There is no question that during his time at Baylor, Robert Griffin III brought Baylor football to a higher level than it had been for decades. Not since the end of the Grant Teaff era had Baylor fans had much reason to celebrate. Now, with three consecutive winning seasons, recruiting on the upswing, a new stadium being built, and better and deeper talent than ever, Baylor football looks like it's here to stay.
Could it have happened without RG3? Maybe. But probably not. His talent on the football field was backed by his leadership of the team, his charisma on campus and in front of the camera, and his inspiring back story. He was the right man at the right time to turn the Baylor program around. Now Washington Redskins fans have put their hope in RG3 to turn their team around.
This is the story that David Sheinin tells in his new book, RG3: The Promise. For Baylor fans, RG3's influence continues, but his work is done in Waco. For Redskins fans, "the promise" describes their outlook for Griffin. In his rookie season, he won rookie of the year honors while leading Washington to their first playoff berth in years. But, as Sheinin reminds us with excruciating detail, RG3's knee hobbled their playoff run. The question is, will the knee be the downfall of RG3 and the crux of a losing bet by the Redskins' leadership, who traded away future picks for the chance to draft Griffin?
RG3 is definitely a fan's book, bordering on hagiography. Sheinin, a writer for the Washington Post, compiles press accounts and his own observations, as well as interview material from Griffin's friends and family (unfortunately not much from RG3 himself). You won't find tell-alls and dirt in this book. I'm not saying there is any dirt, but if there is, Sheinin didn't go looking for it and/or didn't see fit to write it. The best parts of the book, for me as a Baylor fan, were the recaps of his key games during his Baylor career. The most painful parts to read, of course, are the reminders that he is human after all, and that his knee is very vulnerable.
It's too early to say if RG3 is going to live up to his hype. He certainly did at Baylor. Sheinin points out that RG3 has won the hearts not only of Redskins fans and Baylor fans, but of football and nonfootball fans alike, all over the country. For RG3 fans, RG3 is definitely worth a read. I, for one, am pumped and ready to watch the Bears on Saturday and RG3 on Sunday!
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!