“Certainly there will be a lot of attention paid to what he does on the sideline,” Fox’s Sam Rosen said at the start of Sunday’s Redskins-Falcons broadcast, talking about Robert Griffin III.
He was correct.
Before the game, on a lark, I said that I would document every time the Fox cameras showed RGIII on the sidelines. That was a stupid thing to say.
Because the cameras wound up showing the third-string quarterback kind of a lot. More than usual for a third-string quarterback, I’d guess. And no offense to Fox, either. Clearly Washington’s quarterback issue was the most interesting part of that football game, on either sideline.
Anyhow, the final tally by my count was 34 RGIII sightings. It all added up to 4 minutes and 32 seconds of screen time. And an entire lost morning of my life. One I’m never getting back. Now, join me in drinking it all in.
(Methodology: I did not count Griffin’s image in graphics or newspaper photos. I did not count it as a separate sighting if the camera left and came back and he hadn’t moved. I did count it as a separate sighting if the camera showed him twice within the same stoppage, so long as he was doing something different the second time.)
1. Just before kickoff, Griffin takes out his headset, fiddles with his headset, puts on his headset, and shares a hearty laugh and lengthy smile with Rex Grossman. Then he puts the device in his sweat jacket pocket. Screentime: 23 seconds
2. With 7:47 left in the first quarter, Griffin is shown watching the game. Screentime: 4 seconds
3. With 4:55 left in the first quarter, all the team’s quarterbacks meet with Kyle Shanahan. Griffin’s back is to the camera. Screentime: 12 seconds.
4. With 48 seconds left in the first quarter, Kirk Cousins throws his first touchdown of the game. Griffin congratulates Kory Lichtensteiger and Cousins. Screentime: 5 seconds.
5. After the touchdown pass, he sits with Cousins and Kyle Shanahan on the bench. Screentime: 7 seconds.
6. With 41 seconds left in the first quarter, Griffin is shown taking the ball from Cousins for safe keeping. This would be mentioned several times during the broadcast. I should have taken TV photos every time they showed the ball. Maybe tomorrow. Screentime: 6 seconds.
7. At the start of second quarter Griffin and Rex Grossman compare notes. Or possibly funny sketches. Screentime: 7 seconds.
8. With 9:40 left in the second quarter Griffin walks in front of the camera as it shows a post-fumble Santana Moss. This is the only unintentional sighting of the day. Screentime: 3 seconds.
9. With 6:44 left in the second quarter, Fox shows an American Idol promo, and then transitions to a Griffin/Idol thing. He is fiddling with his earpiece. Screentime: 5 seconds.
10. With 6:35 left in the second quarter, Griffin and Kyle Shanahan look at photos after Cousins has tossed his second touchdown. Not sure how they talked over the invisible hate lasers. Screentime: 11 seconds.
11. With 4:36 left in the second quarter, there is a lengthy montage of Griffin’s pre-game warmups and stretches, which transitions into a live shot of him chatting with Nick Williams. Screentime: 21 seconds.
12. I just realized I should be inserting clever witticisms. Because this is getting dull. I’m pretty sure long and dull is a great combination for the Internet. Anyhow, with 49 seconds left in the first half, the Redskins get a field goal and Griffin offers a fistbump to his fellow QBs. Screentime: 4 seconds.
13. With 49 seconds left in the first half, he sits on the bench with Kyle Shanahan and Cousins and nods. Pretty sure Kyle Shanahan’s notebook thingee says “Shanahan” on the cover. Apt. Screentime: 18 seconds.
14. With 21 seconds left first half, Griffin watches the game. I should just be taking screenshots of you watching the game at this point. Next week? Your place? I’ll bring the chips. Mike Shanahan, if you’re wondering, is asking for more time to be placed on the clock, I believe. Screentime: 9 seconds. 15. Still 21 seconds left. Now he’s smiling. Screentime: 4 seconds.
16. You really realize how slow a football game is when you watch it like this. If there’s time for more than four minutes of Griffin doing nothing, there should be time for short animated features every week. In installments or whatever. Now there are 3 seconds left in the first half. He’s eating some sort of candy. Screentime: 7 seconds
17. I had such big dreams for my career. I was going to do so many memorable things. And here we are. Here’s RGIII running into the tunnel at halftime. Screentime: 2 seconds.
18. It takes 53 seconds and one punt before Griffin appears during the third quarter, talking with Cousins. Kind of had some withdrawal there. Screentime: 2 seconds.
19. With 8:16 left in the third quarter, Cousins has thrown an interception, and Griffin is there to console him. Screentime: 7 seconds.
20. Three seconds later, Fox comes out of a commercial and shows a longer montage of Griffin consoling Cousins. Screentime: 22 seconds.
21. With 1:43 left in the third quarter, Griffin is shown on the bench, talking to Rex Grossman. It occurs to me that Rex Grossman also got a lot of screentime in this game. Someone should document that. Maybe they could make criminals do it for community service or something. Screentime: 16 seconds.
22. With 1:14 left in the third quarter, Griffin is now talking to a trio including Grossman, Cousins and Pierre Garcon. Seriously, I know rifts are real, but when you watch everyone being so cordial, it’s hard to imagine. Though I guess I’m polite to my bosses, and then the things I say privately….Screentime: 5 seconds.
23. With 11:42 left in the fourth quarter, Griffin is fiddling with his earpiece. How many times must he fiddle? Fiddling while Ashburn burns. Screentime: 3 seconds.
24. With 5:38 left in the fourth quarter, Cousins throws another interception. Griffin talks to Kyle Shanahan about it. They both appear to smile. Someone could write a 2,000 word anonymously sourced piece about this one. Screentime: 5 seconds.
25. With 5:00 left in the fourth quarter, Griffin consoles Cousins after the interception. He appears to be excellent at consoling. Screentime: 8 seconds.
26. Things are getting interesting. The Redskins are driving. This is interesting: that game meant nothing for either team, and yet my heart was actually racing during that last drive. Why is that? Why do the endings of sporting events cause us to tense up, to feel so alive, even when they mean nothing? Not just nothing in the “nothing matters in the universe” sense, but nothing in the “even football fans who love the game dearly won’t remember who won this game in five years, and won’t remember that it was even played in 15 years” sense. And yet there I was, heart pounding, palms sweaty. Washington takes a timeout with 39 seconds left, and Griffin says “let’s go” and pumps his fist. Screentime: 6 seconds.
27. Cousins throws incomplete. Griffin chats with Reed Doughty and DeAngelo Hall. Screentime: 5 seconds.
28. Another timeout. Just 22 seconds remain. Griffin claps. Is he as nervous as I am? Does he already know what will happen next? Screentime: 5 seconds.
29. With 18 seconds left, Cousins throws his third touchdown. Griffin raises his arms before the pass is complete, and keeps them raised after the touchdown has been consummated, then pumps his fist. Screentime: 6 seconds.
30. Now the two-point conversion fails. And he looks glum. The celebration has been cut short. It will be another loss. Life really does involve a lot of misery. Screentime: 4 seconds.
31. Another angle. This time Griffin — shown with PR man Tony Wyllie and Hall — appears highly animated in his disappointment. Don’t read his lips. Via @BuzzFeedSports. Screentime: 6 seconds.
32. Emptiness. He spits. We all spit. Though I’m choosing not to show the literal saliva. The figurative saliva is everywhere. Screentime: 10 seconds.
33. And again. The camera has left, but it’s back. Now he’s chewing gum. All bubble; no yum. Screentime: 9 seconds.
34. And the march onto the field, to shake hands and call it a day. Although, as glum as he looks here, as the broadcast team signed off, cameras caught him greeting an old friend and smiling. A really broad, pleasant smile. It was a smile that says, tomorrow is another day, and we’ll all just try again. Screentime: 5 seconds.