It’s time to settle this once and for all. Who is the NFL‘s Offensive Rookie of the Year?
Of the superior play by the rookies this season, only one can be fortunate enough to win the award. There could be an argument made for a plethora of players that may “deserve” the award, which makes the decision such a difficult one to make. This may be the closest Rookie of the Year race in NFL history.
Of those that will be strongly considered is Indianapolis Colts‘ Andrew Luck, Seattle Seahawks‘ Russell Wilson, and Washington Redskins‘ Robert Griffin III. Each of the three led their team to the playoffs, after neither team advanced to the postseason the year before. Running backs Alfred Morris of the Redskins, and Trent Richardson of the Cleveland Browns could both receive strong consideration as well, but we all know that this is a quarterback driven league.
Wilson made a stronger case for himself as the season went on. His Seahawks also lasted the longest, as they were finally beaten by the Atlanta Falcons Sunday. He was given the nod over highly paid Matt Flynn during the preseason, as many questioned that decision by coach Pete Carroll. Wilson made people forget all about Flynn once the season begun. When comparing his stats to Griffin and Luck’s, there isn’t much separation between the three. He threw for 26 touchdowns, only 10 interceptions, and finished the season with a quarterback rating of 100.0. He started off slow, but settled in while helping the Seahawks win five straight to end the season and clinch a playoff berth. Due to the fact that he took his team the furthest, I wouldn’t be surprised if he received the award.
Luck was the number one overall draft pick and lived up to every bit of the hype. He was the first number one draft choice to lead his team to a winning record as well as the playoffs. Luck also broke the single-season record held by Cam Newton for the most passing yards in a season by a rookie QB. He threw for 4,374 yards to go along with 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. The one downfall on Luck was his tendency to throw picks, which is something Wilson and Griffin didn’t do as often. The Colts were 2-14 in 2011 and were 11-5 this season, largely due to the outstanding play of Luck.
Griffin, in my opinion, had the best overall season stat wise. When just looking at his numbers alone, he was in the top tier of the NFL in all major QB categories. Griffin completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. He also had a 102.4 QB rating (third behind Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning). Griffin led the NFL in passing yards per attempt at 8.14 and rushing yards per attempt at 6.8. Not only did his numbers stack up a little better than Wilson and Luck’s, but he helped the Redskins win what many may consider the best division in football, the NFC East. The Redskins were 5-1 within the division, which helped prompt their seven game win streak and playoff run.
Of these three, there isn’t one that stands out as Offensive Rookie of the Year. However, only one will walk away with the award. Griffin was named by Pro Football Weekly the overall Rookie of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year. Due to the fact Griffin was the sole rookie QB to make the Pro Bowl, it may be a sign that he is also on his way to winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
And the winner goes to….?
Redskins columnist/Josiah Turner