I've had two SM's and they have been great pointer/retrievers, not sure who bred the dogs you're talking about?And from what I've seen the SM's haven't been amazing. Run around alot for sure. But I think it's a case of who's breeding good dogs from around where you are. Around you must be some good SM's. And if you want to see a dog run a bit bigger a SM is more for you than a griff. Perspnal preference. And I'll add I don't think a griff is a dog for the OP.
All the griff's I saw tested got prize 1 NA and watched some practice for UT and looked awesome. But only 1 had a coat I would look for. The UT dog. And that's why I say consistent breeds would be DD, DK and PP. But I think with the popularity of PP's that's shifting a little. I saw two run last year and they looked completely different, not just in color but coat. The one was more undercoat then wire coat.
Having hunted with almost all the dogs mentioned in this thread and have seen great dogs and some real ding dongs, The difference seems to be getting dogs from a reputable breeder.