In silver lining surrounding the dark cloud of a horribly unentertaining Super Bowl is that the 2013 season is utterly, unquestionably, definitively over.
Redskins fans can now put the painful memories of the past year behind them and look toward the 2014 campaign.
There's already a new coach in place, and there are sure to be many more changes to come as we approach the fall. Luckily(?) for Hogs Haven, I'm here to provide some forward-looking content, owing largely to last week's viewing of Looper, followed by the entire Back to the Future trilogy. Even the second one.
With that as the supernatural fuel for my clairvoyant fire, here is a chronological rundown of the next year of Redskins football. I'm warning you now that there are nothing but spoilers ahead.
February 17, 2014: The Redskins use their franchise tag on Brian Orakpo. They would have done it sooner, but this is the first day the NFL allows them to do so. Orakpo is bemused.
March 11: Free agency begins. Washington eagerly enters the market, no longer saddled by the oppressive and unfair burden of ex post facto cap penalties. The Redskins best signings turn out to be erstwhile Bills safety Jairus Byrd and Patriot corner Aquib Talib. On the other hand, Washington can't reach an agreement with veteran wideout Santana Moss, leading the Skins to pick up Eric Decker from the Broncos. At the signing press conference, owner Dan Snyder points out that Decker will "raise the visibility" of the franchise, and "what he lacks in football ability, he more than makes up for in dreaminess." The Redskins also sign former Lions wideout Nate Burleson, who broke his arm last season in a car accident that resulted from him reaching for pizza boxes in the backseat while driving.
March 24: A contingent from the Cleveland Browns finally arrives (a day late) at the annual League meetings in Orlando. Snyder is overheard telling an aide, "Jeez, these guys make us look like the Patriots."
March 25: In a stunning turn of events, a group of white sportswriters announce they have somehow managed to exploit a heretofore-unknown legal loophole, thereby granting them official recognition as an Indian tribe under federal law. Calling themselves JAIN (Journalists Against Insensitive Nicknames), they pledge to use this as new leverage in the battle over "Redskins."
March 26: Reached for comment on the nickname situation, Dan Snyder overturns a buffet table at the League meetings, wasting some perfectly good ricotta basil tartlets in the process. Roger Goodell says the NFL is "in talks" with the new group, curiously adding "concussions aren't the issue, here," purely out of habit.
April 21: Since the Redskins have a new head coach, Washington is able to begin its offseason program under Jay Gruden. In his excitement, Gruden commits a rare blunder when speaking to the media, saying that he hopes his team will play "Tusker football" this year.
April 28: Rumors continue to swirl about trading Kirk Cousins to help shore up the Redskins' picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. Sources say that Washington has found a team that's interested in Cousins. However, the sides are too far apart, as the Redskins want a second-round pick and a fifth-round pick, while the unnamed trade partner's best offer thus far is a copy of Madden 25 and a bag of footballs.
May 6: The Redskins seem close to striking a Cousins deal with the Browns, but it falls apart at the last minute when, in lieu of a second draft pick, Cleveland insists Washington takes Brandon Weeden.
May 8 - May 10: Unable to consummate a deal involving Cousins, Washington has no first-round pick, and no extra picks. Despite picking up a safety and a corner in free agency, Washington drafts a total of three additional defensive backs in the 2014 NFL Draft, including free safety Calvin Pryor of Louisville with its second-round selection.
May 19: At the League's spring meeting in Atlanta, Roger Goodell (flanked by a visibly agitated Dan Snyder) announces that months of discussions with JAIN have resulted in the NFL agreeing to force Washington to change its nickname. Over objections by Snyder, the Redskins will heretofore be known as the "Washington Debs," per a suggestion from JAIN member Dave Zirin (referred to in this context as "Chief Zirin" for legal reasons). Fans are as outraged by the new name as they are confused.
July 15: Unable to reach a multi-year deal with Orakpo by the deadline, Washington signs him to a one-year contract. The Debs' attempt to trade Kirk Cousins to the Patriots for game-worn Belichick sweatshirts is rejected by New England.
July 30: Robert Griffin III looks sharp and healthy running team offense drills in training camp, but that doesn't silence all his critics. A widely-circulated blog piece written by alleged insider "Specs Closeman" argues that there should be an open competition for the Washington starting quarterback job.
August: The Debs go 0-4 in preseason. Fans, remembering last year's 4-0 preseason mark (and Joe Gibbs' routinely poor performance in preseason) counterintuitively see this as reason for optimism.
September 3: Steve Czaban spends all three hours of his show arguing with callers about whether Griffin or Cousins has higher trade value.
September 7: Washington beats the Giants 28-17 in the season opener, with RGIII throwing for 278 yards and two touchdowns and running for 75 more. Griffin does fumble once and throw an interception.
September 8: Skip Bayless contends that Washington should either start Kirk Cousins or release him, adding that "RG3 will never be the same quarterback he was in 2012."
September 10: Jay Gruden announces that Nate Burleson will miss the game on Sunday with minor lacerations after walking through a giant pane of glass being carried by two workmen.
September 14: The Debs log a 45-14 win over Jacksonville in their home opener. Griffin throws for 357 and runs for 109. Brian Orakpo records 3.5 sacks. Aquib Talib has two picks.
October 12: Washington, still undefeated, torches the Cardinals in Glendale 38-17. Griffin throws his twentieth touchdown pass of the season, while Alfred Morris scores twice. The Debs are 6-0 and the hottest team in the NFL.
October 14: Jay Gruden tells the press that Nate Burleson will be out the next two weeks after slipping on a banana peel and tumbling down a flight of stairs.
October 20: The Washington Post announces that it will be laying off nearly all of its sports department staff at the end of the year in a budget-saving move. Jeff Bezos will replace the departed writers with drones.
October 26: Washington trounces the Titans 46-21 at FedEx Field as Griffin passes for over 400 yards for the second time this season. Pierre Garcon has 129 yards receiving, Morris runs for 105, and Roy Helu adds an exciting 40-yard touchdown run. Kirk Cousins plays the entire fourth quarter in a mop-up role, going 7-for-7 through the air. Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan each record a safety.
October 27: Bayless points out that Cousins had an "NFL record" completion percentage of 100 against the Titans.
November 1: Nate Burleson is expected to miss the upcoming game with St. Louis after suffering a mild concussion courtesy of the bowling balls he keeps at the top of his closet somehow getting loose and hitting him on the head, one by one, accompanied for some reason by xylophone sounds.
November 9: Coming off of a bye week, the 8-0 Debs knock off the Rams 28-14, an otherwise-routine win marred only by a noticeable brawl in the stands. An investigation reveals that the catalyst for the brawl was an argument over whether the "Hogettes" should rename themselves the "Sub-Debs" or the "Little Debbies."
November 16: Washington tops Minnesota 42-24 in chilly TCF Bank Stadium to get to 10-0. Eric Decker hauls in a season-high seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. The TD draws the most attention, though, as Decker takes a page from Joe Horn's playbook, producing a vanity mirror from the goal-post padding, staring longingly into it for twenty seconds. Remarkably, no penalty is assessed. After the game, referee Ed Hochuli defends the decision not to throw a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct on Decker, saying, "Can you blame him? I mean, have you seen that guy's face? Not to mention those biceps! And, obviously, I know biceps."
November 23: Washington travels to Seattle to play the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks. The Debs lose 21-17 to fall to 10-1. Griffin throws two interceptions for the first time all year.
November 24: A lively debate on ESPN's Monday Night Countdown concludes with a majority of the panel agreeing that Robert Griffin III still needs a "signature win" to be considered an "elite" quarterback.
November 27: Washington faces off against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Griffin sets a franchise record with 482 yards passing and ties Sammy Baugh and Mark Rypien's franchise-record six touchdown passes in a single game. Washington wins 50-3.
November 28: The headline-bot at the Washington Post comes up with "DEBBIES DO DALLAS."
December 7: Washington clinches the NFC East title with a 56-9 win at Houston. Griffin goes 24-for-25 and breaks his own passing record set the previous week. Brian Orakpo has a sack, a pick, a fumble recovery, and a defensive touchdown.
December 13: Jay Gruden notifies the media that Nate Burleson will miss the next two weeks with a "severe groin contusion" after experiencing what the head coach refers to only as a "see-saw mishap."
December 25: Robert Griffin III spends part of Christmas Day fending off angry Twitter comments after a Slate article compares him favorably to Jesus. The intentionally provocative article, entitled "Gridiron Savior," controversially makes the point that Griffin has more "relevance" to many at-risk youths than Jesus has in 2014. "Don't hold me accountable for articles I haven't read, much less didn't write," tweets Griffin. The hashtag #RG3JC is a top trend for several hours.
December 28: The starters play sparingly, but a last-second Kai Forbath field goal cements a 24-21 win over the Eagles to cap a 15-1 season. The Debs will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Griffin finishes with the highest QB rating in the league, a franchise-record 4,539 yards passing, and 1,016 yards rushing. Tony Kornheiser jokingly(?) takes credit for the team's success, noting that "If they had just changed the name when I told them to, this would have happened every year for the last two decades!"
December 31: The Washington Post's Mike Wise writes his final column for the paper. Wise will end up landing on his feet, taking a job with the NFL itself in which he both writes a regular column for NFL.com and supervises the retroactive bleeping of the word "Redskins" in the NFL Films archive.
January 11, 2015: In near-blizzard conditions, Griffin leads Washington to a convincing 20-6 win over the 49ers in the Divisional round of the NFC Playoffs. The snow contributes to Griffin throwing for a season-low 180 yards, but he tosses a touchdown pass and runs for another score.
January 12: In a First Take opening segment entitled "RGIII's ‘180' - Has Griffin lost it?" Skip Bayless argues that RGIII needs to take Washington to the Super Bowl in order to prove he has the "clutch gene," adding "without that, he's not elite."
January 19: The Debs get sweet revenge over the Seahawks, beating Seattle 35-21 for the NFC Championship. Griffin completes every pass he throws, also running for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Nate Burleson misses the game after a minor car accident in which he crashed into a brick wall that had an ultra-realistic picture of FedEx Field painted on it moments earlier by what witnesses claim was a "road-runner-type bird."
January 23: Robert Griffin III pulls five small children from a burning building, saving them from certain death. He miraculously escapes with only minor burns and mild smoke inhalation. However, jumping from the second-story window (with the final child in his arms) led to a very slight tear in his reconstructed ACL. Although not a catastrophic injury, Griffin is ruled out for the Super Bowl.
January 24: First Take begins with the debate topic "Is Washington a better team without RG3?" Skip Bayless says that going after those kids just days before the Super Bowl "wasn't something a team-first quarterback would do." He goes on to explain that Kirk Cousins is an "Andy-Dalton-type" who has "always been a better fit for Jay Gruden's offense." He adds that, while he "loves" RG3, he's not sure Griffin is "the leader that Cousins is," as footage of Cousins congratulating teammates on the sidelines plays.
January 31: Robert Griffin III wins the NFL MVP Award. Jay Gruden is the NFL Coach of the Year.
February 1: Cousins plays well, going 28-for-38 and throwing for 311 yards, but Washington comes up short in the Super Bowl, losing 30-20 to the Kansas City Fountains. The Debs finish 17-2. Nate Burleson misses the game with "facial fractures" after improbably managing to step on a seemingly-endless series of rakes on the way to the field for pre-game stretching.
February 3: Stephen A. Smith immediately adds Jay Gruden to First Take's "Hot Seat Watch" (sponsored by Frank's Hot Sauce), saying that "PRO FOOTBALL is an ALL-OR-NOTHING sport" and some other nonsense while Bayless squints and nods in solemn agreement.
February 14, 2015: You finally finish reading this pointless article.
Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! Hail to the Debs!