Washington Post sportswriter Sheinin spent most of the 2012 football season covering Robert Griffin III’s rookie year as quarterback for the Washington Redskins. This inside access forms the backbone of his excellent look at Griffin, his unbelievable year, and the season-ending knee injury that many feel could have been prevented. Sheinin’s look at the positive influence of Griffin’s family, as well as a game-by-game analysis of Griffin’s season, perfectly captures the quarterback’s appeal as a “telegenic, multifaceted, crazy-sock-wearing, Heisman Trophy–sporting, sort-of-dorky, sort-of-cool, gunslinging, swashbuckling Texan.” While Griffin was received as a savior by Redskins fans, a storied franchise on a downward trajectory since the 1990s, he was also part of a strategy by head coach Mike Shanahan that emphasized Griffin’s remarkable throwing arm as well as his running ability—the “zone-read” offense, which never before had “been run so effectively by as fast a quarterback as Griffin.” Sheinin convincingly explains how running the “zone-read” left Griffin vulnerable to injury. But he concludes that the pressures of being a savior combined with “the culture of football” that emphasizes playing hurt above safety, in the end, made Griffin “both a victim of the NFL culture and, along with his coach, its ultimate expression.” Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Aug.)
Robert Griffin III grew up in a military family and seems to have absorbed all the positive qualities that such an environment can offer, valuing hard work, with discipline, poise, and dedication as his lodestars. As a rookie quarterback with the Redskins in 2012, he set new first-year marks for passer rating, interception percentage, and yards rushing by a quarterback. Still, Sheinin (sports reporter, Washington Post), who primarily covers baseball, paints Griffin, widely known by the nickname RG3, almost as a tragic figure owing to the nature of his playing style, the team's play selection tendencies, and the brutal nature of the sport. Sheinin comes across as deeply disturbed by the inherent violence of football and posits that, given the injuries RG3 has suffered and those inevitably to come, we may have already seen the best of this celebrated player. VERDICT In his rookie year, RG3 had the highest-selling NFL jersey. This thorough biography will likewise be sought out by football fans everywhere.
A spellbinding biography tracing Robert Griffin III's meteoric rise to sport superstardom. In his debut book, Washington Post writer Sheinin crafts an engrossing portrait of Griffin, aka RG3, the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner and the current quarterback for the Washington Redskins. However, Sheinin's work transcends RG3's on-field heroics, focusing instead on the psychological portrait of a man whose personality and demeanor appear at odds with the typical franchise quarterback. "In school, Griffin was that rare kid who bridged social cliques," writes the author, "a star jock who also liked poetry, who made straight A's, who wore silly socks and still loved his superhero figurines." He was also a boy who loved football third (after basketball and track) and who, at the age of 12, promised his mother that if tackled, he would quit the sport altogether. It was just the motivation he required to ensure that he wasn't brought down, the spark that kept him pulling a tire uphill late into the evening as he transformed himself into an athlete of the highest level. Sheinin, who spent a year reporting on RG3, provides rare insight into the star's home life by incorporating firsthand interviews with Griffin's parents, both of whom describe raising their son in a Christian, color-blind household. Yet upon RG3's entrance onto the national stage, the young quarterback soon found himself embroiled in a racially charged maelstrom when an African-American commentator insinuated that Griffin wasn't a true "brother." RG3's skillful handling of the situation further proved that he was "comfortable in the spotlight, but wasn't one to seek it out"--a man who, while mysterious, was quite clear in his preference for heaving touchdowns rather than making headlines. Insightful, engaging and a must-read for sports fans interested in teasing out the true RG3.
“Robert Griffin III is the most exciting athlete to come to Washington in 20 years. And there's nobody better to write about him than Dave Sheinin. Dave Sheinin writes like Robert Griffin plays.”—Tony Kornheiser
“Robert Griffin III was THE story in Washington even before the Redskins drafted him and Dave Sheinin has chronicled that story from day one with the kind of insight not often seen in this era of the insulated, over-protected athlete. Griffin's story is worth telling and Sheinin is uniquely qualified to tell it.”—John Feinstein
“A skillfully told tale of the most exciting young player the NFL may have ever seen. Dave Sheinin holds nothing back. With RG3’s insight, he examines the dark side of the game and leaves us wondering if football in some places has become something less than human.”—Tim Green, New York Times–bestselling author and former Atlanta Falcons defensive end
“Sometimes there is a life in sports you want to know about before a career plays itself out. Robert Griffin III has had one of those lives, as interesting as the way he plays football.”—Mike Lupica
“There is no doubt that Robert Griffin III—that would be RG3, in modern text-speak—is the face of the professional football future. He is the mobile quarterback in a mobile time, dashing and daring, an escape artist who can win games with his feet or his arms, then talk about what he did in complete and interesting sentences. Alas, the danger of his job was underlined in his last game of last season, when he limped off the field, headed for major knee surgery. Will he be able to stay in one piece long enough to fulfill all of his promise? Or will the violence of his chosen game make him another famous casualty? Dave Sheinin looks at all of this and more in his sweet biography of football’s newest star. Terrific stuff.”—Leigh Montville, New York Times–bestselling author and sports columnist
“Dave Sheinin meticulously describes the collision of a nice young man and a brutal sport. Here is everything a reader needs to know about the perils of the new age of the mobile quarterback.”—George Vecsey, former New York Times sports columnist and author of Stan Musial: An American Life