Created on: January 09, 2013
The Washington Redskins have been an afterthought in the world of the NFL the last twenty years. Two decades of horrible free agent signings and numerous other poor decisions sent the team on a downward spiral. However, one trade seems to have helped finally turn the franchise around. When Washington acquired Robert Griffin III (RG3), it changed the demeanor of both the team and its fan base.
A seven game win streak to end the season landed the Redskins the NFC East title and a home playoff game. The D.C. area was pumped up, knowing that the team was no longer a laughing stock. Anticipation grew even higher when the Redskins rocketed out to a two touchdown lead before the first quarter was even over on Sunday. However, dark clouds lurked on the horizon as RG3 appeared to aggravate the same knee that he injured in a victory over Baltimore. Griffin pleaded that he was good to go, so coach Mike Shanahan allowed him to continue playing.
As it turns out, it might end up being a decision that Washington comes to regret. During the fourth quarter, Griffin tried to rally the team, only to be injured during a sack by Bruce Irvin. RG3 collapsed to the field one play later, where he stayed until he walked off the field with doctors in tow. It was the last fans would see of him that day. The news is not good as he had to have both his LCL and ACL fixed by Doctor James Andrews. In the meantime, fans and reporters alike are attacking Mike Shanahan.
Shanahan is being blamed for the injury to RG3 and the long term affect it is likely to have on the franchise. Fans are calling into Washington area sports talk stations and tweeting for the firing of Shanahan. Noted Washington Post sportswriter Sally Jenkins even wrote an article, putting the bulk of the blame on Shanahan for the injury. Perhaps the most ludicrous of retorts came from a radio personality, Tom Joyner, who equated Mike Shanahan to a slave owner on the movie Django Unchained.
Where did this notion come from? It may have started with Dr. James Andrews himself. No one questioned a hobbled RG3 playing against Philadelphia or Dallas, but the week before the playoff game, Dr. Andrews was mentioned in an article that said he never gave RG3 the go ahead to get back into the game against Baltimore. People quickly seized that opportunity, saying that Shanahan worried more about winning than about his franchise quarterback.
Funny thing is Andrews changed his story a short while later, saying no one was at fault for the Baltimore confusion as it was just a communications error between the team and doctors. Andrews was quoted as saying, "He came off the field, circled through the players with helmet on and went immediately back in the game without anyone — trainers or medical staff — getting close to him, much less examining him. No one to blame. A communication problem under the circumstances. I had no chance to clear him."
Mike Shanahan is tasked with making the best decisions for the Washington Redskins. One will remember he pulled Griffin out in the Baltimore game when it was clear he could not go on. Even in the middle of a battle for the NFC East crown, Shanahan sat RG3 for the game, which Kirk Cousins ultimately led the Skins to victory. The coach knows his future is tied to Robert Griffin III, so why would he want to jeopardize his tremendous talent. RG3 will be the face of the franchise for years to come, but on this day, it was his call to go back into the game. He convinced doctors and coaches alike that he was good to go. RG3 shoulders part of this burden on his shoulders, as he fought to stay in the game and ultimately paid a high price.
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