Did success for the Washington Redskins after 2005 come down to the difference between the 24th and 25th selections in the first round of the NFL Draft?
Did it really come to that? One number separating Aaron Rodgers -- now being crowned the best quarterback in football -- and Jason Campbell?
Based on what Rodgers -- the 24th pick in the 2005 draft -- has done this year in leading the Green Bay Packers to the NFC Championship game Sunday against the Chicago Bears -- it would seem that success was just that close for the Redskins.
Washington, with the 25th pick in the 2005 draft, selected its own quarterback, Jason Campbell, who in his career with the Redskins and Raiders has proved to be a journeyman at best, though some Washington fans still likely believe that Campbell was a victim as much as a failure during his time here.
I'm sure Campbell thinks so, and he will tell you every chance he gets.
So the question is if Campbell had the benefit of playing for an organization as well structured and disciplined as the Packers, would he have wound up like Rodgers, leading his team to the NFC Championship game?
And if Rodgers had Campbell's burden -- of playing for a tumultuous and dysfunctional organization -- would he have wound up a journeyman?
The truth is probably somewhere in between, though at a distance, Rodgers' leadership and decision-making abilities would seem to trump Campbell's no matter what situation they were in.
There also may have been few circumstances in which Rodgers could have wound up with the Redskins in 2005.
No one expected Rodgers, highly touted coming out of Cal, to fall to 24th in the first round. He was expected to be a top-10 pick, so it would have been difficult for the Redskins -- unless they used their other first-round pick, the ninth selection -- to plan to draft Rodgers instead of cornerback Carlos Rogers. No one would have expected Rodgers to be there at 24.
But it may not have mattered, because from all accounts Campbell was the quarterback the Redskins wanted. They traded a 2006 first-rounder, a 2005 third-rounder and a 2006 fourth-rounder to be in that 25th spot in the first round to draft Campbell.
The story goes that when Joe Gibbs and the Redskins' staff scouted Rogers at Auburn, they also fell in love with Campbell, and he became their target.
It would have been curious, though, if the Packers had not drafted Rodgers and he would have been sitting there along with Campbell when the Redskins picked.
You can dream they would have picked Rodgers but not likely.
"It would have been very hard to pass him up," Gibbs told reporters at the time Campbell was selected. "You want to make sure that the future of the organization [is addressed], or if there's talent sitting at the quarterback position, to me, it's always been a major consideration."
The future of two franchises -- the future of this weekend's NFL playoffs -- may have been decided in that draft by the slimmest margins of one place in the order.
Examiner columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at email@example.com.