Recently, ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon said Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is the league’s best player. I have to seriously disagree with Wilbon; I respect Wilbon as a journalist and as a sports analyst but I have no choice but to disagree with him.
“I don’t mean best rookie. I think he’s the MVP.” Wilbon said “Because they can win any game, the Redskins now, because of him,” Wilbon continued. “Any game. They can beat anybody. Don’t tell me they can’t beat Houston. Now, they could also lose, because of what happened at the end of the game. And we’ve seen that. He’s put them in position, he’s won two games and the defense couldn’t come up with a save, if you will.”
I wholeheartedly disagree with this claim. I love Michael, and I watch his show Pardon The Interruption daily. I don’t think I could say anymore about how much I respect and idolize Wilbon, but the claim that Robert Griffin is the MVP is just absurd. I don’t even think RGIII is the best rookie, Andrew Luck is. Thus if RGIII isn’t even the best at his position in his rookie class he shouldn’t even be considered a candidate for the MVP.
Granted, RGIII is a very popular player, and no doubt hyped player, but as the great Public Enemy once said: DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE.
Take Cam Newton for example. Newton was a highly toted, beat anybody, dynamic type of player. He even beat the Texans in Houston, but fast forward to this month, he’s been figured out by the league, and is struggling with marginal success at best. I’m not saying you can compare these two outstanding athletes and their abilities, but you can compare the series of events that is unfolding for Griffin and see that it is eerily similar to that of Newton’s. Basically, I’m saying: how can you possibly take a player’s first half of a season and nominate him for the MVP? The MVP candidacy should not be a popularity contest, because Griffin is no doubt the hottest player in the NFL, and is a profitable commodity for the Redskins.
With that said, let’s look at what else Wilbon had to say.
While he and Tony Kornheiser discussed guys like Arian Foster and Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers on Kornheiser’s radio show, Wilbon faintly took a shot at Houston, Matt Schaub, and the undefeated Matt Ryan.
“Tony, look, there are damn few football players you buy a ticket to see,” Wilbon said, which is the truth.
“Oh, you do for [RGII],” Kornheiser agreed. “You do for him. You absolutely do.”
“You do,” Wilbon concluded. “You do. There are just very few. Look, they’re 6-1, you’re not buying a ticket to see Matt Schaub. You’re not. You’re not even buying a ticket to see Matty Ice. You’re not. I think Aaron Rodgers, and I think RGIII is in that category. You’re talking about Hall of Famers. Again, I’m not projecting, I’m just looking at where we are now.”
Where we are now is Griffin’s first season, and after his first seven games you want to call him the MVP and call him a “Hall of Famer”? I’m sorry Mr. Wilbon but I think this claim is preposterous. No disrespect to Griffin, because he’s shown, up to this point at least, that he can be a truly elite quarterback in this league. He bounced back from a huge hit that gave him a mild concussion. He’s tough, and he changes the dynamic of the Redskins game plan, but I think that there are much more valuable players to their respective teams than Griffin to the Redskins.
If you disagree with the claim that he’s “popular” and “over-hyped”, according to ESPN’s Dollars blog, Griffin has “earned more than any other rookie in NFL history before throwing his first regular-season pass,” via his number of endorsements. [source]
Griffin is certainly an astounding player, but by no means do I think this year is an MVP season for the rookie quarterback, and for Wilbon to call him the MVP based off the hype he’s built up is wrong for guys like JJ Watt, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, and even Andrew Luck who I feel is a better quarterback than Griffin as far as rookies go.
– Richard Perez