On Friday, two days before Super Bowl XLVIII, I was listening to ESPN 980, and their Redskins' insider Chris Russell was discussing something that tied the Redskins to this year's NFL championship game. That something was the notion that two years ago, the Redskins had been reportedly seeking to land both of the players who are now the starting quarterbacks for the two remaining teams left vying for the Lombardi Trophy.
In all of the commotion surrounding the acquisition of Robert Griffin III, the roller coaster season of 2012 and then the ugly 2013 season, I had almost forgotten that at one point, reports had surfaced that both Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson had been candidates to end up in a Redskins' uniform.
Neither ended up coming to Washington, and for different reasons.
Peyton Manning was supposedly interested in playing for Mike Shanahan, who he respected from his championship days with John Elway, but did not like the idea of playing in the same division as his brother Eli. There was a story in the Washington Post that came out stating Manning was "shocked" when the Redskins traded for the rights to pick Griffin. Perhaps he was still considering the Redskins as a future landing spot at that point, but the trade made the decision easier. He actually still met with Mike and Kyle Shanahan for three hours to talk football following the trade. After Manning ended up signing with the Broncos, he stayed in Shanahan's mansion for months until he could get his own place, so they obviously had a close relationship.
In regards to Russell Wilson, it was not a secret that Mike Shanahan really liked Wilson coming out of college. The Redskins coaching staff had a chance to get to know him while coaching the South team at the Senior Bowl and loved what they saw. On draft weekend in 2012, even though the Redskins had just chosen Griffin with the second overall pick, it is widely reported that Shanahan was prepared to also draft Wilson with their fourth round pick if he was still available. As it turned out, he was snapped up by the Seahawks in the third round, and the Redskins ended up drafting Kirk Cousins in that spot.
In the last two years, here's how the numbers have stacked up:
Robert Griffin III
2012: 15 Games, 258-393 Att's, 65.6 Comp %, 3,200 Yards, 20 TD's, 5 INT's, 102.4 QB Rat.
2013: 13 Games, 274-456 Att's, 60.1 Comp %, 3,203 Yards, 16 TD's, 12 INT's, 82.2 QB Rat.
2012: 16 Games, 400-583 Att's, 68.6 Comp %, 4,659 Yards, 37 TD's, 11 INT's, 105.8 QB Rat.
2013: 16 Games, 450-659 Att's, 68.3 Comp %, 5,477 Yards, 55 TD's, 10 INT's, 115.1 QB Rat.
2012: 16 Games, 252-393 Att's, 64.1 Comp %, 3,118 Yards, 26 TD's, 10 INT's, 100.0 QB Rat.
2013: 16 Games, 257-407 Att's, 63.1 Comp %, 3,357 Yards, 26 TD's, 9 INT's, 101.2 QB Rat.
In the 2012 season, Griffin showed that he could be everything the Redskins thought he could be when they traded away three first rounders and a second round pick to get him, leading Washington to an NFC East title and playoff berth. Unfortunately, as everyone knows, he has also struggled with serious injuries. The 2013 season was such a calamity that Mike Shanahan and most of his staff were fired after the year ended and now the Redskins are rebuilding again with a new head coach in Jay Gruden. On the plus side, Griffin is now completely healthy and will get his first full offseason to prepare for the 2014 season.
Manning led the Broncos to the AFC Championship game in 2012 and has taken this year's squad to the Super Bowl. Wilson has managed to stay healthy while playing in an offense similar to the one Griffin plays in. He led the Seahawks to the divisional round of the playoffs after beating the Redskins in the wildcard game in 2012, and presently has his team in the Super Bowl as well in only his second season in the NFL.
Mike Shanahan is now an ex-coach and the Redskins are watching the Super Bowl from home. One has to wonder where the team and the coach would be today if things would have fallen into place differently.