There’s been no shortage of outrage expressed in the past 24 hours over Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to allow the obviously disabled Robert Griffin to remain in yesterday’s Wild Card playoff loss to Seattle until deep into the 4th quarter, though the New York Post’s Anthony Sulla-Heffinger thinks he’s found a motive for RGIII’s stubbornness. Y’see, had Griffin taken an seat earlier, “his toughness and position as leader of the team would’ve come into question much like it did two years ago with Jay Cutler.”
The Bears’ quarterback, who led the team to a 12-4 record and the NFC Championship game, missed the majority of the second half in Chicago’s 21-14 loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Packers after suffering what would turn out to be a sprained MCL.
“Cmon cutler u have to come back,” Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes wrote on Twitter in Jan. 2011. “This is the NFC championship if u didn’t know!”
“If I’m on chicago team jay cutler has to wait till me and the team shower get dressed and leave before he comes in the locker room! #FACT,” Arizona defensive lineman Darnell Dockett also wrote.
“All I’m saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee … I played the whole season on one …” Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew tweeted at the time.
Would we have seen the same thing in Washington if RGIII would have pulled himself yesterday? It’s unclear, but the entire football world is watching the playoffs, including the players.
Thankfully, we’ve yet to hear Mike Shanahan suggest he was doing everything possible to avoid embarrassing Griffin on Twitter. But since Sulla-Heffinger raised the spectre of Cutler, let’s compare and contrast the situations. Rob Parker excepted, Griffin is wildly popular. On the other hand, Cutler’s alleged propensity for sulking has won him the disrespect of fans, teammates and media alike. Sunday afternoon, Griffin’s difficulties planting his feet, throwing the football, moving around in the pocket were impossible to ignore. While the full extent of Cutler’s injury 2 years ago was hard to discern at the time of his removal, he also hadn’t entered the NFL Championship with one noted health care profession “scared to death” for his welfare.
Had Griffin pronounced himself unable to continue at halftime last night, it’s pretty unlikely he’d have suffered nearly the same scorn as Cutler if for no other reason than he’s not universally despised.