Why Robert Griffin III Desperately Needs to Win in MNF Showdown Against 49ers

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistNovember 25, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 20:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins warms up before the start of an NFL game against the Chicago Bears at FedExField on October 20, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Four out of five football fans agree that winning cures everything when it comes to how we perceive NFL stars. Right now, the Washington Redskins aren't winning, and thus every public misstep from their star quarterback is cutting much deeper than usual.

The latest development to hurt Robert Griffin III's image once again involves his head coach, Mike Shanahan, who over the weekend had to deny a report from Michael Silver of NFL.com that Griffin asked the coaching staff to scrub his negative plays from film review sessions, via Kevin Patra of NFL.com.

Silver reported that the situation could all be "coming to a head," per Patra:

Inside the building, we talked to people familiar with the situation, they perceive RGIII as kind of insecure, specifically about Kirk Cousins, which may be one reason he (RGIII) was so eager to rush back. At Baylor (University), they didn't put RGIII's bad plays up on the board in the meeting rooms. Sources familiar with the situation say he has asked the Redskins to do the same. They have refused to up to this point.

That came on the heels of a situation in which Griffin threw his coaching staff and his receiving corps under the bus following a hard-to-swallow loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Combine these issues with the problems Griffin seemed to be causing as he recovered from knee surgery during the offseason, and you have a fanbase that is growing frustrated with the team, its coach and—maybe more than anyone—its quarterback.

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But let's be real. Griffin and Shanahan won't one day suddenly hit it off. Regardless of how poor their relationship actually is, there's obviously been some friction for quite a while, and you don't just seamlessly move from that to hunky-dory.

Yes, people evolve, and Griffin is young. But there's little reason to believe he's going to fully change. In fact, he probably won't change much at all. It seems his and Shanahan's egos have clashed a little, and that's OK. Hell, Shanahan can vouch based on the often contentious relationship he and Dan Reeves had with John Elway in Denver.

Griffin and Shanahan are probably never going to be pals. But this is business, not personal.

The problem at the moment is that the business isn't operating very well either, which exacerbates all of the bad stuff.

The difference is that those Denver Broncos teams were usually very successful. I refuse to believe that it's coincidence that negative RGIII spin has usually picked up when he and the team haven't been delivering on the field.

That's why Monday night is important. Monday night is RGIII's Gloria Allred press conference. Monday night, with one decent individual performance combined with a victory over a team the 'Skins aren't supposed to beat—on national television, no less—Griffin can make the majority of his current adorers-turned-critics do another 180.

That's sometimes all it takes, which is almost a little sad. If RGIII and the 'Skins win, there will be a picture or two of Griffin and Shanahan in an embrace, smiling as if nothing ever happened. But if they lose and Griffin doesn't perform well only days after such a tumultuous week off the field, many of us will cast aside correlation-causation principles and conclude that Griffin's ego is sinking this ship.

In this billion-dollar business, few care who you are until you win, and even fewer care what you are as long as you win. If Griffin can lead his drowning franchise to an upset home victory in prime time Monday night, people will begin to care less about what he is off the field.


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