NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: The Winner Is…

I’m not jealous of the peeps that get to vote for this one this year. It’s by far one of the hardest most difficult categories to pin down, but I’m going to do my best and offer my two cents, and hopefully clear things up for them a bit.

Honestly, I don’t think it’s as difficult a decision as most in the media are making it out to be. Sure, there are three obvious frontrunners for the award: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson. (A case could be made for Redskin’ s running back Alfred Morris, but let’s be honest, the focus has been on the rookie QBs all year, so there’s no chance a 6th-round back is going to sneak up on anybody and take this award.) But the choice is pretty clear cut.

The 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award should be given to Andrew Luck. Hands down.

I know a lot of the DC residents I live near and around may have a few choice words for me, and they certainly have their own case to make. I’m not buying into any of it though.

Andrew Luck meant more to the Indianapolis Colts this season than RGIII meant to Washington. There I said it. While Griffin certainly received far more hype (granted I’m in DC, so I’m sure I’m getting a skewed view of things—it’d be interesting to hear thoughts from fans in other cities on this), Andrew Luck provided more to his team overall.

Same goes for the guy out in Seattle. While Wilson took his time getting used to the offense and settling into his role, the Seahawks’ defense kept the team afloat. Even while Wilson set some of his own rookie marks, he still had the NFL’s no. 4 defense to lean on when the going got rough. Indy’s defense was far from spectacular this season, and about 90% of their wins are purely thanks to Luck and his last-minute heroics.

In her column on the Friday before Week 17 games were played, ESPN.com writer Ashley Fox listed a few of the rookie records that Luck set this year.

“In 15 games, he set the rookie record with 4,183 passing yards. He set the single-game rookie record with 433 passing yards against Miami in Week 9. He set the rookie record for attempts (599) and is within 29 of Sam Bradford’s rookie record for completions (he finished 15 shy of the mark). Luck’s six 300-yard passing games are two better than Peyton Manning’s previous rookie record of four, and his 10 wins are the most ever by a No. 1 overall pick, three better than Bradford’s seven.”

The knock against Luck—and conversely, the thing voters are going to notice about RGIII—is the amount of interceptions (18, to RG’s 5) and completion percentage (54.3% to III’s 65.6%). Fair, but I’d argue this: No team has asked more, statistically, of a rookie QB than the Colts, and the stats/newly set records that Fox presents prove that. Further, according to ESPN the Mag (side note: I swear this isn’t an ESPN-advertised post) Luck led all QBs, not just rookies, in average air yardage per pass attempt—he’s the only QB to average over 10 yards through the air per pass. So, while Griffin has thrown plenty of pretty bombs this season, a majority of his 3,200 yards have come on dinky-dunk passes and screen plays.

The most convincing reason why Luck deserves the award is this. He’s led the Colts on seven game-winning drives this season, and single handedly carried them into the playoffs. Luck’s emergence was predicted (as was RGIII’s), but no one could have expected the returns would have come in so soon. His ability to turn a 2-14 team around and put them in the playoffs has been nothing short of miraculous. The only real veteran leadership on the offensive side of the ball came from Reggie Wayne who accounted for fourth of Luck’s TDs and yards. The rookie could always lean on his veteran for help in crunch time, but Luck still had to step up to the plate and perform, and he did. He did so with other rookies surrounding him; four rookie receivers, a rookie tight end, and a rookie running back. Luck willed the Colts to nine more wins than their previous season total.

Was Robert Griffin III an exciting player to watch, of course. As was Russell Wilson. Like I said at the outset, any of the three rookie quarterbacks would make for an excellent recipient of the award. But in the sense of who was the best pure quarterback, who provided the most to their team, and who statistically performed the best out of these three, there’s no question in my mind that Andrew Luck should be the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Agree? Disagree? Make your case in the comments.

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Categories: BLOG

Author:robstott

I'm an editor for Associations Now, a magazine pubished by ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership. I live in Springfield, VA with my amazing wife, and am enjoying the ride that life is taking me on.

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3 Comments on “NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: The Winner Is…”

  1. ron ray
    January 7, 2013 at 1:57 am #

    You completely ignore Russell Wilson beyond the entry, but he’s the only one of the three to post a playofff win, tied manning’s rookie mark for Tds, and is an unheralded third round pick to boot. Clearly the best year of the three.

  2. January 7, 2013 at 2:05 am #

    It’s just a shame that the playoffs don’t count towards regular season award voting… The reason for the exclusion of Wilson beyond the intro (which I guess I should have put in there) is that he’s the only one who took over for a team that already had a lot of talented pieces in place. While Wilson did put up great numbers as a rookie, Luck and Griffin were more individually responsible for their teams’ turnarounds.

    Thanks for the comment!

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