An Unholy Mess

Emotionally, I feel dead inside. That’s the good news.

I think I am physically ill. My eyes are bloodshot. My shoulders are tense and knotted. The maniac need to just keep writing is the only thing standing between me and spilling my lunch all over the awesome $150 glow-in-the-dark keyboard (that I don’t actually have–doesn’t it sound cool though?).

Some folks might might take it as a sign they’re doing something wrong if 80,000 fans are worried that each play could be the last of Robert Griffin’s career. You can’t endure a whole game of that, it quickly becomes too much to bear. Lord knows every time Griffin cringed in pain, I cringed too. When they broadcast a close-up of his face contorted by agony, I cringed too. I assume it made everybody feel this way.

Why was Griffin in so much pain in the first place? Was he bring punished? Were we? How could Shanahan possibly believe it was a good idea? To say it was heartbreaking ignores the monstrous scale of the thing. To call it catastrophic neglects the emotional shock, seeing something horrible happen to someone you love. Debacle is a good word for it. The phrase unholy mess is better,

If the goal was to make Troy Aikman crack up on national television, well, that’s a goal I can understand. You’d be doing the world a favor by getting him out of the broadcast booth forever, but there’s got to be a better way! It might have worked too, but he instinctively employed a coping strategy heavy on denial. Stupid luck is all that kept him from becoming only the 2nd major network football announcer to crack up live, on the air, in over “several years.”

“I don’t think Mike Shanahan would put his franchise at risk,”

he said, as Mike Shanahan was putting his franchise at risk. Now you need to understand, Troy sometimes isn’t good on some things where you have to “think about” them. Or maybe it would just be too crazy to remember that Shanahan has coached a game like this before:

November 13, 2000. I remember a lot of people saying it was a very important game at the time.The Raiders were playing Shanahan’s Broncos on Monday Night Football. Broncos QB Brian Griese stayed in the lineup after injuring his throwing shoulder in the first quarter–this being an important game in the Broncos/Raiders rivalry, and Griese being a young player wanting to demonstrate his toughness, he got a cortisone injection in the locker room and was back on the field in no time. Griese led his team to victory with a performance that was nothing short of heroic. Woody Paige called it “courageous [and] incomprehensible,” proclaiming “legends have been created with less.” What Paige didn’t know was how bad Griese’s shoulder was, or that he would never be the same player again.

Griffin is Washington’s obvious focal point and team leader, but the Redskins are bristling with talent up and down the depth chart. Each position has at least one capable backup, even quarterback. And that is kind of my point: the Redskins shouldn’t be afraid to count on the next man up in case any starter gets hurt, including Robert Griffin III. They could have given Kirk Cousins a 14-point lead to protect; they had another chance when there were 7 minutes left in the 4th and they only needed 7, and they really should have fucking taken that one. When they finally gave him the ball, by then trailing by 10, it was already too late.

Would you laugh if it turned out the Kyle tried to say “Robert’s too hurt, we gotta go with Kirk,” but Mike vetoed it? I would either laugh or cry.

Maybe I will feel better in the morning. Think happy thoughts: Reed Doughty is getting better and better, maybe he’ll be exciting to watch next year. Brandon Stokely has played on super bowl winning Ravens and Colts teams. Maybe he can win another one with the Broncos this year. Wouldn’t Shannon Sharpe be proud of him?

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