Larry Wilson, Richard Parker, meet Mike and Kyle Shanahan. You have a lot in common.
I may be dating myself in admitting this but ‘Weekend At Bernie’s II’ was one of my favorite films growing up. It’s a ridiculous movie about two employees at an insurance corporation who use the deceased body of their boss, voodoo, and slapstick comedy to try and locate a buried treasure. Not that there’s much of a moral to this story but it does show how greed can force men to do absolutely absurd things.
The idea that Robert Griffin III Houdini’d his way onto the field without giving Dr. James Andrews an opportunity to evaluate his knee is absurd. Mainly because Dr. James Andrews’ time isn’t cheap. He’s the only name in town when it comes to mending the bodies of professional athletes. His presence on the Redskins sideline is not just a company perk. He had a job to do. A job that, sadly, Mike Shanahan decided wasn’t more important than chasing a Wild Card playoff win.
After a near flawless start had the Redskins up 7-0 and looking to tack on another touchdown, RGIII scrambled out to his right and attempted a flick pass into the endzone. The result was an awkward fall that momentarily turned FedEx Field into a vacuum chamber. As Griffin III dragged his right leg back to the huddle he was able to shotput a touchdown pass on the next play. The stadium erupted as the Redskins took a dominant 14-0 lead, however, Griffin would head into a training room behind the bench. As he emerged, noticeably limping with every step, Mike ‘Larry Wilson’ Shanahan continued to send his wounded warrior into the field of battle.
The game wore on with RG3 becoming less and less effective. The designed read-option runs that were a staple of the Redskins offense (and so damned impossible to defend with a healthy Robert Griffin) became ordinary. Yet Kyle Shanahan continued to call plays with blinders on. Watching RGIII drag his leg behind him and seeing the slow motion replay of him wincing with each stride made me, for once, glad God made me too skinny to play professional football.
None of this mattered to Mike Shanahan. As long as he’s been a coach in the National Football League he certainly knows the difference between hurt and injured. Robert Griffin III was injured. Badly.
It had been 7 years since Mike Shanahan last won a playoff game and, come hell or hight water or potentially devastating knee injuries to your most important player, he craved that glory once again. He wanted the buried treasure. He ignored his years of accumulated football knowledge and intuition by allowing his star QB to shirk evaluation while hoping, by some measure of voodoo, Griffin III would ‘Bernie’ his way to victory.
What followed was like watching an M. Night Shyamalan movie after reading the spoiler. Torn LCL and ACL (again). A bad snap, a desperate lunge and an emaciated field was all it took for the music to stop playing (1:51, below).
It’s easy to risk anothers health for your own personal gain which is why Roger Goodell should be paying very close attention to this situation. The massive effort towards player safety puts responsibility in the hands of the coaches and doctors to protect their players. Neither were particularly interested in protecting Robert Griffin III on Sunday.