We’re at the time of the year when it can feel like watching football is something that both at arm's length in the somewhat distant future, and that has only happened in a distant memory. The post-Super Bowl-pre-combine period is when truly the hungriest of NFL fans feast for the game by eating pro-day tape. Here though, on the Cult Of Colt, we’re learning our strengths and know our weaknesses well, and for us to endeavor to break down Jay Tufele’s 40-yard dash technique or what Bill Belichick’s feelings on Mac Jones’ deep ball might be, well, we’ll leave that to those who claim to be the experts.
No, here on the Cult Of Colt, we’re not going to attempt to be something that we simply aren’t. Rather, we’re here to share our feelings, thoughts, and enthusiasm for the things that have the most meaning to us, and sometimes that means firing up the ol’ Throwback Machine and talking about the past.
On this edition of the Cult Of Colt, we begin a new yet unnamed retrospective looking back at some of our favorite games, moments, and events from Washington Football Teams of yore, starting with what is the highpoint of my WFT-fandom (and the high-water mark for many of my generation): the 2012 Week 17 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.
While this contest happened just a little under a decade ago, re-watching it was akin to popping an old family home movie back in the VCR and letting the feels roll in again. For those who can’t quite put themselves in the headspace: this game was as big as it got. Washington was riding high, winners of five straight after starting the season 3-6, and had the opportunity to face their heated division rival for a chance to clinch the NFC East for the first time since 1999. Gracing the roster was a mix of well-established veterans like Santana Moss, Deangelo Hall, and London Fletcher; but what felt most exciting was the youth and high-ceiling talent from Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, and Perry Riley. In addition, two-time Super Bowl winner Mike Shanahan patrolled the sidelines surrounded by his own crop of up-and-comers including Offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan; QB coach Matt LaFleur, tight ends coach Sean McVay, and DBs coach Raheem Morris.
This matchup, flexed in the schedule to primetime Sunday Night Football felt in many ways like both coronation and a coming-out party, an announcement to the NFL and the sporting world that Washington had arrived and was here to stay.
As such, the game did not disappoint. It was an evenly-matched first half, highlighted on defense by interceptions on consecutive possessions by Richard Crawford (his lone INT in the NFL) and Josh Wilson, and on offense by Washington’s commitment to pounding the ball on the ground and establishing the run. The two teams headed to the lockerroom even up at seven points apiece. The second half saw the rookie tailback Morris break fan-favorite Clinton Portis’ single-season rushing record en route to a 200-yard, three-touchdown performance. Despite some... uneven footing... Robert Griffin carved through the Dallas defense through the air (9-of-18 for 100 yards) and on the ground (63 yards and a rushing score.) The game, which came down the wire was sealed by yet another Romo interception, this time by who else but Rob Freaking Jackson.
The good guys won, the bad guys lost, and the celebration was well-earned.
And then we truly learned some hard lessons about the fleeting nature of success.
The chewed-up field ate Griffin’s knee the next week, the wheels fell off, the young stars left town or didn’t pan out, and the promising coaches in the in-house coaching tree left to make their mark elsewhere.
Perhaps it’s masochistic to continue to dwell on what was and what might have been, but isn’t that what being a fan is all about?
After our time in the memory vault, Gumbi and I jump back to modern times and discuss the news of the day: no, not Kyle Pitts’ cone drills, but the always-inevitable announcement finally made official by the NFL that the regular season is going to be expanded to seventeen games. While one might believe that more football = more fun, we think there’s a lack of feng shui that is going to take some getting used to.
In retrospect, how do you remember the 2012 season in Washington? Let us know in the comments below. Also, share your thoughts on some other games that we can re-watch and share our thoughts by commenting or tweeting us @TheColtofColt.