The 2012 NFL rookie quarterback race is headed for the home stretch. With four games to go, three of the five first year men who started on opening day have a chance to lead their teams to winning records and the playoffs. Two have a chance to lead their teams to a division title. The two who pull up the rear have had what would be considered respectable seasons for most rookies.
At the first quarter of the season, dark horse Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks led the field in victories with favorites Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins right behind. Brandon Weedon of the Cleveland Browns and Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins had yet to win a game.
After eight games, Wilson and Luck began to set the pace. Griffin III was still playing well, but his team was not and he slipped back to join Weedon and Tannehill. Now, with 12 games and 3/4 of the race done, Luck has the lead with eight wins, while Wilson crowds him with seven. Griffin III has gotten back into the race with six, while Weedon and Tannehill watch from afar.
With and 8-4 record, Luck has the Colts in second place in the AFC South. Indianapolis has no chance of winning the division as the Houston Texans stand at 11-1, but the Colts currently hold the number five playoff seed ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers by one game. Indianapolis has a very good chance of winning 10 games this season, which should be plenty to earn a post season birth.
Ten wins may be enough to get Luck a playoff spot, but it may not be enough to hold off Wilson and Griffin III. Wilson has the Seahawks at 7-5. They are currently a game and a half behind the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West race. If Seattle can run the table, then they will finish with 11 wins. Like Indianapolis, Seattle may only need 10 wins to earn a playoff spot. Their main competition is the Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys. Earlier victories over the latter three give Seattle the tie breaker on each.
Then, there is Griffin III and Washington. After falling to 3-6, it sounded as if head coach Mike Shanahan had given up on the season. Then, the Redskins came back from their bye week and won three consecutive division games. This brought their record to 6-6 and put them one game behind the New York Giants in the NFC East. It also, put Griffin III a game behind Wilson and two behind Luck.
Going into the home stretch, it is obvious that the top three rookie quarterbacks will be Luck, Wilson and Griffin III. The only questions are who will win the most games and finish first and which will guide their teams to the playoffs? Winning the race is important and will probably lead to more success, but making the post season is what each man gets paid to do.
The run for the rookie roses has come to its final quarter with the race almost as tight as it can be. There are two favorites and a dark horse leading the field.
What more can fans of these rookie quarterbacks ask for?