RGIII celebrating a long touchdown pass. This looks familiar... Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
A little over four years and two weeks ago, on August 28, 2008, Baylor took the field for the first time under the leadership of a coach plucked from the ranks of Conference USA, Art Briles. We were coming off a disaster of a season at the hands of Guy Morriss, and we really didn't know what to expect when we took the field against Wake Forest. We were obliterated 41-13. Starter Kirby Freeman (grad transfer from Miami) threw almost as many complete passes to the other team (2) as he did his own (4). But something amazing happened in the second quarter as Briles mercifully ended Freeman's short time as Baylor's QB. Robert Griffin III, a true freshman from Copperas Cove labeled as a 4* "athlete" by most recruiting services, a term that typically means you're either a WR who can't catch or a QB who they don't think will play the position in college, came on for the Bears down 17-0 and changed Baylor's history forever.
Though that season ended with a 4-8 record and yet another bowl-less season, the buzz around Baylor and RGIII, who would, in that year, set an NCAA record for pass attempts to start a career without an interception, was far greater than the record would suggest. From the moment he stepped on the field against Wake Forest, you could see (and I did, I was there) something different about RGIII. That first game was a spectacular failure all things considered, but in his last this past season he walked off the field in San Antonio the leader of a 10-win Baylor team and the winner of a Heisman Trophy. Not bad for a guy described as a "hurdler who can throw" until basically his junior year.
As I mentioned before the game this morning, the Washington Redskins, led by #2-overall pick Robert Griffin III, entered today's game against the New Orleans Saints as 7.5 point underdogs. That's a pretty big spread in the NFL. They left the game 40-32 winners after what can only be described as a transcendent performance from the player they had given so much to get. RGIII finished the day 19-26 for 320 yards and 2 TDs with no turnovers and only one sack. Those stats earned him a 139.9 QB rating, down only slightly from his perfect 158.3 rating at halftime. They also earned him the praise of a hostile crowd. As the Redskins took the field following the Saints' last turnover, the Superdome crowd actually chanted his name. That crowd was probably 90% Saints fans, if not more, and they're chanting the name of the other team's rookie QB! Throw away all the numbers and that is the most impressive thing that happened today.
I'm not a Redskins fan. I'll never be a Redskins fan. I'd prefer if RGIII played for almost anyone else in the NFL, and I only say "almost" because the Eagles and Giants still exist. But I'll always be a fan of RGIII because of who he is and what he did for Baylor. So congratulations, Robert, on an outstanding performance today! You deserve all of the praise you will no doubt get.