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.