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The Washington Football Team is slowly becoming America’s favorite team. It has nothing to do with owner Dan Synder. Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with Ron Rivera, who has been battling cancer since the start of the season during a pandemic. It has everything to do with quarterback Alex Smith, who should be awarded Comeback Player of the Year right now.
Smith fought back from a life-threatening leg injury that he sustained in 2018. After nearly two years without playing a professional football game, Smith led the Washington Football Team to a victory over the 11-0 Pittsburgh Steelers. Not only did the Steelers lose their first game of the season, but Washington is also still in the hunt for the playoffs.
The Gruesome Scare
Fans across the country and Reddit NFL streams saw Smith suffer a spiral and compound fracture to his tibia and fibula in his right leg on November 18th, 2018. When Smith was sacked by Kareem Jackson and J.J. Watt, fans across the nation immediately compared the injury to that of former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, who broke his leg in a game 33 years before that exact date.
Following the surgery, Smith developed life-threatening necrotizing fascitis that required him to undergo 17 surgeries, including eight debridements. Smith was moved across four different hospitals and stayed in the hospital for over nine months. At one point, doctors suggested that Smith should have his leg amputated above the knee before performing skin grafts and an operation that transferred muscle from his left quad to save it.
The Return From Adversity
There’s something to be said about the 36-year old. In 2005, the former No. 1 overall pick threw one touchdown to 11 interceptions in his rookie season. He has benched during the team’s Super Bowl run in favor of Colin Kaepernick. Despite throwing for over 4,000 yards, the Kansas City Chiefs traded him to Washington. The leg injury was just another chapter in Smith’s battle with adversity.
In Smith’s first appearance back, Smith replaced Kyle Allen, who left the game with an ankle injury. It was a Week 5 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams that saw Washington fall 30-10 and Smith was sacked six times. Smith made his next appearance in Week 9 after Allen left with a dislocated ankle. This time, Smith threw for 325 yards, but the team lost to the New York Giants 23-20.
Now, Smith has the team on the rise. After defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 20-9, Smith led the team to a 23-17 win over the Steelers. At 5-7, Washington is tied with the Giants for the lead in the NFC East; however, the Giants own the tiebreaker.
A True Miracle
The year 2020 was not kind to Washington. In the summer, the team removed the name “Redskins” from their name and logo. Synder was under investigation for sexual assault allegations, and Rivera was diagnosed with cancer. Smith’s play on the field is taking all the negative attention away from the franchise and placing it on him.
If the team can make the playoffs, it would be one of the greatest sports stories in history. Still ahead, the Washington Football Team has the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, and Philadelphia Eagles. It’s not going to be tough, but nothing has been easy for Smith to this point. If anyone can pull this off, it’s him.