field that Saturday to meet RG3, the purported savior of the franchise. Ignore the fact that the ’Skins traded three first-round picks to move up to take Griffin, he had to face a starving fan base that had gone without a division title in 13 years and saw 21 different starting quarterbacks in the previous 19 seasons.
In the end, he was everything the Redskins and their fans could have hoped for, and more.
Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers of America selected Griffin as the Overall and Offensive Rookie of the Year for the 2012 season in a close vote between Griffin, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. Griffin is the first Redskin to win the PFW/PFWA Rookie of the Year honors since RB Mike Thomas had a share of the award in 1975.
“This is an honor and I would like to first thank my teammates,” Griffin said in a statement. “Hopefully we will have more winning seasons in the future.”
Griffin set rookie records for touchdown-to-interception ratio (20-5), passer rating (102.4) and rushing yards by a QB (815). He completed 65.6 percent of his throws, second only to Ben Roethlisberger’s 2004 rookie mark (66.4).
Only one other quarterback in NFL history — Randall Cunningham in 1990 — threw for at least 3,200 yards and rushed for more than 800 yards in the same season.
Throughout the season, Griffin had a knack for thriving on the biggest of stages, like on Thanksgiving, when he threw four touchdown passes in a 38-31 win at Dallas.
The incredible rookie season ended with a thud, though, when Griffin partially tore his ACL and LCL in a wild-card loss to the Seahawks. The injury, and subsequent surgery, might dampen expectations for Year Two, and there is a fear that Griffin — who tore his ACL in 2009 — might never be the same.
For one year, RG3 was the franchise savior, but now the “hope” of the Redskins and their fans is that Griffin can recover and build off his historic rookie season.