There are NFL stars and then there are STARS.
It has nothing to do with what is happening on the field, but everything to do what is going on off the field. Once your own field celebrity crosses over into mainstream celebrity the opportunities that are afforded to you are plentiful. In life though there is always a trade off for such riches and that is what Robert Griffin III is finding out.
Some players just have an IT factor that you can’t explain. It is just something that is natural and people gravitate to them. When you mix that IT factor with a particular circumstances you create this mythical aura.
You can go all the way back to when RG3 was first bursting on the scene with Baylor, he had whatever “IT” was. Maybe it was the cool nickname or the flair in the way he played, but you ask a random housewife who was RG3 she probably knew, not because of what he had done on the field, but because if the aura he possessed.
This carried on all the way to the NFL Draft. A draft that included a sure fire #1 pick in Andrew Luck (more on him later), but was all about RG3. Who would trade for him? How would he be utilized? Heard he ran a 4.3 40? Did you read that report about character issues?
The build up was already beginning. No matter what anyone tells you, the crux of media are interesting people and public downfalls. The cliche is “Sex Sells”, but it really isn’t a cliche, without colorful personalities there wouldn’t be anything to talk about.
RG3 was a colorful personality and if he was drafted by the Browns, that might have been hidden in Cleveland, but since it was the Redskins that made the trade for him, it only added to the mythical aura. RG3 was going to be the Redskins savior and Redskins fans who were starved for a winner started the worship long before RG3 took his first snap.
The good news was that RG3 lived up to the hype. He was as good as advertised, which only made the worship stronger and the legend greater. RG3 like most “superstar personalities” soaked up the adulation and in my mind thrived off of it. He was a star on and off the field, the success and worship came quick and he soaked it all up as I would expect most 23 year-old guys would.
He was bigger than Luck, Wilson, Kap (more on him in a second) and the rest of youngin QBs. His personality was bigger, he worshipers were louder, his team was successful and then this happened.
Maybe it was Kirk Cousins waiting in the wings, RG3 competitiveness or just him not wanting to give up the spotlight, he and the Redskins made a bad decision. RG3 was never the same after this hit and it was painfully obvious, that he wasn’t just hurt, but severly injured.
Hindsight is 20/20 so I am sure the Redskins would have done things differently, but they didn’t and then this happened.
Most players tear their ACL, they go rehab and come back when they are ready, but when you aren’t just a player but a STAR you are treated a little differently (ask Derrick Rose).
As soon as RG3 went down, two things happened that started to trend towards RG3′s celebrity being used against him.
1- Russell Wilson & Kap went on to do damage in the playoffs.
2- Andrew Luck being boring became cool.
Sometimes indifference is the best defense against slander. Yes, Andrew Luck had a lot of turnovers last year, but people simply don’t care enough about him to harp on that. Yes, Russell Wilson had a very slow start last year, but he is off in Seattle and no one really cares. Yes, Kap has even played 16 games as a started and has had his struggles, but he is in San Fran and made it to the Super Bowl.
RG3 though he was worshiped and that comes with strong emotions on both sides of the game.
He could have went lowkey through the offseason, but once you taste that upper echelon of celebrity status it is hard to pull back. Plus, once the media puts you on that pedstal and they know you push the needle, they aren’t going to let you just fade away. If they have to they will create stories out of nothing, just because your name generates ratings.
RG3 embraces his celebrity and there is nothing wrong with that. If he wants to do commercials, documentaries, GQ or whatever that is his right, but he has to understand there isn’t just a price of fame but an expectation of success.
In our society, people get more joy out of seeing you fail than succeed. My theory on that is their lives are miserable, so they want others to be as miserable as they are. So, when you are put on that mountaintop, while you are admiring the view, plenty of people are creeping up behind to knock you down.
This isn’t a black or white thing, it is a circumstance thing.
Mark Sanchez knows, Tony Romo knows and even Peyton Manning knows to a certain extent how it is to be held to such a high standard because of either your talent or where you play, that any slight failure is magnified 100x.
Tony Romo would be seen as a hero on 20 NFL teams, but he plays for the Cowboys, there is a different standard, but there are also greater rewards, it is the gift and the curse.
The RG3 saga was set up just like a movie. The Rise, The Fall and The Aftermath, but we are still a long way from a conclusion to this major motion picture. In our “SKIPTIZED” media world, we always have to find an extreme take.
“RG3 should be benched.”
“RG3 shouldn’t have started.”
“RG3 must run!!!”
“RG3 must pass!!!”
There is nothing wrong with RG3, he looks like a quarterback in a brace, shaking off the rust after little to no training camp and preseason.
I want to give you a stat and while I am not big on stats being the end all be all, I want you to pay close attention to it.
1st 6 games of the 2012 season a running back ran for 499 with a 4.4. YPC average.
Solid, but nothing to write home about correct? You want to guess who that running back was?
So, just settle down a little.
RG3 isn’t above criticism, he has had a slow start to the season and some untimely turnovers, plus when you draw the spotlight on yourself, you can’t be upset when it shines back on you a little hotter. But, the reality is his isn’t the main problem with the Redskins.
But, that is the gift and the curse of playing Quarterback in the National Football League. You get most of the praise when a team wins and most of the blame when they lose. When you crossover to celebrity status it just raises the stakes of praise/blame game.
Always remember playing QB in the NFL is as much mental as it is physical, we will see in the long run how RG3 ends his starring role in this feature film.