NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: A Two Horse Race

| December 22, 2012 | 2 Comments

Non-Redskins fans will look at this title and assume what they are about to read is a comparison of quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck’s stats and why one, more than the other, deserves the annual NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Well I’d hate to burst your bubble people, but that’s not what you’re preparing to read about.

What you are about to read is why Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson are exceptional rookie quarterbacks and why the race for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award is a two horse race between the two.

Don’t get me wrong I like Andrew Luck and think he is going to be a great quarterback in the NFL for years to come, but based off of this year’s performance, there is no reason to consider him for the award over Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson.

Andrew Luck fans and supporters will quickly point to stats that show Luck attempts more passes (which is true), or how he’s thrown for more passing yards (which is also true, but not very impressive when more than 24 turnovers are coupled with them), or his team’s nine win total (Russell Wilson’s team has the same amount and Griffin III’s team has one less), or my personal favorite, his “comebacks” (which are equivalent to an arsonist extinguishing his own fires).

The truth is, aside from those weak arguments in his favor, Andrew Luck has not played the quarterback position at as high a level as Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson have. Every stat used to measure individual quarterback play shows that to be fact, so there’s no reason to debate it.

To some this may sound like an extreme position to take, but to others it’s the only rational position to take. We often hear the term “rookie mistake(s)” when turnovers are discussed in relation to rookie quarterback play. That is one of the things that separates Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson from the rest of the rookie quarterback in the 2012 class. The two have played well enough to keep their respective teams in playoff contention while keeping their “rookie mistakes” to a minimum.

The job the two have done on that front is unprecedented and is part of the reason many experts, coaches and pundits are amazed by their poise and maturity at the position. Robert Griffin III has six total turnovers this season and Russell Wilson has twelve, both totals are less than the totals of the other starting rookie quarterbacks (with a minimum of ten starts) in the 2012 quarterback class.

Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson lead all starting rookie quarterbacks (with a minimum of ten starts) this year in completion percentage (Griffin III – 66.4%, Wilson – 62.9%), passer rating (Griffin III – 104.2, Wilson – 95.5), Total QBR (Griffin III – 71.3, Wilson – 68.7), and touchdown to interception ratio (Griffin III – 4.5:1, Wilson – 2.3:1).

The two are playing at a very high level at arguably the toughest position to play in all of sports. Again, I’m not saying that the other rookie quarterbacks aren’t playing well, I’m simply saying Griffin III and Wilson are playing at a much higher level than the rest of this year’s class.

Here are a few varying opinions from credible sources on this year’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year race:

  • Pro Football Focus saw it this way as of week 13. I’m assuming Russell Wilson has gained some ground on Robert Griffin III (in their opinion) with two strong games for him since then and Griffin III missing a game.
  • Nfl.com’s Around The League Editor Gregg Rosenthal sees it this way. Being so late in the season (two games left), I doubt his opinion will change much by the end of the year (barring an amazing performance by Russell Wilson in one or both of his last two games).

In my opinion, the race for the annual NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award is a two horse race and quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson are the two thoroughbreds that are leading the herd.

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