All Hail Robert Griffin III: Why RG3 Was Right to Play Hurt for the Redskins

Thomas WalterContributor IIJanuary 7, 2013

RG3 is loved by Washington fans
RG3 is loved by Washington fansAl Bello/Getty Images

Everyone stop.  Take a deep breath, and just stop.

You're telling me that Kirk Cousins should have came in for an injured Robert Griffin III to try and lead the Washington Redskins over the ferocious Seattle Seahawks?

Are you kidding?

Robert Griffin III (or as every football fan in America calls him, RG3), gave Washington the best chance to win that game regardless of whether he was only able to use one leg.  He has a cannon for an arm as he threw for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns, and only five interceptions all year long for the Redskins.

Griffin, along with fellow rookie sensation running back Alfred Morris, led the Skins via a seven-game winning streak to a 10-6 record.  That record was good enough for Washington's first NFC East Championship in thirteen years. 

The result for his outstanding play this season?  He is one of the legitimate contenders for the Rookie of the Year Award.

And in my opinion, he is the most deserving of the award.

What, exactly, did Kirk Cousins do so well this season that there were advocates for the Redskins backup QB to take RG3's spot on the field?  He played well enough for the Redskins to complete a come-from-behind victory against the Ravens, and then threw for two touchdowns and one interception against a very poor Cleveland Browns team.

In other words, nothing special.

With Seattle's extremely tough and physical defense bearing down late in the game, Griffin had to be the one under center commanding his team.  He is their captain, leader and star.  He made the choice to give his team the best chance to win a playoff game.

So why, exactly, is there controversy surrounding the decision Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan made to keep Robert Griffin III in the game?  The simple answer is because the Redskins franchise quarterback was injured late in the fourth quarter.

Let me ask you a question.  Would Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant or Tom Brady come out of a playoff game when his team needed him?

Would Michael Jordan ever have come out of a playoff game?

Absolutely not.  They are competitors and leaders who give (or in Jordan's case, gave) their teams the best chance to win. 

So why should Griffin have been taken out?  He is also a competitor, and he did what all leaders should do: fight for his team to win the game.

It is easy to criticize Griffin now because he went down and the Redskins lost the game.  However, if he had led them to a victory, wouldn't he have been praised and celebrated despite playing while injured—just as he has been all season long?

For fans to criticize a player for not trying his hardest is one thing.  To second-guess a player's decision to give the absolute most he has is completely insane, unfair and just wrong.

After leading Washington to their best season in over a decade, Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan do not deserve that sort of criticism.