The 2012 Washington Redskins season will likely go down as one of the best turnaround seasons in franchise history.
In-season, the team surged from a 3-6 start to a 10-6 finish, putting the entire NFL on notice and capturing its first NFC East Championship since 1999.
The 10 victories were twice as many as the year before, and marked the first five-win improvement over the previous season in a non-strike year since the 1954-55 season, a span of almost 60 years.
Along the way, the Washington Redskins needed contributions from every member of the 53-man roster, but relied heavily on the contributions of three individuals, who were honored at the 2013 Welcome Home Luncheon as the Redskins 2012 Players of the Year.
Bobby Mitchell Offensive Player of the Year: Robert Griffin III
After the rookie season Robert Griffin III turned in, the wait for Offensive Player of the Year was little more than a formality.
Despite a Herculean effort by Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, a franchise rushing mark by rookie running back Alfred Morris and the contributions of a whole host of receivers, the straw that stirred the drink last year was Robert Griffin III.
Passing for a cool 3,200 yards, Griffin III revitalized a downfield passing game not seen in Washington in more than two decades.
On top of that, his 20:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio was among the best in the NFL, and his 815 rushing yards led all NFL quarterbacks.
Redskins receiver great Charley Taylor presented the award to Griffin III, connecting two of the most dynamic playmakers from their respective football generations.
While Griffin III was honored to accept the award, he noted that no awards are won on their own and deflected praise to the people around him that help him succeed.
"I want to thank these three guys (owner Daniel M. Snyder, general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan) for trusting me as your quarterback and going out and giveing up all those [draft] picks for me. That really means something to me and I want to thank you guys for that.
Then announcing that it was "enough about him," Griffin III personally thanked the military for their service.
"Thank you guys," he said, drawing loud applause. "We salute you guys."
Then he turned his attention to teammates, starting with his offensive linemen and moving on to receivers, running backs and coaches.
He named each player in turn, right down to offensive assistant Aubrey Pleasant, who started after the season last spring.
Sam Huff Defensive Player of the Year: London Fletcher
The Iron Man. The Ageless Wonder. The leader among active players in consecutive starts and games played (240), Washington Redskins captain London Fletcher.
If the average NFL career lasts just three seasons, Fletcher has just finished his fifth NFL career and rolls into his sixth with little sign of slowing down.
Fletcher finished his 15th NFL season with a team leading 188 tackles, three sacks, six quarterback hits, a career-best five interceptions, 14 passes defensed and three forced fumbles.
As he has throughout his career, Fletcher battled injuries throughout the season, practicing little during the week and turning in gritty performances critical to the team's playoff run.
Redskins inside linebacker alum Ken Harvey introduced the Redskins Iron Man, toasting him as "a beast" on the field, but a gentleman off of it.
"You hear the term 'beast' used to describe linebackers. You hear the terminology 'stud.' You hear the terminology 'monster,'" Harvey said. "Imagine having to explain to your little kid when he asks, 'Why did he call you a monster, daddy?'
"But those the words that they use to describe linebackers. But when you describe London Fletcher, you have to use more than just those words because he's a leader. He's a leader on the field as the team captain, but he's also a leader off the field. He has his own foundation, the London's Bridge Foundation, and he gives as much to that as he does on the field.
Harvey continued, crediting Fletcher's intelligence and passion for the game, before finally settling on a term that better befits No. 59.
"He's a beast and all that above," Harvey said. "But if there's one term that I would use to describe London Fletcher, it's that he's a respected man. He's respected as a linebacker and I know the whole community respects you as well."
Fletcher wasted no time in thanking the coaching and support staff around him, saving an extra special thanks for the players around him that make it all possible.
"I want to thank Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, my little brrother Perry Riley," he started. "Rob Jackson and Lorenzo Alexander, who's gone now, he's still my buddy and helped me with things out on the field last year.
"To my defensive line for doing my dirty work: Barry Cofield, Chris Neild, Stephen Bowen, Kedric Golston. I want to thank the defensive backfield as well...all those guys that help me be successful as a defensive player.
"I take this award and I'm grateful to represent the Redskins defense. Thank you."
Mark Moseley Special Teams Player of the Year: Kai Forbath
It was particularly fitting that Mark Moseley presented the award for Special Teams Player of the Year, as he is likely the last Redskins kicker to turn in such a dominant season.
Forbath was signed off of a Tuesday tryout before the Week 6 contest against the Minnesota Vikings, beating out a host of bigger-name kickers brought in to replace Billy Cundiff.
Under Shanahan, Forbath marked the fifth kicker in three seasons and a totally unknown commodity.
After practice that day, head coach Mike Shanahan expressed optimism in the signing, but wryly noted that he would like to have his kicker in place for "the next 15 years."
If the next 14 years are anything like the first, Shanahan will have called his shot.
In his first attempt, Forbath drilled a 50-yard field goal at FedExField. He would go on to hit his next 16 kicks, setting an NFL record for consecutive field goals to start a career.
Moseley, ever-humble, tipped his cap to the newest Redskins Special Teams star, saying he appreciated finally presenting the award to a kicker.
"As you know, we've had some pretty tough times around here for kickers. Kickers have been coming in and out of here like hobos; here today, gone tomorrow," Moseley joked. "Kai came in here last year under a lot of pressure, and the thing that really impresses me is how he handles the pressure.
"What does he do? Yes, he may have missed a field goal a minute ago, but he's back out on the field again. How does he handle that? And does he make the ones that really count? This man came in, and his first field goal attempt was a 50-yard field goal. He made it and went on and kicked 17 in a row.
"That says a lot about a kicker. It says a lot about what he does...he works hard at his craft and that's what really impresses me. That's what we've needed around here for a long time, and he's going to be around here for a long time."
Forbath began his acceptance speech by thanking the front office and ownership that were fundamental in bringing him to Washington.
"I want to thank everyone here right now from the Redskins facility, especially you three (Snyder, Allen, Shanahan). I was sitting at home on my couch waiting for that call and I'll never forget that day when I got that call, so thank you guys,"
"I hope Mark [Moseley] was right about me being here for a long time. I just had a good talk with him about all his records and I've got a long way to go. I'm looking forward to trying to catch him, but we'll see."
Forbath saved his last thank yous for the people that directly aid in his success on special teams.
"I also want to thank all the offensive linemen that protect for me out there. We had quitea few successful field goals out there and I couldn't have done it without my snapper and holder, Nick [Sundberg] and Sav [Rocca]. So, thank you."
Community Service Award: Joshua Morgan
Washington D.C.'s native son Joshua Morgan returned to the Nation's Capital last season, signing with the Redskins after four years in San Francisco.
Morgan grew up in Southeast D.C. and understands the strengths and needs of the community. As Redskins Nation embraced the new-look football team, Morgan worked closely with the Redskins Charitable Foundation and his own foundation to meet those needs.
Dedicating every off-day of the NFL calendar to work in the community, the soft-spoken receiver showed the power of action the impact of
Named the team's 2012 Walter Payton Man of the Year and honored with Joshua Morgan Day in Washington D.C. on June 20, by city council decree, Morgan is a pillar in the community, and the first D.C. resident to win the award.
Owner Daniel M. Snyder created the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation after buying the team, and presented the award to Morgan.
"What makes this award so special is that it's off the field," Snyder began. "Off the field, for all the players, and I want everybody to know this, Tuesday is rough day. It's the one day off as a team, but it really isn't. They are in the community, they are in the hospitals, the children's hospital, visiting cancer wards--they are there.
"I know that you've seen what they're doing on the field; I'm really proud of what they're doing off the field. This is for Josh and for all the Redskins players."
Morgan accepted the award in the same appreciation he shows to fans in the community, thanking the Redskins for signing him to play for his childhood team.
"I want to thank Mr. Dan Snyder for the community service award," Morgan said. "I also want to thank Bruce [Allen], [Mike] Shanahan, Coach Mike [McDaniel]--everybody that had anything to do with bringing me back home from San Francisco.
"It's definitely a dream come true. It's definitely an honor. I grew up watching a lot of you guys on this stage right now. I'm from Washington, born and raised, right down the street. This has been a truly humbling experience...I just want to thank everybody for that."
USAA Salute To Service Award: Eric Kettani
As a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Eric Kettani owns the unique distinction of being a two-career professional, splitting his time between extending his NFL dreams and serving his country.
Earlier this offseason, he was promoted to Lieutenant in the United States Navy in recognition for his offseason recruiting and goodwill tours with the military.
This followed up three years of active duty before starting his career with the New England Patriots. His 5.4 yards per carry career average at the US Naval Academy is sixth-best in program history.
USAA presenter Carl Bratton, Regional Military Affairs Representative for the Salute to Service award presented by USAA, bestowed the team award on Kettani.
"This year's recipient for the USSA Salute to Service award exemplifies dedication in both his football and military career," he said. "USAA is proud to introduce current Redskins fullback, Lieutenant Eric Kettani."
Kettani took the stage in full military dress, as he does for all NFL roadtrips as well. While he was short on words, they can straight from the heart.
"I had no idea I was going to give a speech today," he said, drawing a laugh from the crowd. "But thank you for coming out and supporting this cause. Thank you to everyone who serves as a career and dedicates their lives to the services.
"I had a great time while I served active duty in the Navy. Now I tour and give speeches nationwide. Quick and short: thanks for everything and Hail To The Redskins."