NFL Rookie of the Year 2012: Where Each Candidate Stands Following Week 17

Tim KeeneyContributor IDecember 30, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 30: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts waves to the crowd as he leaves the field following a win over the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 30, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts defeated the Texans 28-16.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With Week 17 now in the books, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson have done all they can do.

Sure, all three quarterbacks are headed to the playoffs, but what they do there technically shouldn't have any bearing on who the voters select for Offensive Rookie of the Year. 

This has been a truly special year for the newbies. 

Not only have we seen three once-in-a-decade quarterbacks arrive to completely turn around their franchises in the same year, but two running backs have quietly entrenched themselves as among the five best in the league.

In most years, running backs like Alfred Morris and Doug Martin—who many feel were snubbed out of Pro Bowl nods—would be inordinately qualified for this prestigious award, but the unique season has them shockingly outside of contention.

Instead, it's all about the quarterbacks. Let's take a look at what each of the ginormous, record-breaking three did in their final Rookie of the Year auditions. 


Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

It was a pretty typical Sunday for Luck: underwhelming box score, remarkable win.

Luck struggled a bit with his accuracy as he completed just 50 percent of his passes (14-of-28) for a meager 191 yards, but he took care of the ball (zero interceptions), threw two touchdowns—including one on a drool-worthy throw to T.Y. Hilton—and led his squad to a monumental 28-16 home win over the Houston Texans. 

Again, that's just Luck being Luck. 

His stats are the weakest part of his resume. The 4,374 yards and 23 touchdowns are impressive, but that's partly been a result of a massive 627 pass attempts (over 39 per game) as he completed just over 54 percent of his throws and tossed an unhealthy 18 interceptions.

Still, the Colts defense, in terms of both points and yards, hasn't been much better than last year. The offense is riddled with fellow rookies. Yet Luck—thanks to his NFL-leading seven game-winning drives—has been the integral part in turning this from a two-win team to an 11-win playoff team. 


Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Ho-hum. Just another game decent game for the guy who's too short to see over the steering wheel:

Wilson completed 78.9 percent of his throws for 250 yards (a season-high 13.16 yards per attempt) and a touchdown to go along with another 58 yards on the ground and the game-winning rushing score.

The win, which propelled the 'Hawks to 11-5, didn't end up making any difference for Seattle in terms of seeding—but it was a fitting way for Wilson to cap off his season, which saw him account for 30 touchdowns (26 passing, four rushing), finish with a QB rating of 100.0 and finish in the top five in the NFL in yards per pass attempt with 7.93. 

Those who object to Wilson will point to his mediocre first half of the season and the fact that he is surrounded by an elite running back and defense.

But it's hard to imagine the Seahawks being anywhere near their current position without Wilson working his scrambling magic and playing like arguably the best QB in the league over the second half of the season.


Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

Griffin was playing on precisely one-and-a-half legs on Sunday and only threw for 100 yards, but he somehow limped his way to 63 rushing yards and a touchdown and managed to help the 'Skins beat the Dallas Cowboys and advance to the playoffs. 

To try to put RGIII's worth simply: He has changed the game.

Many thought the option couldn't be run in the NFL, but the former Baylor star has come in and run it flawlessly from the very start, leading the Redskins from five wins in 2011 to 10 wins and a division title this season.

The stats work pretty well in his favor, too: 3,200 passing yards on just under 66 percent passing, 20 passing TDs to just five interceptions, over 800 rushing yards, another seven scores via the ground and a QB rating of over 100.

Seriously, those just aren't things that normal rookies are supposed to accomplish (which, of course, can also be said about Luck and Wilson).

So, yeah, good luck, voters.