But at some point the hunger to win overtook common sense. Griffin was allowed to run free even as danger lurked. When disaster happened in the 340-pound form of Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, Shanahan wasn't careful enough with RG3. He let him try to finish the Baltimore game and he allowed him to play too long against Seattle. Now Griffin's knee is damaged. He may miss significant time. The quarterback, whose long-term value to the franchise was so great that it took three first-round draft picks to get him, may never be the same player. He may never have that great, galloping burst that shot him past linebackers and safeties. We may have seen his finest days as a passer and runner. The player who returns might need to be more of a pocket passer.
And yet nobody apparently told Shanahan to get Griffin off the field. Nobody dared. To work for Shanahan is to all but sign a pledge of complete acquiescence. Questions are rarely asked. Decisions are never doubted.
Yet the biggest problem remains the culture of Shanahan in which no one questions the man wrapped in the big burgundy jacket and wearing the headset. No leader in the NFL – not Jim Harbaugh, not Bill Belichick, not Tom Coughlin – demands complete compliance the way Shanahan does. This is a trend going back to his days in Denver when he sat in his office and watched live feeds of his assistants' position meetings from a split-screen terminal. Several of those who have worked for him in the past worry about what they say lest he seek retaliation. Those who will talk of their time with him either offer gushing accolades or speak so cautiously as to reveal nothing.
Nobody wants to upset Shanahan.
As Michael Scott would say: "Boom. Roasted."