I’m not going to eulogize Robert Griffin III because he’s not dead and his career isn’t over. But the way he went out tonight—and possibly for the 2014 season—does rather cause me grief.
RGIII came to Washington pinned with hopes higher than heaven and all he did for the first eight months here was exceed them. In a single season he restored relevance to a franchise all but buried by the NFL, and resuscitated a desperate fan-base on emotional life-support by breathing hope into its heavy lungs. His future wasn’t bright: it was blinding.
Then, while trying to do more for that franchise and that fan-base than any human physically could, he suffered a degrading, multi-phase injury that obliterated the most important learning period of his professional career.
Then his coach (and boyhood hero) spent a season scapegoating him for the various imperfections inherent to one-legged quarterbacking.
Then the fan-base he saved—myself included, on some level—began to hate him for tweets and commercials.
And then finally, just as a new leader, new leg, and new lease combined to flicker one tiny bulb of light at the end of the tunnel, he rolled right (on a really nice conversion) and found this:
I guess he actually rolled wrong.
No one is promised anything in life, even tomorrow, and certainly even less in the NFL. It’s partly why football betting is so popular. And I realize you can only cry so much for a guy whose school made him a statue.
But it wasn’t supposed to go like this for RGIII and even a 31-point win and 10 free toppings can’t soothe the knot in my throat or the ache in my gut for a guy who mostly just wanted to make me proud.