Three words: Robert. Griffin. III.
After last season’s Cam-Mania -- only the most exciting debut season in the history of the NFL -- I’m not sure anyone thought it could be topped, let alone topped less than a year later. And yet, here we are: RG3 exploded on the NFL scene like no player ever. (Yes, even Cam Newton.)
It was the combination of big plays and charisma and a franchise that resonates nationally and, most of all, the most unexpected win of the first week of the new NFL season.
The Redskins waltzed into the Superdome and lit up the Saints, a team that -- even if you allow for the bountygate distraction -- is nearly unbeatable at home, particularly if the opponent is a team that the year before was among the NFL’s dregs.
And so the NFL has a new super-duper-star -- a player instantly on par with Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady and Drew Brees and Cam Newton (and even Tim Tebow). RG3 might not be there with Super Bowl wins (yet), but his “OOH!” factor is right there.
He is the most must-see player in the NFL right now.
More NFL quickish-hits:
*It is ludicrous to read too much into the first week of the NFL. But!
*The 49ers would like you to understand immediately they are here to win a title.
*The greatest achievement of Tim Tebow’s career was inspiring Mark Sanchez to THAT.
*Wow, we were so close to Philadelphiamageddon. Clearly it’s a “when not if” thing.
*Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall are going to be an awesome combo until they implode.
*If there’s such a thing as a moral victory in the NFL, the Rams got one.
*As it turns out, “Hard Knocks” will be the highlight of the Dolphins’ season.
*Matt Barkley Watch: Close call, but should Seattle just tank the rest to get Carroll’s guy?
*I’m still on the Cam Newton bandwagon, but good seats suddenly available.
CFB Storyline I’m Still Thinking About This Morning: “Grown Man Football.” That was the impromptu post-game message scribbled on a white board and held up by Georgia players to their fans who had made the treck to Columbia to see the Bulldogs welcome Mizzou to the SEC. Both Missouri and Texas A&M hung in for a while, but ultimately, the culture shock -- represented fairly by blazingly fast future NFL anvils on the UGA and UF defensive sides -- was as inevitable as it was indomitable.
CFB Team of the Week: Louisiana-Monroe, which when to Arkansas and beat the Razorbacks, who could be forgiven for looking ahead to next week’s make-or-break game hosting No. 1 Alabama... except before they could have lost to Bama, run the table otherwise and settled for a BCS-level bowl game. Now? Their season is a punchline.
Looking Ahead to CFB Next Week: Alabama at Arkansas suddenly feels a lot less epic... Florida at Tennessee might just decide the SEC East... If USC needed all four quarters to put away Syracuse, then Trojan nemesis Stanford has a puncher’s chance... This week’s Heisman ballot would go to: Ohio State QB Braxton Miller.
Serena: ‘Nuff said.
MLB: The Strasburg Shut-Down. I believe deeply in “process over outcome,” but I also believe in “flags fly forever.” Championship opportunities are not really “windows”; they are fleeting moments that are one-part design, one-part serendipity, one-part vagaries of chance -- just ask the 88-89-90 A’s or ‘91-99 Braves, two would-be dynasties that combined for as many championships as the carpetbagging Marlins. For the sake of Nats fans (of whom I count myself) -- not to mention GM Mike Rizzo and Strasburg himself -- I hope the Nats win a championship with Strasburg in the next five years. (Or just win one in October and shut everyone up for good.) Until then, this “what if?” defines the franchise.
Penn State: Saturday was the first time that the NCAA sanctions felt like they really hurt the program. There is a direct link from Sandusky and Paterno to the NCAA sanctions allowing any player to transfer without penalty to incumbent starting kicker TK bolting campus for Texas to replacement TK missing 4 of 5 FGs, any one of which made would have changed the game’s outcome, rather than put Penn State in an 0-2 hole to start the year.
Thoughts with Tulane’s Devon Walker, whose horrifying injury on Saturday cast a pall over the sports weekend.