I have a pretty rock-solid theory of why there’s been such an absurd number of things written about Robert Griffin III over the past few months: Because everyone has a blog, and everyone wants to get people reading their blog, and a charismatic, marketable, Heisman-winning potential superstar Redskins rookie quarterback brings readers.
I mean, did Heath Shuler have this much hype as a pre-rookie? I can’t imagine. But would I have written 47 items in two months on Heath Shuler were I blogging in 1994? Heck yeah I would have. Would have stalked his policeman photo shoots, too.
So no, I don’t think people in 1994 were more sober and rational and discerning in their sports passions. It’s just that the Internet wasn’t desperate for content, belching quotes and photos and speculation and predictions and manufactured debates into the fragrant air.
Anyhow, last week DeAngelo Hall said that RGIII was “lightyears ahead of Michael Vick” at similar points in their careers. He said this Thursday afternoon, on ESPN 980. Twenty years ago, the sound bite disappears. Gone. In 2012, though, a producer sends it to me, and I blog about it 24 hours later, and it shows up on Pro Football Talk, and then veteran New York Times columnist Bill Rhoden uses the quote to riff on hype in the modern age.
“Last week, DeAngelo Hall — a cornerback for the Washington Redskins and a former college teammate of Michael Vick — said that Robert Griffin III was ‘light years ahead of Vick’ at similar stages of their career,” Rhoden said on “The Sports Reporters.” “Now, I was a bit surprised that Hall took the bait.
“Vick has been an NFL star almost from the start. He was an up-and-down game changer who proved that he could take a hit, and later on in his career that he could take a tumble, come back and still be a dominating force.
“All that Griffin has proven is that we are in an era of hype, where everything new and shiny is hailed as the latest and greatest. Griffin has been anointed as a star, before he’s even thrown an NFL pass or taken his first blind-side hit. Vick has always responded to pressure, even as a young player. I’m curious to see how RGIII can handle blitzes and hard knocks coming his way.”
And, of course, I only learned about Rhoden’s splash of cold water because it was highlighted on a blog, ESPN.com’s NFC East site. So now I’m hyping the hype concerns.
“Griffin is coming into the NFL in the era of hype,” Dan Graziano wrote, in agreeing with Rhoden. “Vick came in with plenty of hype, but it wasn’t like it is today, with Twitter and all of the ESPN networks and the constant hum of ludicrously in-depth analysis and debate. And even as this is something that has propped up Griffin and made him a star before he’s ever thrown an NFL pass, it’s also something of a potential obstacle for him.”
At least some fans seem to agree.
“Stop!” one commenter wrote on my “RGIII As a Policeman In Adidas Ad” item. “I think you’re going to be good. But no more commercials, no more interviews until you’ve accomplished something on the field. Tell your handlers to get lost.”
I still think if he can play, he can play. And if he fails, it won’t be because of anything DeAngelo Hall says on ESPN 980.
Now, go read these other RGIII items.
RGIII as a policeman
RGIII talks to Trent Williams
RGIII custom vehicles
RGIII will make beignets