As part of my ongoing series to look at "Old DC" throwbacks and how the present day stacks up against the glory days, we’ll look today at RGIII and the media firestorm associated with his comments.
Fight for Old DC: November 2014
Oftentimes, press conferences can seem boring. Unless there’s a big game coming up or major personnel news, like an injury update, I think most fans skip over the sound bites and quotes that come out of these events. On second thought, I guess "unless" should also include "unless your starting quarterback says too much and then your head coach publicly shames aforementioned quarterback and makes national news." After going "all in for week one," RGIII again ignited a firestorm following the loss to Tampa Bay on November 16, 2014. Though he took the blame for all six sacks in the game, he also talked about how there were no Pro Bowlers on the team and said "If you want to look at the good teams in this league and the great quarterbacks, the Peytons (Manning) and the Aaron Rodgers, those guys don't play well if their guys don't play well. They don't. We need everybody. I need every one of those guys in that locker room, and I know they're looking at me saying the same thing."
The media seized upon Griffin’s words, and fans and national news outlets alike were quick to roast the young QB for what he said. Clearly, the coaches and players lacked insulation from the firestorm, as DeSean Jackson took to social media with thinly veiled criticism (of Griffin? Of his words getting twisted?), and Jay Gruden pretty much told reporters that Griffin’s play was far from perfect and Griffin should worry about himself. Following the controversy, Griffin quickly learned to embrace the phrase "We’re focused on San Francisco," and fans held out hope that he’d better learned to deal with the media when he announced his new slogan for the 2015 season: "You gotta talk small, play big."
Current State of Affairs: August 16, 2015
Well, that didn’t last long. Just days ago, Griffin made comments that have yet again sent fans and media into an uproar. During the interview with WJLA, Griffin spoke the words heard round the internet: "I don’t feel like I have to come out here and show anybody anything or why I’m better than this guy or better than that guy. It’s more about going out and affirming that for me, I go out and I play, I know I’m the best quarterback on this team. I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league and I have to go out and show that. Any athlete at any level, if they concede to someone else, they’re not a top competitor, they’re not trying to be the best that they can be. There’s guys in this league that have done way more than me. But, I still view myself as the best because that’s what I work toward every single day."
In the aftermath, Griffin expressed frustration that his words are being taken out of context and his interaction with the media seems to be headed down a more restricted path, both of which have happened in the past. Unlike last year, Griffin has found an ally in his head coach, who told the media "I didn’t really make a lot out of it. You guys did. Everyone strives to be the best." For my sanity and for all of our sakes, I'm hoping that Griffin's new mantra kicks in soon.