Last Monday night, the world finally saw what Robert Griffin III looked like in an NFL interview room with a former NFL coach. Jon Gruden isn’t the wild man that he was on the sidelines, but he still creates an entertaining environment with ESPN’s pre-draft Gruden QB Camp.
Gruden rolled tape on Griffin and asked him about a range of topics from his jovial game-face to his celebrations and socks. It showed a charismatic young man that can handle the rigors of competition without being consumed by the business aspect. It showed a guy who is cool as the other side of the pillow.
But it was curiously devoid of playbook discussion. There was no chalk talk, no spider bananas, and no real criticisms of prior mistakes on the football field, which stood in stark contrast to the oft-banana’d Gruden interview with Andrew Luck. So what’s the deal?
ESPN blogger Dan Graziano asked the same question of his coworkers, and discovered that this strategy was partially by design and partially how things presented themselves during the interview. The good news is that Redskins fans will get to see the hard-hitting portion coming up soon.
“In the case of RG3, he had such a great personality, the stuff he was giving us was compelling,” [Monday Night Football producer Jay] Rothman said. “Each of the shows has its own personality and feel, and I think at the end of the RG3 one, fans got a sense of what the kid was all about. In the body of the storytelling, you get a sense of the kid — his personality, his smarts, all of that.”
According to Rothman (via Graziano), the 30-minute specials are cut down from four or five-hour interviews. Just because we didn’t get to see it doesn’t mean that Griffin wasn’t put through the same mental gymnastics as Luck, and ESPN will prove it with a followup special soon.
Apparently during a portion of the Griffin-Gruden interview, they were joined by the immortal Vinny Testaverde, a former Heisman-winner in his own right, and first-overall pick. If outspoken Redskins fans get their way, Griffin will have to settle for No. 2 overall in the 2012 Draft.
ESPN producers are reportedly in the process of editing this chunk of the interview, which will air on an upcoming segment of NFL Live on ESPN. When I know anything about the details, I’ll pass the information along to you.
In the mean time, check out the first portion of the Gruden special, and follow Mr. Griffin on Twitter (@RGIII):