NFL Rookie of the Year 2012-13: Robert Griffin III Will Narrowly Win Award

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 2, 2013

The NFL Rookie of the Year award race features some great young players who had great seasons in 2012, but Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III should narrowly take home the honor.

Besides Griffin III, a logical case can be made for other young quarterbacks like Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, as well as running backs Doug Martin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Alfred Morris, also of the Redskins.

The incredible infusion of young signal-callers into this league has been all anyone can talk about this NFL season. On top of that, the top three rookie quarterbacks each led their respective teams to the playoffs with sensational numbers, so that will likely keep this a three-man, quarterback race.


By the Numbers

Luck led all rookie quarterbacks in passing yards (4,374). Wilson led all rookies in passing touchdowns (26), while RG3 had the best completion percentage (65.6) and threw far fewer interceptions (5) than Luck (18) and Wilson (10).

Granted, Luck threw over 200 more passes than RG3, but Wilson had the exact same amount of attempts as Griffin III did (393).

Griffin III (3,200) topped Wilson (3,118) in the passing yards department, but he fell over 1,100 yards short of what Luck compiled through the air. Again, keep in mind that Luck threw far more passes than RG3.

But where Griffin III starts to separate himself from the pack is the fact that his running abilities made for significant impact during the season.

RG3 ran for 815 yards and seven touchdowns during the 2012-13 campaign, while Wilson had more than half of that output with 489 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Luck, of course, is more of a pocket passer, so naturally he only gained 255 yards on the ground, but did cross the goal line five times on his own accord.

Incredibly enough, Griffin III actually finished fourth in rushing yards among rookies. The top three leaders in that category were all running backs, so it just goes to show you the many ways RG3 can impact a game.

While the same can be said for Wilson, he still didn't do as much as RG3 did with his feet. Luck's biggest contributions come from his arm alone, while his feet don't necessarily do much to impact a game with actual yardage.

Now on to total yardage.

Griffin III (4,015) outgained Wilson (3,607), but fell short of Luck (4,629) in the total yardage department. However, when combining each player's overall attempts (both running and passing), there is a distinct advantage for Luck.

RG3 had 513 total attempts between rushing and throwing, while Luck had an astounding 689 total attempts between the two categories. In case your math isn't that good, that's a grand total of 176 more attempts for Luck and RG3 also played in one less game.

To be fair, Russell Wilson had 487 total attempts, but still fell short in passing yardage despite having an equal number of pass attempts as Griffin III. RG3 had 26 more rushing attempts than Wilson, but if you evened their attempts out and used Wilson's average yardage per carry (5.2), he would have still finished with fewer rushing yards (624) than Griffin III (815).

If your head is spinning at the moment, I don't blame you. In fact, so was mine. But maybe this conclusion can help sum this all up.



The NFL is currently undergoing a bit of a transition period where dual-threat quarterbacks are all the rage. The successes of RG3 and Wilson have certainly proven it can work, but at the head of this new craze is no doubt RG3.

Griffin III's ability to attack opposing defenses in multiple ways has not only been a major reason why his team was successful this season, but it also gave opposing coaches nightmares in preparing for such an approach.

In short, a quarterback who can do several different things to affect the outcome of a game is far more valuable than your prototypical pocket passer. It adds an element of unpredictability that has never before been seen in the league when done to the exceptional standard that Griffin III has set.

Not to mention all it does to open up things for his other teammates like Morris.

As I said before, the case can certainly be made that either of these three young quarterbacks deserve the award and the final tally will be close, but in the new age where quarterbacks can both run and throw with great skill, Griffin III is the very best at it.