RG3: THE ENIGMA
Written by: Jermaine Every
Date posted: 1/3/2013
Robert Griffin III (or RG3, as he's also known) is a fine young man. Born in Okinawa, Japan, in a military family (both parents are U.S. Army sergeants), he moved a lot as a kid. His family finally settled in Copperas Cove, TX, where he was a top track athlete, as well as the star quarterback on the football team.
In high school, he broke state track records and was named Gatorade Texas Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year as a Junior. He also led his football team to the state title game as a Senior, only to lose, 20-14, to Rosenberg Lamar Conslidated. As a 4-star recruit, RG3 was recruited by some of the top football programs in the country. He chose Houston because of head coach Art Briles' system, then switched to Baylor when Briles took the Baylor job. This was a two-fold switch, as Baylor also had a top track program.
While quarterbacking the Bears over the next four years (missing the final nine games of the 2009 season because of an ACL tear), Griffin put up amazing stats. He never threw more than 8 interceptions in a season, while never completing less than 60% of his passes (59.9% technically in 2008 as a true Freshman). His QB rating never fell below 142 (again, true Freshman year). Rushing-wise, Griffin posted career highs of 173 attempts, 843 yards, 13 touchdowns, averaging 4.9 per carry with a long of 63 as a true freshman.
Running was how he built his reputation at Copperas Cove, both on the football field and on the track. It's what got him a scholarship to Baylor. It's what made him a star at Baylor. But it was his steady improvement as a passer that propelled him to greater heights.
Consider this: his completion percentage went from 59.9% as a true Freshman in 2008 to 72.4% as a Senior in 2011. He also had a 189.5 QB rating, with 37 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions in 2011. Those numbers made RG3 the 2011 winner of the Heisman Trophy, Associated Press College Football Player of the Year, Davey O'Brien Award winner, Manning Award winner, Consensus All-American, finalist for the Walter Campbell Player of the Year, finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy, and a semi-finalist for the Maxwell Award.
One of his most impressive numbers was his 3.67 GPA graduating in December 2010 with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science while being named 2011 First Team Academic All Big 12.
Griffin declared for the NFL Draft on January 11, 2012, despite having one season of eligibility left at Baylor. The Washington Redskins fell in love with him and traded the No. 6 overall pick in 2012, their second-round pick in 2012, and their first-round picks in 2013 and 2014 to the St. Louis Rams for the No. 2 overall pick in 2012 for the right to draft RG3 second behind another highly touted Texas-bred QB, Andrew Luck, who went to the Indianapolis Colts first overall. Many considered Luck the best QB prospect to come out of college since Peyton Manning or John Elway.
Griffin has just completed what may be a NFL Rookie of the Year campaign in Washington with a QB rating of 102.4, 3200 yards passing, 20 TDs, and only 5 INTs, while completing 65.6% of his passes. Oh, there were also 815 yards and 7 TDs rushing to boot. These numbers left people in awe. People expected heavy rushing stats, but were mainly awed by his accuracy, decision making, and pocket presence. He was able to make throws only a select few can dare to attempt as a rookie.
Did I mention RG3 is black? Since he won the Heisman and declared for the draft, RG3's color had been a talking point of sorts. Lately, ESPN's Rob Parker tried to get some shock jock points by labeling him a "cornball brother" because he has a white fiancé and "isn't really down for the cause". Talk like this is an attempt to minimize what this remarkable young man has been able to accomplish. So what if he speaks, as if he's well educated and has some sense? What's it to us? His fiancé is white, big deal. He's a Christian too, raised by military parents. Does that make us cringe? And what of his hairdo? Shouldn't he cut it already? What difference does any of this make?
RG3 has done nothing, but be himself. He's a fine young man who happens to be a great quarterback. Not a "running" quarterback, or a "dual-threat" quarterback, or even a "black" quarterback. He's just a quarterback. People sometimes root for certain athletes because of their own personal preferences. I choose to root for RG3 because he's fun to watch. Anytime a guy can scare a defense into totally changing what they are in order of raising their chances of containing him, I watch. Anytime a guy can pull off being one of, if not the fastest players on the field while playing quarterback, I watch. The fact that we're of the same race means a hill of beans to me.
Andrew Luck is almost as impressive athletically as RG3. He ran the 40 two tenths of a second slower at the combine. He was hailed as the second coming in Indy. All RG3 did was go out and have an equally impressive, maybe more impressive, rookie season PASSING.
I love watching and rooting for BOTH guys. I'm more of a fan of RG3 because of his unique skill at the QB position, not because he's black. The fact that he's black is a mere footnote on the bonus side of a list of reasons why I pull for him to do well.
John Elway, Steve Young, and Doug Flutie were some of my favorite players growing up. They could throw, run, and manipulate a defense into wanting to pull their hair out. Elway and Young ended up winning three Super Bowls between them, while Flutie won three Grey Cups in the Canadian Football League. They were predecessors to guys like Michael Vick, Luck, and RG3. Did I mention they're all white?