Risk and Reward: RG3 versus…….AL12?

By Andrew Johnson

Robert Griffin III. Exciting, isn’t he? Heisman winner, Baylor Savior, and NFL ROY favorite after his week 1 coming out party. Oh, and by the way, he’s already signed deals with Adidas, Subway, EA Sports, EvoShield, Gatorade, and Castrol. He’s all over ESPN, as if his last name was “Tebow” or “Manning.”

He’s taking the media by storm, just like he’s expected to take the league. But the Colts didn’t want him.

(That’s not entirely true, is it? I’m sure the Colts would have taken every first, second, and third round pick they could have gotten their hands on. After all, a little competition is nice, and a rookie salary is even better.)

But Griffin wasn’t the Colts man. He wasn’t their heir to Peyton Manning. He wasn’t the new Johnny Unitas. He was the guy they passed on.

Andrew Luck is who they wanted.

Andrew Luck, the kid from Washington, D.C. The kid who turned an academic school into a football school. The kid who went back to school, delaying his huge paycheck. The kid who smiled when he finished second in the Heisman voting to RG3. The quarterback’s son. The college graduate. That’s who they wanted. Luck was their guy. He was #1.

But you wouldn’t know he was wanted over Griffin by the sponsorships he’s received.

Luck is sponsored by Nike and Pepsi, which isn’t bad for a guy who has only played one real NFL game. But he’s just not as around as RGIII (he doesn’t have as cool as a nickname, either). And he doesn’t sport these. Maybe he hasn’t had offers, but that’s doubtful, as he was an All-American, Heisman candidate and the highest possible draft pick. So the real question is, “Why is he saying no to so many sponsorships?”

Being from Atlanta, and knowing entirely too much about baseball, this situation reminds me of another. After their rookie season, the Braves offered hometown kids Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur (the same deal to stay in Atlanta long term. McCann took it, Francoeur didn’t. He took a risk of delaying money to get a bigger payday — (his plan failed miserably, but we’ll ignore that for now). Luck has already took that risk getting his degree. He’s taking it again now.

It’s a simple business school statement, “The more risk, the more reward.”

RG3 could win the Rookie of the Year, and NFL MVP this year, and his sponsors would be jumping for joy. He would regret signing so many deals so quickly.

But if Luck had the same success, his leverage would be almost unmeasurable. Joy would erupt from him and his camp, as he would be even richer very, very quickly. The risk would pay off. The sponsors would line up to pay out.

So which technique is better? Waiting and hoping, or taking and hoping.

Either way, there is risk. That can be assumed with any business transaction. But with one, you have a guaranteed payday (see RG3). Luck, however, must perform to get paid what he wants. What if (God forbid it) he pulls a Jamarcus Russell? He has his salary, his current sponsorship, and that’s it. No more sponsorships, no more multimillion dollar deals.  But he still has his college degree. That is allowing him to take risks in his sponsorship decisions. His safety net is an education, a degree, one that Griffin does not have.

You see, RG3 v. Luck is so much more than differences in playing style. Their personalities are inherent in their on-the-field actions. It could be argued that the media has played it up due to the race factor, but that would be discounting the person. Luck- calm, calculated, patient v. RG3- exciting, breathtaking, creative.  Luck got his degree, RG3 bypassed his senior season. Luck has patiently waited for the right deals, RG3 has gobbled up everything. RG3 was impressive in his debut, and Luck was disappointing. RG3 has the world class smile, Luck has a pretty nasty neck beard. Everything about these two tells me that they will forever be compared, and opinions will forever differentiate on them. They are two different quarterbacks, but that’s because they are two different people. Two different people who are pretty darned good at quarterback.

Two different people who are taking risks to make the most they can. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it Wall Street?

 

 

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