Credit: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

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There have been no changes in the executive suite in Ashburn or the local football team’s official name. Still, in 2012, ‘Skins fans got a reason to be a little less cranky. Robert Griffin III, drafted out of Baylor University, was immediately hailed as the team’s savior, a story we’ve heard many times before. But 15 weeks into his rookie season, RGIII is stringing together the best year by any ’Skins passer since Mark Rypien in 1991. Perhaps more importantly, RGIII’s disarming leadership has humanized the contemptible franchise for the first time in nearly as long.

If the 22-year-old Griffin is the star of the rejuvenated Pigskins, fellow rookie Bryce Harper became the brash face of Natitude. When Harper wasn’t smashing bats in frustration, he ignited the Washington Nationals’ lineup with 22 home runs and was named National League Rookie of the Year.

Griffin and Harper made good on their promised debuts. But can they keep it up in 2013? That’s hardly a clown question.