The Washington Times published an “oral history” of RGIII’s 76-yard touchdown run on Wednesday, which led to a Gchat argument between me and my friend Steve. I said I was fine with every part of the story except the use of the phrase “oral history,” which basically is now shorthand for “story about a thing that happened minus any actual writing or use of transitions.” I mean, I do tons of that stuff myself, and think it’s swell, but “oral history” to me connotes a project on a grander scale with a broader historical scope than a single play from four days ago.
Anyhow, my friend Steve, being a jerk, instead argued that D.C. is yet again salivating over a bit of regular-season razzle-dazzle with no actual consequences, along the lines of Ovechkin and The Goal, or the Caps and the Winter Classic, or the Landover Leap, or whatever else.
“I mean, does anyone celebrate iconic moments in non-critical games more than the D.C. fanbase?” he asked. “It’s ridiculous how stuff gets elevated here.”
So I attempted to argue that this play was particularly awesome.
“It was awesome — not worthy of the adulation it’s still getting,” he replied.
Because he was being a jerk, I will hereby call in a big-time expert — not a salivating D.C. fanboi, but a national figure with some sense of the historical scope.
“He would scare the heck out of me,” Pro Football Hall of Famer John Madden said of RGIII on SiriusXM’s NFL Radio. (Audio here.) “I’ll tell you, any coach, any team, any defense, the one thing that you fear is speed – whether that guy is a running back that could break loose, whether he’s a wide receiver that could get over the top or if he’s a quarterback that can run like this guy.
“Did you see him last week?” Madden continued. “I mean, go down the sideline? I have never, in the history of football, I have never seen a quarterback ever run that fast. I know that that’s what the Giants are thinking. I mean, they’re looking at that and they’re saying, whoo, or wow, or we can’t let that guy do that to us. So that takes a lot away from your defense, whether it’s real or imagined.
“A lot of time in life we defend ghosts,” he continued. “You saw something a week ago and you’re still out there holding your ground. When he hands off inside, you’re waiting for him to run around the end. So I think that’s going to be a problem with the Giants this week, real and imagined: They’re going to have to worry about him. You have to worry about his throwing, and you have to worry about him as a quarterback, and then doggone, the thing that would scare me most about him really is that speed.”
Later, Madden suggested that RGIII was helping to change our idea of what a pro quarterback should be.
“If he gets away from you on any type of scramble, he can just outrun anyone that you have on your team, and that is very, very scary,” Madden said. “I think that’s gonna be the pro quarterback style, I really do. If you go back and look at high school football, the way they play, and college football, the way they play, that’s the type of quarterback that we’re developing. And that’s the type of quarterback that’s gonna come into the league, and I think eventually that’s gonna be the pro-type quarterback.”