NFL & RGIII: What Do We Expect?


It has happened again.  We’ve seen the scenario countless times….an athlete is asked a question about his or her skill set….regardless of the reply–it literally becomes the talk of the town for weeks….

Several seasons ago, Eli Manning said he considered himself to be a top quarterback in the league…and almost immediately, the snickering was rampant.  This was after all, that OTHER Manning making such a bold proclamation!  Eli might have been looking into a crystal ball—which ended up having a Super Bowl in store!  At press time, he still holds bragging rights at the family’s Thanksgiving dinner table when the number of championships just so happens to come up in a conversation.

RGIII is the most recent occurrence of this not so phenomenal phenomena.  I understood the message he was trying to convey.  Confidence, execution of plays, being above the fray yada yada yada…. But THAT message isn’t interesting enough to keep sports writers, anchors, and fans busy dissecting what was said, syllable by syllable….

Which leads me to this….what do we expect?  What is a player supposed to say when asked the loaded question?  The cookie cutter response is to convey confidence and humility all wrapped in one.  The ins and outs of how the message is crafted, depends entirely on the individual doing the speaking.  And how it is received, is depended entirely on how the listener feels about the individual in the first place. 

Case in point, birth order pretty much dictates that two time Super Bowl winner Eli will forever remain in the shadow of big brother, Peyton.  Yet, even if it weren’t the case, Eli is a different type of guy altogether.  From where I sit, he definitely has the skill set and has recently begun to accept the leadership demands required of his position.  For the most part though, he has routinely gotten the short end of the stick because the conversation inevitably turns to who he isn’t versus who he is!  

If donning Superman socks on the night he won the Heisman Trophy is any indication, RGIII is a different type of guy too!  His many talents were on full display during his rookie season, so we know exactly what the young man is capable of doing on the field.  Whether RGIII manages to learn a few things….like the fundamentals of sliding….and Coach Gruden manages to be more boardroom and less schoolyard playground with his handling of team matters, remains to be seen!  It is a bit early to write them off though, good things can still be in store for RGIII and company. 

Liking a player or not is beyond irrelevant in my book.  When asked THE question, I expect my quarterback to speak with tons of confidence–underscored with humility, of course. Trust and believe, the guy that stumbles over his words, undermines his abilities, doesn’t maintain eye contact and shrugs his shoulders IS NOT who I want in my team’s leadership role!

While we’re in the world of pigskin….the other “what do we expect” applies to the preseason brawls that have taken place in several training camps and games.  So let me get this straight….this game we love so much is rooted in violence—how else do you classify hitting another person?…the harder, the better no less! Then testosterone and ego are mixed in…and we’re surprised when scuffles break out–puhleeze. 

From a practical standpoint, fighting in football has never made sense to me.  It seems elementary that even the most powerful fist is going to come up on the losing end of impact with a helmet or pads. Apparently the rush of male hormones has little or no regard for the laws of physics–but seeing is believing guys, just saying! 

I can certainly do without controversies and fights but if it means the preseason is underway, I am also okay with dealing with it!! We all know this only the tip of the iceberg…the best is yet to come!!


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