2013 NFL: RGIII, The King Of The Mountain

Courtesy: Absolon Moreau
Courtesy: Absolon Moreau

The tale of Robert Griffin III took another turn last Sunday as he once again showed that this version of RG3 is vastly different than the enigmatic enigma that grabbed the attention of everyone who follows the NFL.

Maybe it’s the after effects of the serious knee injury that ended his rookie season.

Maybe defensive coordinators have discovered something on tape that now negates Washington’s ability to run the read option successfully.

Maybe Washington’s defense is mostly to blame. (CBs Josh Wilson and David Amerson looked downright terrible against the Packers.)

Maybe it’s once again the case of the general football public being influenced by a media driven storyline.

Yes, Griffin doesn’t quite look right. It’s impossible to talk about the Redskins without discussing your opinion on Washington’s quarterback. The NFL is a quarterback driven league. If you pay even the slightest amount of attention to the most popular sport in the United States, you should be able to identify Tom Brady and Peyton Manning by their positions.

The league has to be able to market players and the media has to be able to shape stories around the players that have been deemed marketable. The NFL is after all a business. Businesses are designed to generate money. Once a product runs its course, the business has to create a new product that will be more successful than the old product.

One day soon Tom Brady will put on his Uggs for good. Sometime in the near future Peyton Manning will enjoy Sunday drives listening to Outlaw on Sirius XM while going for a nice Sunday drive, but those two are nothing more than cogs in the machine of the NFL. When they finally ride off into the sunset, a new batch of faces will have to take over and carry the marketing machine.

The transition is already beginning to happen. Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson’s commercial for Madden has generated some buzz on the Internet. It’s a funny commercial, but any two players could have been put in that commercial and the same result would have happened. It’s the visuals in the spot that make the advertisement enjoyable. Hell, Kaepernick doesn’t say an entire word during the spot:

It’s important that these two were chosen for the spot because of the position they play. Luke Kuechly certainly wasn’t considered for the spot. Maybe Andrew Luck should have been in the ad, but who is EA going to pair Luck up against, Jake Locker?

For all of the comparisons on the field, Luck has shown zero comparisons to Peyton Manning’s off the field personality. There’s still plenty of time for this to happen of course, but in terms of storylines centering on The Next-Four, Luck is way behind the other three. As I mentioned above, Locker isn’t going to be Luck’s counterpart like Wilson is to Kaepernick and vice-versa. Also, the storyline of Luck being the next coming of Peyton won’t heat up again until Broncos travel to Indianapolis in Week 7. For the time being, Luck just needs to avoid the sophomore jinx storyline that’s currently being carried by Doug Martin.

While Luck is down wrestling for the Intercontinental Championship, the championship belt for the most talked about player in the league is getting shined up for Griffin.

It’s impossible for the ridiculous amount of pre, during and post-game shows to be creative enough to figure out a way to put Griffin in segment five instead of devoting the opening five minutes to discussing every movement he makes on and off the field.

Understand that it is not just the media that is causing this revolution, the combination of Griffin himself, Dr. James Andrews and Mike Shanahan have created this monster. The trio created the perfect offseason storyline for the media to sink its claws into and we’re seeing (and hearing) the repercussions of it now.

After the Packers trounced the Redskins, all of the attention was placed on the status of Griffin. Unless you live in the Wisconsin area, or were able to avoid the national media coverage and read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, you missed out on the other point of view. The one that centers on just how good Aaron Rodgers is.

Thanks to Pro Football Reference, I went back to the 2010 season and compiled a list of eight games in which Rodgers played at Lambeau, after losing on the road. Here are Rodgers combined stats in those games compared to Griffin’s passing stats from last year:

Name Yards Comp. % TD/INT Yards per att. Record
Rodgers 2,564 71 25/5 9.8 7-1
Griffin 3,200 66 20/5 8.1 9-6

So where exactly is the praise for Rodgers? Are we just accustomed to his level of play so much that we ignore his greatness because Griffin is the new shiny toy?

Sure Rodgers suffered some negative publicity due to ex-Packers receivers publically criticizing his leadership qualities, but those stories were quickly swept under the rug when training camp rolled around. Meanwhile, Griffin’s storyline has swelled to Tebowian levels.

Not a word about Aaron Rodgers was mentioned. He’s old news. He’s not ushering in a new era of quarterback play. Griffin, Wilson, Luck and Kaepernick’s time is now. Mariota, Boyd, Bridgewater and Manziel are the next wave.

Even though the model of the ideal NFL quarterback is evolving right in front of our eyes, the model of creating a public persona has not. We just can’t seem to get enough of scandals and controversies that play out in the public light. After all, the NFL is just television’s best reality show and Griffin fed into that equation this offseason. RGIII is now suffering the aftershocks of being the face of a marketing campaign that promoted a return to the field just eight months after major surgery on his right knee.

Welcome to the top of the mountain Bob Griffin, there’s only one place to go from here.

Follow me on Twitter: @ScottDargis


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