When the season first started, everyone believed that the Rookie of the Year award would be Andrew Luck’s to lose, but now it seems that Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson have as great a chance of winning. The three rookie quarterbacks all have their teams in positions to make the playoffs if the season ended today, or in a position to sneak in by the end. They’ve all had their share of bad games, but without them their teams would not be in the situations they are in now. All are possibly deserving of the award, but only one will win and later on you’ll find out who the winner should ultimately be.
First we have Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, who thought that when he was drafted that he would just be backing up Matt Flynn this season. Well Wilson won the job right out of training camp and hasn’t looked back since that point. Wilson on the year has over 2,300 yards, a 63.4% completion rate, 19 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions. He also has nearly 300 yards rushing. Most thought that since Wilson wasn’t deadly accurate and also suffered from “Drew Brees syndrome” (he is a shorter quarterback), this would affect how good he could become in the NFL. Since then Wilson has grabbed seven wins and has the Seahawks in a position to make the playoffs and a slim chance to even take the division. Wilson hasn’t ever been amazing, but he steps his game up at the perfect times. And that time happens to be crunch time. Wilson to date has led the Seahawks on game-winning drives on three occasions and those three wins came against three top-tier teams. The teams were the Green Bay Packers in the very controversial Monday Night game, the Chicago Bears a week ago in overtime, and against the New England Patriots, which I believe was his best game of his short career thus far. Wilson is definitely the surprise of the NFL season, but I just don’t think it’s enough to win this award over Griffin and Luck.
Next we have Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts. Luck has been everything the Colts had hoped for and more in such a short period of time as well. On the season, Luck has 17 touchdowns with 16 interceptions, nearly 3,600 yards, and a completion rate of 55.5%. He also has over 200 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. Luck, unlike Wilson and Griffin, didn’t come into NFL expecting to be such a good runner, although we all knew he was very athletic. Luck had huge shoes to fill since he was replacing the future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. Many figured that he would eventually do everything Manning did, but not for some years. It turns out that Luck didn’t want to wait and is putting up numbers that not even Manning was able to post during his rookie season. He has brought a 2-14 team to a record of 8-4 thus far and has them in a position to take a Wild Card spot in the AFC. The best aspect of Luck’s game is his ability to keep the play alive. He scrambles out of sacks and gets away from a collapsing pocket and ultimately makes a positive play out of it. Luck, like Wilson, has also led a few comebacks in his short career. He led his first against the Minnesota Vikings to set the team up for a game-winning field goal; the next was against the Green Bay Packers, which ended with a touchdown to Reggie Wayne; then he led an overtime win against the Tennessee Titans; the next came a week later with another game-winning field goal against the Miami Dolphins; and his most recent one came against the Detroit Lions when they won in the final seconds. Luck still seems to be in the driver’s seat for this award with his amazing poise under pressure, but could Griffin take it from him?
The last candidate is Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins. RGIII has been hyped since the draft and he has backed up his hype to the fullest extent. He has led a team that was 5-11 to a 6-6 record thus far and, like Wilson, has them in a position to make the playoffs and maybe even win the division. RGIII has over 2,600 passing yards on the season, a completion rate of 67.4%, with 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He also has 716 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. RGIII has become comparable to a Cam Newton or a Michael Vick in the ways he has made plays with his arm and his legs. Overall this season, he has been the best mobile quarterback in the NFL and his future is only getting brighter. Unlike the other two candidates, RGIII has games where he has been absolutely unstoppable and opposing defenses always looked like weren’t even on the same field. One of those games came against the Eagles a few weeks ago, where he went 14/15 for 200 yards, four touchdowns, and also had 84 rushing yards. RGIII has made the Redskins’ offense so dynamic due to his uncanny athletic ability. He has already set the rookie rushing record and may even break 1,000 yards rushing on the season. Now RGIII hasn’t led many comebacks like Wilson and Luck, but he has kept this team together and calm during times of distress. He is the most dangerous player in the NFL after only 12 games and it will only get worse for defenses in the future. It is impossible to prepare for him, and even if everything goes according to plan he is still able to give opposing defenses headaches. He has the best numbers out of these three and will only improve those as the season goes on. Can RGIII be denied this award?
It was about a year ago when these three players were among the top in the NCAA and all up for the Heisman Trophy, which RGIII won. People say history repeats itself, so I hope Wilson and Luck are prepared for déjà vu. RGIII will take this Rookie of the Year award from Wilson and Luck and place it next to his Heisman Trophy at the end of the season. Let the “Griffining” begin!