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History's Clock Is Ticking on RGIII


Hey, RGIII, take five, maybe 10. Ah, what the heck, maybe the rest of the season!

Because from no less than The Washington Post, reports Robert Griffin III’s time with the Redskins may be running out. And so is the team’s patience for the man they once heralded as their magic bullet, his career this year all but shot.

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Griffin isn’t the first big name to see his fortunes turn, but he is among the first to see those fortunes turn so quickly. Another loss this weekend to the San Francisco 49ers didn’t help. But coming just a week after the Redskins’ tumble to the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers, courtesy an even more dismal Griffin performance, in which he was intercepted twice and sacked six times – let’s just say Griffin ain’t exactly wowin’. This latest loss is the Redskins’ third straight since Griffin returned to the starting lineup.

Now it seems a foregone conclusion the team will bench him, likely in favor of backup Colt McCoy, according to the Post, freely quoting coaches apparently not all that afraid to go on record, stating their disappointment.

Separately, The Sporting News is reporting RGIII is losing some special perks as well. Coach Jay Gruden apparently has nixed allowing Griffin’s family to watch training camp practices. That’s always been the case for other players’ spouses and/or girlfriends, but not RGIII -- until now.

Perhaps given the Redskins’ rocky performance, having just fallen to a 3-8 record, Gruden’s been the most critical of all, and much of his comments came before this latest loss to San Francisco.

“He’s auditioned long enough,” Gruden said of his star quarterback. “Clock’s ticking. He’s got to play. We want Robert to excel, we really do...that takes time. But we don’t have a lot of time.”

And for the man heralded little more than two years ago as the Redskins savior and perhaps professional football’s biggest draw, it’s been a startling return to earth.

RGIII may be feeling lonely right about now, but he’s got a lot of company. Because he’s just the latest to lose luster. And if history is any guide, he won’t be the last.

Remember when another sports icon named Alex Rodriguez was chasing Hank Aaron’s homerun record -- and worth every penny he was getting. Then the steroid charges started coming, and the bad headlines started following. And suddenly A-Rod wasn’t such a hit with the fans, as much as he was constantly hit in the press.

Politicians know the feeling as well. Remember when no one could stop Hillary Clinton back in 2008, until a guy named Barack Obama did? Back then, it was a case of a new sensation being bested by a still newer sensation – a brand replacement that occurred mid-stream, mid-primaries, leaving the then frontrunner to try for another day. We shall see.

Just like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg looked like a modern day Thomas Edison right before his company’s Wall Street debut, only to be universally blasted after that infamous stumble out the gate – then reassessed yet again (after he somehow managed to stabilize what appeared like a sinking ship some months later).

They say fame follows success, or is it success follows fame? Sometimes it’s hard to remember. Because Sheryl Sandberg gets it at Facebook, no matter what she’s doing. Just like Mary Barra at GM gets it, for now, no matter how many vehicles she’s recalling.

It’s why Chris Christie still engenders a great deal of media popularity, despite a so-so record in his state of New Jersey, but proven seismic political game-changers such as Wisconsin Republican Congressman and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, get a fraction of the attention.

What changes the perception is when someone breaks expectations – for either good or bad. Jimmy Carter did that back in 1976, when the then relatively obscure former Georgia governor emerged out of nowhere as a victor in the then little noticed-Iowa caucuses.

Bill Clinton did much the same when he overcame a dubious gaggle of Democratic presidential wannabe’s out to challenge a seemingly invincible incumbent President George H.W. Bush in 1992. It was when he started turning the tide and started looking like he just might pull it off, that much of the media created its own Clinton bandwagon, and shamelessly piled on.

But fame, like obscurity, can be fleeting. Few thought baseball would ever be the same after some of its biggest stars were dragged down in doping scandals. But the game survived, as did a bevy of new and rising stars.

Whole parties know this trend-setting fickleness as well. Republicans given up for dead after losing a 2012 presidential election that the pundits insisted was theirs for the taking, re-emerged as having learned their lessons two years later in a famous mid-term shellacking.

How long notoriety lasts often depends on the success of the players involved, and the surprises that are invariably involved as well. Because just like they said Hillary Clinton couldn’t lose in 2008, she did. And just like after Democrats couldn’t come back from their 2010 mid-term drubbing, “they” did.

It’s like the sport reporters who famously said no human being on earth could ever beat George Foreman for heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Until a 10-1 aging underdog Muhammad Ali … did. That’s the same Muhammad Ali who himself was bested by another “nobody” dismissed by the press, by the name of Michael Spinks.

Silly thing, history, it keeps making a mockery of sure bets, and fools of those who never seem to fathom fame…really is fleeting.

Don’t believe me; believe RGIII.

What do you think?

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