On Sunday, the Washington Redskins lost a playoff game to Seattle, 24-14. Very soon, they will find out if they have lost a quarterback, Robert Griffin III, and, if so, to what new injury to his right knee and for how long. It could be not much. It could be a great deal. And so could the repercussions.
Hold your breath. But understand that, from Griffin’s first play to his last, this game epitomizes the emergency-room world of NFL mayhem that all players accept and that quarterbacks, as team leaders, must play by a carry-me-off-on-my-shield code.
Only one person usually says, “Enough” to a star quarterback who wants to continue: the coach. And in close playoff games, they seldom do.
But rarely is that quarterback 22 years old, the face of the franchise and relentlessly driven to prove his courage. If ever a veteran coach needed to accept responsibility for the reins of a player, it was Shanahan over Griffin in this game. Yet he simply passed the buck to his player. Griffin said he could play, was in pain but wasn’t injured and had earned the right to be the quarterback — all the sideline buzzwords to keep yourself in the game. And Shanahan listened and bought it. Soon, we’ll find out the price.