Does Sunday Win Prove That Russell Wilson Is the NFL's Rookie of the Year?
Granted, awards such as the ROY are obviously based on the regular season, so a playoff win only helps to solidify the opinion of those who already felt like Wilson was deserving of the award.
Even though this award is about play during the regular season, it is hard to ignore how a guy like Wilson does in the playoffs.
After the win over the Redskins, NFL.com had a telling headline for one of their “hot topics”:
“Last Rookie QB Standing”
Exactly. Award, please?
You understand why these are hard awards to determine, just like it is difficult to vote for a Most Valuable Player award.
Should the award for top rookie be just about numbers? If so, what numbers? There are so many to consider.
Wins. Quality wins. Come-from-behind wins. Touchdowns. Total yards. Interceptions. “Big” plays.
In case you forgot...quarterback ratings. Yards per attempt. Longest throw. Sacks. Yards per game.
The list goes on...and on...and on.
What about those pesky intangibles? Poise. Locker-room presence. Clutch play. Charisma. Is it acceptable for likeability to impact the decision? Voters may swear on a stack of media guides that they are objective, but let’s be honest here.
Fans that have watched games in recent weeks have heard analysts discussing the top candidates for Rookie of the Year, namely Wilson, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck.
What statistics are we given over and over? Yardage. Touchdowns. Interceptions. Is that it?
If those are the defining criteria, here is the comparison:
Russell Wilson: 3,118/26/10
Robert Griffin III: 3,200/20/5
Andrew Luck: 4,374/23/18
Did Wilson win with these numbers? Honestly, do these numbers tell the entire story? Obviously not:
Winner of touchdown passes: Wilson
Winner of fewest interceptions: Griffin
Winner of total yardage: Luck
Which stat is most important? A great question with absolutely no answer.
Wilson and Luck each earned 11 wins, while Griffin had 10.
Expectations were arguably higher for Luck and Griffin given their draft position, while Wilson may have inherited a team that was most ready to succeed given that Seattle had the best record of the three teams in 2011.
Let’s look at rushing yards. RGIII ran for 815, Wilson ran for a respectable 489 and Luck put up an adequate 255. Is the picture any clearer?
What about passer rating? That is one of those stats that analysts love to break out in these situations:
Griffin: 102.4 (third in the NFL)
Wilson: 100.0 (fourth)
Luck: 76.5 (26th)
Sorry Andrew, those picks ruin your passer rating.
We still don’t know whether Wilson is the best based on the numbers.
Even quarterback play at the end of season does not help make this determination. The Seahawks won seven of their last eight, Indianapolis won six of their last seven and the ‘Skins won seven in a row to end the season.
What about all those intangibles? Again, all likeable guys. Clutch players. Tough under pressure. Bright futures. Good personalities. Seemingly upright citizens.
This is hard.
We haven’t even talked about players like Alfred Morris or Doug Martin. With all the attention being paid to the quarterbacks, these dynamic running backs will likely be left out in the cold.
If we want to consider playoff performances, Morris had a very nice game with 80 yards against the tough Seattle defense.
However, let us not get sidetracked.
The objective fan has to acknowledge that each of these three quarterbacks are deserving of the award.
Wilson’s performance on Sunday may or may not sway the impartial watcher who did not have a favorite prior to this weekend. Luck threw for more yardage than Wilson (one would hope so with 54 attempts) and RGIII was ineffective due to a clear injury, so he may get a pass from many fans.
Russell threw well and ran well against the Redskins, but he did not pile up eye-popping numbers. He just won.
In the end, someone has to win the award and several fanbases are going to feel that their guy should have won.
Deserving and winning are not always the same thing.
If Russell Wilson does not win the award, Seattle fans may be disappointed but they probably will not be shocked. Luck turned around a 2-14 team and threw for over 4,000 yards. Robert Griffin III was dynamic as both a runner and a thrower, and he only threw five interceptions.
Of course, one has to assume that for many Seattle fans, the individual award just isn’t as important.
After all, Wilson is the last rookie quarterback standing and the Seattle Seahawks are moving on to the next round.
There are other, more important trophies to be sought after at this point of the season.
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