The problem with the “best” comment that is creating an uproar out there is that the full thought of Robert Griffin III doesn’t fit into a tweet. But, “I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league,” has been wildly misrepresented, for the most part. It was taken out of context because his full comment runs about 125 words and it doesn’t fit into a tweet. At that size it even pushes the limits of the recommended length for an attention-getting Facebook post.
Most of those reacting to the tweet-sized quote didn’t bother to find out what he actually said. Here is the complete quote via WJLA:
“I don’t feel like I have to come out here and show anybody anything or why I’m better than this guy or better than that guy. It’s more about going out and affirming that for me, I go out and I play, I know I’m the best quarterback on this team. I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league and I have to go out and show that,” he said. “Any athlete at any level, if they concede to someone else, they’re not a top competitor, they’re not trying to be the best that they can be. There’s guys in this league that have done way more than me. But I still view myself as the best because that’s what I work toward every single day.”
What’s not to like here? He believes he has to be confident if he is going to excel. If he doesn’t believe he is the best, he doesn’t think he’ll ever get there. Griffin says that he works toward being the best every single day.
This situation is identical to the firestorm that was created by Griffin’s comments after the Bucs game last year. He spent several minutes taking every bit of blame for a poor performance. Then he was asked about 2012 and he said that they were playing “good team ball” that season. “The Peytons and the Aaron Rodgers, those guys don’t play well if their guys don’t play well. They don’t. We need everybody.”
Nobody who sat through his entire postgame press conference, even some of Griffin’s worst critics, came out thinking that Griffin had thrown his teammates under the bus or had deflected blame for having a poor game. (Read the transcript for yourself.) But the Peyton-Rodgers quote was snipped and tweeted and Griffin came off as a delusional bad guy.
Even if you do think that Griffin is delusional based on his most recent comment he hardly is the first NFL athlete to make an outlandish claim about his performance. He’s not even the first in the last month. In July, the Vikings’ website asked Adrian Peterson what his goal for yards rushing this year is. Peterson said it was 2,500 yards. To get that he would have to beat his personal best and the NFL record by about 400 yards, just about 20 percent. This after having had nearly a full season off due to child abuse charges. He is no more going to rush for 2,500 yards than I am going to be the next President of the United States. But his comments raised nary an eyebrow in the media.
Yes, Peterson is in a class by himself and perhaps someone with his career accomplishments can be allowed a little more leeway than Griffin. Fair enough. But what about Elvis Dumervil? Last month he said that he has the number “23” posted in his locker. That number of sacks would break Michael Strahan’s single season record and that is his goal for this season.
Dumervil’s had a career high 17 sacks last year. He turned 31 in January. Maybe the chances of him getting 23 sacks are not quite as remote as Peterson getting 2,500 yards. Perhaps I’ll just say that I’ll be a U. S. Senator before Dumervil gets 23 sacks in a season. But the reaction to his comments was crickets.
There have been other, similar remarks by NFL players this year. But none of them have created quite the firestorm that Griffin’s have. On Mike and Mike the hosts (neither Mike was present) spent five or 10 minutes at the top of each of the first two hours of the show talking about it. I saw this tweet with a Toronto radio station promoting an appearance by Alex Marvez, a FOX Sports NFL writer has no particular connection to the Redskins, to discuss what Griffin said. That kind of saturation coverage is just over the top considering the context of what Griffin said.
Griffin is scheduled to speak to the media this afternoon. It would be hard to blame him is he came out with the same type of press conference he had following the reaction to what he said after the Bucs. Remember that one where Griffin did his best Belichick imitation and said over and over that he was “focused on San Francisco”.
It would be hard to blame him if he did.