All day today, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has been getting crucified for leaving an obviously not 100% Robert Griffin III in yesterday's playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. If you didn't see the game, RG3 looked a little tender from the outset, despite leading the Redskins to touchdowns on their opening two possessions. In the second quarter, Griffin had to briefly leave the game, but ultimately returned. And as we all know now, Griffin eventually re-injured his knee and was forced to leave the game for good.
Hindsight is 20/20. Now that the game is over and we know that Griffin got injured and the Redskins lost the game, it is easy to sit back and criticize and say that Shanahan should have pulled Griffin after the incident in the second quarter. It's easy to sit on your couch or behind your computer screen talking about how you would have done it differently.
It bothers me to no end how the internet has created a forum for all these geniuses, all these Monday morning quarterbacks, to sit behind their computer screens and hide behind screen names, and not only talk about how they knew better than an NFL head coach, but to do so in many cases with such hatred and vitriol.
It's these same people who watch all the "talking head" talk shows that have permeated every sports broadcasting network. Shows where "experts" do the same thing our internet friends do, albeit not so anonymously and with less foul language and over-the-top insults.
Regardless, these so-called "experts" sit there all day and bash Shanahan and talk about how they never would have done it that way and blah, blah, blah. The reality of the situation is if that Robert Griffin hadn't gotten injured and if the Redskins would have won the game, these very same people would be praising Griffin for his toughness, his grit and his leadership. And Shanahan would be an afterthought.
It sucks that RGIII got hurt, and I'm saying that as an Eagles fan. He has the potential to be a very special player, and it would suck if he didn't get the chance to fulfill that potential because of injury. It would be a shame for him, and it would be a shame for the fans of football.
But sports are about toughness and overcoming obstacles and all that. And we constantly praise warriors who play through pain, who put it all on the line to win, who put the good of the team ahead of their own personal interests. Whether it's T.O. making an incredible recovery from ankle surgery and defying doctors' orders to play in the Super Bowl, Donovan McNabb throwing four touchdowns and leading the team to victory on a broken ankle, Allen Iverson playing through injury after injury and swallowing blood so he can stay in a playoff game and shoot his free throws, Michael Jordan's flu game, or Byron Leftwich being carried down the field by his linemen as he tries to lead a game-winning drive, we eat it up. These performances create lasting memories for us, and they inspire us.
Robert Griffin III wanted to play. He wanted to be out there with his teammates. He wanted to do everything he could to help the team in a win-or-go-home situation. He knew it would hurt, and he knew it was risky, but he wanted to be out there and I respect that. Shanahan thought RG3 gave the team the best chance to win and RG3 said he could go, so he allowed it. Even after the second-quarter incident, he wanted to go back in, and so the coach allowed it.
Be honest with yourself. If this was your favorite team, you would have wanted RG3 to play this game. If your best players are able to play, you want them to be out there. Especially in the playoffs.
I have no problem with looking back at a game. I have no problem with going over the game and critiquing and discussing and debating. That's part of what is fun about being a fan. I do have a problem with hypocrites acting like they wouldn't have wanted RG3 to play if it was their favorite team in that situation, and with people dishing out all this criticism when they know for a fact that if the Redskins won and RG3 didn't get injured they would be on the complete other end of the spectrum praising RG3 and Shanahan for their guts.