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John Madden: Shutting RG3 down affects the integrity of the game

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John Madden, the Hall of Fame coach and longtime broadcaster, has a problem with Washington coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to sit Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season to ensure he’ll be healthy for the offseason.

Madden said on Madden Football on SiriusXM NFL Radio that players and teams owe it to the league to play to win, and Madden believes that if Griffin is healthy enough that he’d be playing if Washington were fighting for a playoff berth, he ought to be playing now.

“I do know this: when the going goes tough you don’t quit. And you don’t fold up. And you don’t go in the other direction. I think you stay with what you believe you stay with who you are, you stay with what you are. And we have an integrity piece here, too,” Madden said, via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. “You can say well they’re 3-10, they’re out of it, so now they can do these things. No you can’t. This is still regular-season football. Draft order, that’s one small thing, but you still owe it to the people that are playing, that are still in the playoff picture. And when you can affect that and you don’t affect it with an all-out performance, then I think that affects the integrity of the game. . . . If you’re in the regular season, there’s only one way to play, and that’s to play your best people to win the game, every regular season game.”

Madden said he fundamentally disagrees with Shanahan’s view that keeping Griffin healthy for the offseason is more important than playing him in the final three games of the regular season.

“I mean, you know it’s baloney,” Madden said. “I like Mike Shanahan, and I’m not talking behind his back, but when you say something like that, you know that’s not right — you’re not going to sacrifice regular season games. There’s only 16 of them a year. You’re not going to sacrifice regular season games for an offseason program.”

But sacrificing regular season games for an offseason program is exactly what Shanahan says he’s doing with Griffin.

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88 Responses to “John Madden: Shutting RG3 down affects the integrity of the game”
  1. wryly1 says: Dec 11, 2013 7:29 PM

    The ‘integrity of the game’ was threatened when the NFL let a football know-nothing like Dan Snyder destroy a franchise by trading 3 RD1 picks plus an RD2 and not even get the top pick in the draft. Of course this is the same league that allows Jerrah Jones to be GM, Head Coach, Offensive & Defensive Coordinator.

  2. phaktor333 says: Dec 11, 2013 7:30 PM

    90% of the game is half mental.

  3. notrelated says: Dec 11, 2013 7:31 PM

    Except Griffin has been horrible and Cousins will more than likely be an improvement. What if Griffin is still hurt? Does letting a guy heal during irrelevant games affect the integrity of the game?

  4. nnagi says: Dec 11, 2013 7:32 PM

    John Madden, once again you are right on with your insight and logic…

  5. whoknowsnothing says: Dec 11, 2013 7:32 PM

    I don’t think RG3 has recovered from his last injury.

  6. toonloonboon says: Dec 11, 2013 7:33 PM

    hes 3-10 as a starter this year, hes played poorly, and he has a losing record as a professional…….why is this considerd giving up??

  7. coltsreign says: Dec 11, 2013 7:34 PM

    Now tell it to EA

  8. vusnu says: Dec 11, 2013 7:34 PM

    Meanwhile in St. Louis and in the rest of the NFC East, everybody is having a good laugh at the Griffing melodrama unfolding in D.C.

  9. bucrightoff says: Dec 11, 2013 7:34 PM

    Funny story, he’s getting benched because he’s playing awful. I believe you’re allowed to do that still John.

  10. logicalvoicesays says: Dec 11, 2013 7:35 PM

    Top 5 QBs in Professional Football – Robert Griffin III, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, Andy Dalton and Drew Brees. In that order.

  11. allday420ap says: Dec 11, 2013 7:35 PM

    In the picture he shows you how big the sandwich he just ate was

  12. profootballsquawk says: Dec 11, 2013 7:38 PM

    And why does Madden think RG3 gives them the best chance to win? What games has he been watching, 2012?

  13. fordmandalay says: Dec 11, 2013 7:40 PM

    Can we not forget they also owe it to the FANS, who buy the tickets, go to the games, buy the merchandise, and support the teams?

  14. seaeagle707 says: Dec 11, 2013 7:41 PM

    I agree with Madden, up to a point. Where I stop, is with the inference that he seems to be making that Cousins, the backup, wouldn’t be capable of winning the remaining games. It’s true that every team should put the best they can offer on the field for every game, regardless of the team’s standing. They owe that to their fans that shell out decent money to fill the seats for those games. They probably also owe it to the networks that pay big bucks to televise them.

    But when you’ve got competent backups ready to start, and the first stringers are marginal on health issues, I don’t agree that you “must” go with the primary players. With all of the quarterback shuffling that’s gone on in the league this season, for Madden, to suddenly say that this isn’t a “proper” thing for Washington to do, is rather strange. I didn’t hear him crying foul when Chudzinski, decided to sit Weeden, the starter, for a backup.

  15. akboot says: Dec 11, 2013 7:42 PM

    John Madden gets my thumbs up on this.

  16. EJ says: Dec 11, 2013 7:43 PM

    What’s the difference in sitting a starter for the last regular season game if your team has locked down a playoff spot and what the Redskins and Snyder are doing with RG3? Both options are for the better of the team in the short future. So does Madden disagree with the teams that sit a starter to keep him healthy for the playoffs? Doesn’t that too affect the integrity of the game? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I really don’t see a difference between the two.

  17. FlashPatterson says: Dec 11, 2013 7:47 PM

    Honestly the Redskins have been playing the equivalent of pre-season games for the last couple weeks. There is no incentive to win from now on, in fact all winning does is hurt your draft status and risk injury.

  18. steelersaregodsteam says: Dec 11, 2013 7:48 PM

    I honestly can’t tell if Shannahan is trying to save his job or lose it.

  19. getyourownname says: Dec 11, 2013 7:49 PM

    A lot of people called out the Browns for giving up when they traded Richardson. How’s that looking now?

  20. jredshoes says: Dec 11, 2013 7:50 PM

    If I was a Redskins season ticket holder I would sue their happy butts for charging me full price when they evidently have quit playing for the season 3 games early

  21. thestrategyexpert says: Dec 11, 2013 7:53 PM

    The key problem is that it doesn’t appear that Shanahan is being honest. By his own admission he’s not very honest very often, unless this is the time that he’s not being honest. I really think the media needs to ask better questions to not allow him to get away with cookie cutter answers that work for generic situations, but the media isn’t challenging him or putting him at risk to back himself into a corner with a lousy answer that doesn’t make sense. They keep asking him softball questions and missing the key follow up questions based on what his position is. He needs to get busted, because I don’t believe his story is truthful and makes sense, and that needs to be pressed upon and exposed.

  22. annes22 says: Dec 11, 2013 7:56 PM

    I think he should be playing for the fans. They have paid a lot of money for their tickets. They also have bought his jersey, and he’s sitting for the rest of the season. Excuse me, but why??? Because he’s playing like crap, or because he’s hurt.
    Shanahan needs to go anyway, what has he done this year??? Nothing.

  23. mortyglickstein says: Dec 11, 2013 8:00 PM

    What if Cousins wins 3 in a row and puts up good #’s? Then what do they do?

  24. nflgreedleague says: Dec 11, 2013 8:00 PM

    What integrity? You have to have integrity in order to lose it and the NFL and their officials do not have any.

  25. brutus9448 says: Dec 11, 2013 8:03 PM

    Tell that to Irsay when he went after Luck

  26. MyTeamsAllStink says: Dec 11, 2013 8:04 PM

    Well with any luck Madden wont choose RG3 to be on next years cover

  27. nflpasux says: Dec 11, 2013 8:05 PM

    This will get really funny if Cousins leads the Landover team to two or three wins!

  28. upperdecker19 says: Dec 11, 2013 8:05 PM

    Sounds like someone is feeling the effects of having a little too much turducken recently

  29. mitchphillymatty says: Dec 11, 2013 8:09 PM

    I’m sure that Shanny just wants to see Cousins. It has nothing to do with possible injuries.

  30. winorlose6burgh says: Dec 11, 2013 8:11 PM

    I miss john madden and his love for Farve

  31. bigbluenationdb says: Dec 11, 2013 8:12 PM

    Eli was terrible as a rookie, the Giants didn’t hide him on the bench they made him play it out. There was a stretch of three games Eli’s rookie year he looked awful but he stuck it out. RGME just got a piece of humble pie. He better chew on it all off season.

  32. seanx40 says: Dec 11, 2013 8:15 PM

    Kirk Cousins is almost certainly a better option at this point. Besides, if he plays well, the Redskins will have something to trade. Perhaps for an offensive lineman to block for RGIII next season.

  33. davikes says: Dec 11, 2013 8:18 PM

    The refs affect the integrity of the game a lot more than benching RGIII, and the NFL isn’t doing anything about that.

  34. lambeauwest says: Dec 11, 2013 8:23 PM

    I’m sure Vegas would like some integrity from the Skins too.

  35. greymares says: Dec 11, 2013 8:26 PM

    Ther are some of us that thought Cousins was the better QB from the get go. and now he has his first chance to show it.

  36. riverhorsey says: Dec 11, 2013 8:34 PM

    Like John but not sure he is filled in on what the real condition of RG is. Heard people say all year he is not the same guy this year after the injury.

    If that’s the case then of course you sit him and let him get on with his recovery from the injury.

  37. 1776dejavu says: Dec 11, 2013 8:37 PM

    Madden is right. It isn’t fair to the other teams are in the playoff hunt. If I was a Philly fan I would be irate and giving the Cowboys and Giants a gift is just wrong in so many ways. I happen to be a life long Skins fan for 40 years. If another team laid down in our division and we were in the hunt I would be one angry fan. RGIII isn’t hurt he is in Shanny’s way from making 7 million to get fired. No way he thinks Cousins is a better qb now or ever.

  38. charger383 says: Dec 11, 2013 8:37 PM

    I usually agree with the best coach the Raiders ever had and one of my favorite broadcasters, but John you missed this one

  39. goodellisruiningtheleague says: Dec 11, 2013 8:39 PM

    Did it affect the integrity of the game when Kaepernick replaced Alex Smith last season?

  40. metrocritical says: Dec 11, 2013 8:43 PM

    John Madden was credible in his time but John Madden’s time has passed. As for integrity, sometimes integrity involves speaking about subjects when one is fully and properly informed and not speaking just because there is a microphone in the vicinity. And, as a side note, the post injury RGlll is not nearly as good as the pre-injury RGlll and may not be better than a healthy Kirk Cousins. Given RGlll’s performance this year, Cousins may be an upgrade.

  41. fissels says: Dec 11, 2013 8:55 PM

    What the Redskins are doing makes perfect sense to me. RGIII needs a full off season to both heal from his injury and develop better drop back skills. Playing him the next three games endangers his potential next year. BTW, I like Madden, but this is a different situation than he’s ever encountered.

  42. croghan1919 says: Dec 11, 2013 8:59 PM

    Bill Polian disagrees.

  43. commonsensedude says: Dec 11, 2013 9:24 PM

    Madden is right and is a real coach, not a guy who rode on the back of a Hall of Fame QB to fame and fortune. And this is yet one more reason why there will never be a video game called “Mike Shanahan Football.”

  44. kokomike says: Dec 11, 2013 9:30 PM

    Madden is simply saying Shanahan’s stated reasons are flawed. Many of you are obtusely calling Shanahan a liar, and condemning Madden for taking Shanahan’s word.

  45. tigersfandan says: Dec 11, 2013 9:41 PM

    “”Whenever you talk about a Mike Shanahan offense, you’re always going to be talking about his offense.””

  46. gooboy6 says: Dec 11, 2013 10:01 PM

    No way Cousins is worse than RG III was last week, smart move by Redskins, let RG III heal up and come back strong next year. Madden is a legend but he doesn’t have all the answers, shanahan has 2 rings too !

  47. Brinke says: Dec 11, 2013 10:21 PM


    The Skins can play whoever they want. They’re way out of it, why play the guy so he can get shredded in a game that doesn’t matter?

    Whether he plays or Cousins plays, the other team still has to beat them.

  48. eepobee says: Dec 11, 2013 10:29 PM

    it’s likely that the redskins are showcasing cousins in an attempt to recover a pick or two in the off season. from that standpoint it behooves shanahan to make cousins look good by winning a few games – integrity issue solved.

  49. joeybrownersgoonakickyourarse says: Dec 11, 2013 10:54 PM

    I think he missed a big part of the situation here…

    For one, they very well might have a better chance of winning with Cousins at this point than with RG3 not fully healthy in body or mind.

    Secondly, that may be the point that Shananagains is trying to make.

  50. mdpgc says: Dec 11, 2013 11:22 PM

    Speak Madden Speak

  51. raiderlyfe510 says: Dec 11, 2013 11:29 PM

    What Bill Polian and the Colts did in 2011 “sucking for Luck”‘did way more damage to the integrity of the game than Shanahan and the Redskins shutting Bob Griffin down for the last 3 games of the season.

  52. favrelous says: Dec 11, 2013 11:56 PM

    Madden has RG3 on his fantasy team and this makes him so mad. Boom.

  53. cabby782 says: Dec 11, 2013 11:57 PM

    Some people say Green Bay should shut down Aaron Rodgers why is that a good move and doing the same with Griffin is bad for the game ? I think Rodgers not playing has more potentially play off impacting ramifications than Griffen

  54. TheNaturalMevs says: Dec 12, 2013 12:00 AM

    Disagree with my all time favorite Madden here. The way RG3 has played, they don’t owe it to anyone to play him. He doesn’t give them the best chance to win. They’re a better team with Cousins at the helm right now, IMO.

  55. clincoln007 says: Dec 12, 2013 12:03 AM

    Madden is spot on. I’m not a Skins fan but I couldn’t imagine my team forfeiting 3 games because they were out of the playoffs. Shanahan and Snyder should be ashamed and penalized. Cousins has been decent but season ticket holders and oponents ticket holders paid hard earned money to see their favorite team! If he can play he should play!

  56. cluelessdufus says: Dec 12, 2013 12:04 AM

    Griffin hasn’t done that bad [16 tds 12 int 3,203 yards and a 60% completion percentage I mean they have 2 two capable starters when my team doesn’t have one, we have 3 back ups [ Vikings]. His problem is that he is inconsistent inside the pocket he has the ability to make every throw but did too much outside the pocket playmaking that it never made him build good pocket awareness, but now he knee is shot everything is different.

  57. thetooloftools says: Dec 12, 2013 12:21 AM

    That’s all well and good, but Washington has been losing..

  58. marcinhouston says: Dec 12, 2013 1:21 AM

    It will be more important for Mike Shanahan to be healthy for seasons of low-level commentating than to travel for induction into the hall of fame, so voters can remember this incident and not induct him ever.

  59. indianhead1992 says: Dec 12, 2013 1:31 AM

    I feel like RGIII is not anywhere close to 100% because he is putting up Luck numbers but no one is saying bench him. RGIII had a decent year can’t fault him for what the record shows.

  60. dontbugmeonsundays says: Dec 12, 2013 3:44 AM

    Well with any luck Madden wont choose RG3 to be on next years cover

    In all likelihood it’s probably gona be Peyton Manning.

  61. ivedoneyourwife says: Dec 12, 2013 7:09 AM

    Boom! Tough acting Tinactin!

  62. dublindemonszfl says: Dec 12, 2013 8:27 AM

    And if Kirk Cousins based on the health of RG III gives the Redskins a better chance to win, what then Johnny? I would not want to play them this weekend, watch it, they are going to win. Cousins is going to play well and they are going to get a 2nd round offer for him in the off season.

  63. wishingtonredslur says: Dec 12, 2013 8:43 AM

    Why? Quarterbacks who aren’t winning get benched all the time. Warren Moon, Vick, Warner etc etc.

  64. deadeye says: Dec 12, 2013 9:06 AM

    Trotting out an obviously injured player threatens the integrity of the game as well.

  65. basedrum777 says: Dec 12, 2013 9:12 AM

    Redskins fans think it’d be giving up to leave him in …

  66. latenightroach says: Dec 12, 2013 9:12 AM

    Nowhere near ready to start from the get-go. Saw this coming. His play has been horrible on top of him being made out of glass.

  67. paulhoss1 says: Dec 12, 2013 9:31 AM

    Cousins gives the Redskins a better chance to win than Griffin because he is a better NFL QB.

  68. doubleogator says: Dec 12, 2013 9:31 AM

    This is giving Kirk Cousins more motivation to prove he can be a good NFL QB. He was drafted in the 4th round, higher than Tom Brady. Remember Drew Bledsoe? 6th round pick Brady made people forget him pretty quickly…

  69. andymannfl says: Dec 12, 2013 10:08 AM

    I love JM but I disagree. You do what’s best for your team. You don’t owe any team outside of yours anything. Now on top of that, if the ‘skins go 3-0 with Cousins, what will he say?

  70. newjerseygiants says: Dec 12, 2013 10:09 AM

    Its clearly apparent that if RG3 is unable to run with reckless abandon, then he’s ineffective at QB. Simple as that. I can almost guarantee if Russell Wilson had a brace on his knee, he’s still be effective.

  71. pixelito says: Dec 12, 2013 10:14 AM

    Madden has no perspective into the situation to make an irresponsible judgement like that.

  72. Seabass1970 says: Dec 12, 2013 10:22 AM

    NEVER forgotten in New England. True fans know that.

  73. sbchampsagain says: Dec 12, 2013 10:39 AM

    Madden’s spot on.

    This is almost as disgraceful as when the Colts “rested” Peyton before the playoffs.

    Of course Peyton then choked so I guess karma or the football gods had the last laugh!

  74. dg575 says: Dec 12, 2013 10:45 AM

    You know, when Brett Favre came in for Don Majkowski in 1992, there were a lot of Packers fans, myself included, who wanted him benched and Majkowski to start. Fortunately for us, Mike Holmgren ignored us and stuck with Favre, letting him work through his issues (more Interceptions than TDs in 1993) and it worked out.

    IMO, if the Redskins feel like RGIII is their franchise QB, they need to stick with him and let him work through his issues on the field every week.

  75. treysdown says: Dec 12, 2013 10:47 AM

    I wish the NFL would implement a lottery system for the top of the first round to ensure against teams tanking the season for a better draft pick.

  76. jglion says: Dec 12, 2013 10:50 AM

    What’s Washington’s record with RG111 playing? Why WOUNDN’T you sit him down and try Cousins at this point? Seems like a no brainer. Madden’s right about a lot of things, but not this time.

  77. darcrequiem says: Dec 12, 2013 11:00 AM

    I can’t believe how many people are getting snowed by Shanahan’s well shenanigans. This isn’t about protecting RG3 from injury. He just trotted him out in on snow covered field against one of the leagues best defenses last week. The Redskins are facing three of the worst passings defenses in the league over the last three weeks of the season. He’s stacking the deck for Cousins to leave a dumpster fire for next years coach.

  78. wferg1121 says: Dec 12, 2013 11:40 AM

    The Redskins have no 1st round pick courtesy of the RG3 trade. With a lot of teams needing a QB, why wouldn’t Shanahan advertise a NFL ready QB to other teams to get draft picks? Although it’s obvious he wont be using the picks if they get some.. Lol

  79. dabillshateme says: Dec 12, 2013 11:49 AM

    This is no different than teams saving starters for the playoffs. Does Madden think that affects the integrity of the game?

  80. smilesaustin says: Dec 12, 2013 11:53 AM

    Simple Solution that would significantly reduce the whole concept of “tanking.”

    Stop setting draft order solely on records. Make the top 10 picks in the draft a lottery of all non-playoff teams, then picks 11-32 can be set with the teams that weren’t chosen in that lottery by record and strength of schedule, etc. This way, nobody is guaranteed to get a top 10 pick in the draft. Best you can hope for by “tanking” is pick #11.

    It also solves the problem of all the marginal teams that can’t seem to quite get over the top, but also never seen to do poorly enough to get a top draft pick.

  81. rodh32340 says: Dec 12, 2013 12:08 PM

    All those years of Oakland versus Denver has corrupted Madden’s thinking on this subject…Here’s hoping Cousins has a great game to shut all this stuff down already…RGIII is damaged goods and HE knows it more than anyone.

  82. lunarpie says: Dec 12, 2013 12:23 PM

    Sorry John!

    GOODBYE to the “Mobile Quarterback” in the NFL.

    Signs of the Time.

  83. granadafan says: Dec 12, 2013 12:29 PM

    It’s clear RG was not fully healed and NOT ready to play. His knee injury and brace clearly affected his mechanics, which threw off his timing. He played timid and often threw the ball away too quickly. It was his competitive nature and ego which demanded that he try to keep up with Adrian Peterson in coming back from an ACL tear. Snyder should have listened to Shanahan and the staff instead of the young QB. It was Snyder who made the call to allow RG on the field, not Shanahan.

  84. dave4nyfg says: Dec 12, 2013 12:44 PM

    Non-issue. Look at who they play… falcons and giants are out of the picture. Eagles won’t be screwed if cowboys are ‘given’ a game b/c they have a chance to settle it themselves in wk17 (and the loser of that game won’t be getting a wildcard spot). Plus giants/cowboys have already beaten the skins this season.

    Let alone the other point that its hard to say that cousins will be less effective. As a giants fan, I’d probably rather face RG3 than more of an unknown who shown ability to play reasonably well — beat him once already this yr…

  85. lunarpie says: Dec 12, 2013 1:22 PM

    treysdown says:
    Dec 12, 2013 10:47 AM
    I wish the NFL would implement a lottery system for the top of the first round to ensure against teams tanking the season for a better draft pick.


    This is the NFL, not the NBA.

    Every new year every team has a chance.
    The NFL trumps the NBA for a reason!

  86. wmgates68 says: Dec 12, 2013 1:56 PM

    Madden is wrong. Since when shouldn’t you sit down a 3-10 QB? It should’ve been done weeks ago.

  87. raideralex99 says: Dec 12, 2013 3:40 PM

    Wow … I guess Madden stopped watching football.
    Rams have the Redskins pick … it’s in their best interest to win.
    RG3 is playing terrible why not teach him a lesson.
    Also at this time of year alot of players are shut down due to injuries especially if they have no chance of making the playoffs.

    Maybe Madden should have comment of what Reggie was doing in Oakland … tanking the season to get rid of the salary cap issues.
    How is that not effecting the integrity of the game?
    Did Ozzie dismantle the Ravens because they ran into salary cap issues?

  88. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Dec 12, 2013 4:17 PM

    Madden worried about the “integrity of the game” is a joke.

    Talk about hypocrisy.

    Madden (and Big Al) were the two that coined the legendary Two Rules of Raider Football.

    Raider Rule Number 1: Cheating is encouraged.

    Raider Rule Number 2: See Rule Number 1.

    The extent of b.s. the Raiders sunk to has no end, but I’ll give one example.

    The Raiders (coached by Madden) used to use padding as a weapon. Padding, tape, helmets and braces are to protect an injured player from further damage.

    Well, the Raiders brought in some kind of specialist for the express purpose of creating weapons for the Raiders to not only create an unfair competitive advantage – but also to hurt, intimidate, injure and demoralize opponents.

    Their players had lonnnnng been healthy, but they’d still be sneaking a metal bar or some plaster of paris in there – to create weapons they’d use to injure opponents. They even used the thumb in this regard.

    Madden, Atkinson, Vilapiano, Tatum, Hendricks, etc. – all thought this was a big joke.

    The big joke is Madden preaching to us about the integrity of the game.

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