ASHBURN, Va. — Robert Griffin III proved he can be nearly as entertaining behind a podium as he is on a football field.
The NFL’s newest wunderkind fielded questions Wednesday about his white arm sleeve, his ability to throw left-handed, throwing a block, jewelry offers, a certain covered-up swoosh and, of course, the sudden all-the-rage pose known as “Griffining.”
“Who would have thought getting knocked on your butt and throwing a touchdown would start a phenomenon like that?” Griffin said. “But it is what it is. And ‘Griffining,’ ‘RG3ing,’ whatever they want to call it, I’m not opposed to it. But it’s pretty funny to me.”
Perhaps the 2012 answer to “Tebowing,” the “Grifining” pose was born during Griffin’s first NFL touchdown pass in the Washington Redskins’ 40-32 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Griffin was hit while throwing the ball, then sat up and raised his arms when he saw Pierre Garcon make the catch and scamper for an 88-yard score.
Now, everyone wants to get in on the act.
An Internet search of the word “Griffining” late Wednesday produced more than 60,000 images, including one woman striking the pose on an airplane.
“Some of the teammates have made fun of me for it, like I started it on purpose,” Griffin said. “People are going to have fun with what they want to have fun with, and I’m not going to stop them.”
The No. 2 overall draft pick’s debut also won him the NFC offensive player of the week award, making him the first rookie quarterback to receive the honor for a Week 1 performance. Griffin is also on the cover of a regional edition of Sports Illustrated, more padding for praise that has become so lofty that coach Mike Shanahan had to temper it a bit.
“Let’s not get carried away with all this,” the coach said. “This is the first game. And it’s a growing experience, and each game you’re going to experience different things. And it’s part of the maturation process that he’s going to have some highs and some lows. … but I was really pleased with the way he handled himself.”
Shanahan won with a game plan that stole liberally from the colleges.
The coach had long promised to let Griffin be Griffin, and it showed every time the Redskins ran some sort of option play, or anything from the pistol formation. Washington’s offensive players spent part of the offseason watching game footage of Griffin at Baylor to give them an idea of what they were going to be doing.
“It goes against everything you’ve learned in the NFL game,” said Redskins defensive lineman Kedric Golston, who had more than his fill trying to defend the offense every day during training camp.
Shanahan did his best to keep the more creative schemes under wraps during training camp and preseason, and it paid off as Griffin completed 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
“Very, very impressive,” said St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who is trying to devise ways to stop Griffin when his team hosts the Redskins on Sunday. “As people are saying, that’s historical. … Obviously, there’s a lot of things offensively that have been worked on during the offseason and preseason that weren’t shown in the preseason games, and it ended up being very productive. “
Fisher now has the benefit of having one game’s worth of film to study. Of course, the Redskins know that Fisher has film to study, and Shanahan has promised to “experiment as the year goes on” with Griffin.
“The coaches are coming up with new concepts every day,” Griffin said. “I think their imaginations are running wild, and it’ll be fun to see what we do.”
In other words, it’s time to hunker down in the meeting rooms and let the chess games begin.
“We’re going to have a long week,” Fisher said. “It’s not easy.”
Meanwhile, there’s no detail too small to learn about Griffin. For instance: Why does he wear a white sleeve on his left arm? Answer: It’s just something he starting doing when he returned from a knee injury in college.
“It’s kind of something I’m comfortable with,” he said. “I think it was Deion (Sanders) who said if you look good you feel good, if you feel good you play good. That’s kind of what that is for me. But other than that, no real particular reason.”
But then he added: “I can throw with it, just in case you were wondering.”
That’s right. He learned how to throw left-handed from his left-handed father. Griffin said he can launch the ball “30, 40 yards” as a lefty, but he laughed that it’s “probably not” going to end up in a game plan.
Asked about the craziest message he’s received over the last few days, Griffin said he keeps getting ones on his phone from a salesman.
“He sends pictures of jewelry all the time. I’m not a jewelry guy, though,” Griffin said. “If it was free, I’d take it. It’s not free, so I’m not going to buy it.”
Asked to pick out one play that meant a lot to him from Sunday, Griffin went for the unorthodox.
“As a quarterback, you always want to do something that’s non-quarterbackish,” Griffin said. “So I did throw a block for Alfred (Morris) down the field. I was pretty proud of that moment, and I didn’t get injured — so nobody’s going to be chewing me out for that.”
Griffin was less talkative about one topic. He has a deal with adidas, and he covered up the Nike swoosh on the Redskins warm-up shirt he wore on the field before Sunday’s game. Such counter-marketing tactics do not sit well with the league office.
“I’ve not heard from the league yet,” said, Griffin, who didn’t cover the swoosh on his practice jersey Wednesday. “That’s all I’ll say about that.”