I am not a sports columnist and I don’t usually write about my love for any particular sports team. But today, I feel the need to congratulate Robert Griffin, III, or RG3 as he is known in the D.C. area. For those who don’t know, RG3 is the rookie quarterback for the Washington Redskins, who has been the subject of much speculation and hype since he was drafted last May. Why? The answer is directly related to the fact that the Redskins traded three first round draft picks and some other picks to St. Louis to move from the sixth overall pick in the draft to the second overall pick, thus enabling them to draft RG3. Many, many people, sports analysts and pro football fans alike, were making predictions about the success, or more likely the failure, of RG3. Many said over the last few months that he wouldn’t live up to the hype. That the pros are different than college football and that even though he won the Heisman trophy, he wouldn’t be very successful in professional football. Yada, yada, yada.
Well, sports fans, yesterday all those nay sayers had to eat their words. And they are still eating them. The Redskins did not put out a perfect performance. They pulled some of their old tricks from way back (and I say this as a life-long devoted fan): They earned a substantial lead and then they sat on their heels and almost let their opponent catch up. But RG3 was stellar. The headlines and the sports stories this morning can’t say enough about him and yes, there is a lot of crow being consumed. I read one column this morning in which the sports writer concluded that in hindsight the St. Louis Rams didn’t get enough for RG3.
You know that this young man was going to be the subject of sports headlines across the country this morning whether he did well or not. Everyone was watching to see him fall. To say, “I told you so. He’s not as good as all that.” I am so happy for him that the opposite occurred. In my mind, this has more to do with one particular player than it does the team. Imagine the pressure on him. He had to know that if he had a mediocre or worse game that everyone would be saying the Redskins were fools to make that deal for him and that he was a failure. Even if they won. Even if he really played fine. He had to be great to avoid negative comments and widespread criticism. And great he was.
So congratulations, RG3! I’m so glad you showed us all. And if you never, ever again have a game like that, we all know you’ve earned the right to be just where you are.