Our post, “Pay Heed to RGIII”, originated from a phone conversation and a g-chat between the two of us. It has generated a lot of discussion, which we love. But, it seems that the overall point that we were trying to make has somewhat been lost. So, let us elaborate:
The discussion seems to have devolved into complaints about the post-Seattle loss playoff sports media not giving any props to Nick Crozier/Robert for their part in the rise and success of the pistol/zone read option offense – which, of course, is true. Then, it progressed into a conversation of whether Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick runs their versions of the offense better than Robert – which, of course, is ludicrous.
But, with all due respect… and I do mean all due respect, that is not the argument that we were trying to make. We’re saying something much more than that. We’re saying that without RGIII, AquaLad doesn’t run the pistol/zone read option in Washington – regardless of who they draft. And, what’s more, without RGIII as the Redskins quarterback, Pete Carroll doesn’t implement his version for Russell Wilson in Seattle, and Jim Harbaugh doesn’t go all-in on Colin Kaepernick running his version in San Fran.
And, I’ll do you one better: Carroll and Harbaugh made those moves not solely because of Robert’s performance on the field. Everything that has happened – the zone-read option trend, the 7-game winning streak, the phenomenon that is RGIII – has occurred because of the man, not the athlete. From his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech, to his many commercial sponsorships, to his “Cool Hand Luke” response, to his covering up for MWM’s faux pas at the post-game presser following the Carolina loss – this Poli Sci degree-holder’s media savvy, his poise, and his intellect has created the sensation known as “RGIII.” Robert is not just a franchise quarterback. He, himself, is a franchise.
The following that he has produced, and the passion that he inspires in them, comes not only from his legs and his throwing arm, but from his heart and from his mind. It transcends an organization, a league, a sport. Red and yellow, black and white – America loves RGIII.
And, because of that, we’ll make two further assertions:
- RGIII, the franchise, could only have happened in DC. The DC market is not much larger, nor its sports media much more critical than St. Louis, who had the pick originally; or Cleveland, who was right on the Redskins tail in trading for the pick. It’s not a significantly larger market, or more critical sports media, than Wilson’s Seattle or Kaepernick’s San Fran. But DC does house the political paparazzi, and even in a presidential election year, they appreciate that the most powerful man in The District is the Skins QB. Hell, even the two presidential candidates themselves said RGIII is probably the only man that could unite the perpetual divide that exists in the nation’s capital. He being a witty, charismatic 22-year old black man helps. He being Robert Griffin III helps more.
- Even though DC is not a large or aggressive media market, every one of the Redskins NFC East division opponents is: Philadelphia, New York, and, in the case of “America’s Team”, the national media. That is not the case for Wilson or Kaepernick. The reason that small men like Rob Parker felt it necessary to call RGIII a “cornball brother,” or Bomani Jones felt it necessary to tweet about RGIII’s “box braids” is specifically because the phenomenon of RGIII had been born, and flourished, under the media microscope. And only the man, Robert Griffin III, had the foundational strength of character and the personal discipline to respond accordingly. Not only did his response add to his sensation, it gave credibility in mainstream America to a black quarterback running the read-option, and, in turn, gave comfort to Carroll and Harbaugh to install their offensive schemes and use Wilson and Kaepernick the way that they have.
Make no mistake about it, the 2012-13 NFL season has been defined by RGIII becoming the Redskins quarterback. Pay heed to what he has in store for the future.