Anyone who has followed my blogs for any length of time has certainly noticed how sensitive I am to second guessing, especially when the comments are directed to coaches’ decisions. Whatever the sport is a profession to the coach yet it’s a hobby for most people, probably the favorite diversion for adults and younger people alike. The common thread is that so many have played a sport or sports when they were young (even if young means 6-7 years old) or coached one or more (usually in a youth league, most likely with their child on the team).
Everyone’s job can be second guessed but who really cares if the right screw was used in fixing whatever it was the plumber, carpenter, auto mechanic, electrician, or whoever repaired? Take something as serious as a lawyer’s strategy. Unless it’s a high profile case, e.g. O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony or George Zimmerman, there’s little interest in legal strategy. Or unless you’re the one being defended.
The main reason people offer their views, anyway (not including those who simply want to show off their vast knowledge), is to blame somebody for a result (or person) they don’t like, agree with, or lost money on. But it’s never about the blame game. It’s about winning the game. Coaches have one guess and if they get all of them right but one, if that one decides which team wins, the coach knows his skewering is definitely a possibility, more like a probability.
In last year’s case of how Robert Griffin III’s season ended, there was enough blame - pretty much none of it deserved (unless you were interested in the blame game). He was the darling of the fans. In a brutal game of massive collisions, RG3 was a guy who brought finesse as well as toughness. His style was pure football - with a good deal of ballet mixed in. Throw in the fact that he’s articulate and he’s the landslide winner in the popularity contest. Independent of the others in the competition.
The summary of Griffin’s season is as follows: he plays quarterback for the team in the nation’s capitol, one that has a long, proud tradition, yet one that’s been losing for longer than the fans can stand. Rephrase that since it’s true about every team in the NFL except for the Ravens - and by the end of this year, they may join that list as well. Suffice to say the long, proud tradition part is something every team cannot claim. Enter RG3. The ‘Skins were either in or battling for first place in their division. Late in the season, Griffin got injured or hurt, depending of which party you talk to. Really, it’s just semantics because football is a game where no one is truly healthy and even if someone is “only hurt,” one additional play could easily push it into the injured category. It’s just a game in which macho is the optimum word.
The 8/12/2013 edition of Sports Illustrated has an article on RG3 and it is rife with comments that contain a certain theme: if a guy plays when he’s hurt (injured, maimed, dying, whatever), he has the respect of his teammates. If he begs out - even if it’s the smart, practical, correct move, he shouldn’t expect to be thought of very highly. So, Griffin being the football man’s football man, he stayed on the field although he was so limited by his right knee, he was rendered - at least as far as his expectations were concerned - ineffective. It looked like what occurred last season was going to affect this season.
Rumors were the QB and the coach had a disconnect, the team doctor and the coach had a disconnect, the QB avoided the docs so they couldn’t rule him in or out for the game. Fans and the media had a field day. There wasn’t enough blame to go around. Little went to Griffin. Most was directed at the coach - I mean who cares if the coach doesn’t like you but the team’s star, c’mon, he’s your man! Throw the doctor under the bus too for good measure.
All of this was OK until RG3 himself was asked. He responded like the stand up guy he is. No matter who was at fault; no matter what would happen this year, when confronted with a question regarding all the second guessers, Robert Griffin III said:
“Many may question, criticize & think they have all the right answers, but few have been in the line of fire in battle.”