Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Robert Griffin III: Athlete, Leader, Believer By Ted Kluck - Book Review

From the publisher: RG3 explores the athletic prowess, faith, and leadership of the NFL’s hottest star.

Robert Griffin III is a world-class athlete, a Heisman Trophy winner, team captain of the Washington Redskins, and NFL Rookie of the Year. Just twenty-two years old, he has begun his ascent as a game-changing NFL quarterback and living testimony of Christian faith. RG3 goes deep into the pressures of the NFL to showcase this young superstar’s abilities, faith, and leadership.

How does RG3 maintain his competitive edge? How does he deal with the pressure of carrying a historic franchise on his shoulders? Can he take the NFL pounding, week in and week out? What is the likely outcome of his career if he remains a “running quarterback”? How does he balance on- and off-field commitments? What’s his character like? What role does his faith play in all this?

RG3 is a great football book that offers an in-depth look at practices, media appearances, off-field commitments, on-field exploits, and quiet moments of leadership over the course of a season. Peek behind the curtain of an athlete in progress as he seeks to make a world-class impact with his talent and his faith at the same time.

RG3 is ostensibly a biography of Robert Griffin III, the young, exciting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.  As much as any rookie needs a book about him, Ted Kluck does a nice job recapping his college career and examining, in depth, the great majority of his rookie season.  Kluck breaks down some of the signature plays that Griffin and the Redskins ran so successfully, and gives glimpses into what made Griffin into the man and player that he is (although he is still so young).

However, the book didn't really seem to be that, exactly.  It is a look at athletic celebrity, especially early in a career.  It's a look at the NFL quarterback position, particularly as it is now as the game is continuing to evolve. It also looks at what defines success for a pro quarterback now and in the past.  There is a particular focus on the "running" quarterback and also a look at leadership. Finally, Kluck discusses the importance of "branding" for an athlete, and how public displays or proclamations of faith might play into that.

As a book about RG3, RG3 does a passable job.  Most of his rookie season is still fresh enough in my mind that I don't feel it really needed to be written about yet.  However, as a book taking on the changing roles of young stars and the position of quarterback in our society of immediacy, RG3 succeeds at a high level.  My favorite parts were the examinations of how quarterbacking is changing, and how different quarterbacks compare.

I wouldn't really recommend this to the casual fan, but readers looking for something a little different in the way of looking at the NFL would enjoy this book.

I received a review copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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