It’s hard to come by great rookie performances that someday wind up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and better yet to see the NFL’s Rookie of the Year to find his way to Canton.
In 42 years of old school muddy fields to the new age of turf, the Associated Press has been voting Rookies of the Year to the NFL.
Since 1967, the Associated Press has given out two annual Rookie of the Year Awards to NFL American football players: one for an offensive player and one for a defensive player. These two are often regarded as the "official" Rookie of the Year Awards.
A number of players could be on this list some day. Guys like Marshall Faulk, Charles Woodson, maybe Leslie O’Neal, Jerome Bettis, Curtis Martin, Randy Moss, and Brian Urlacher. Some of the early birds may include guys like Patrick Willis, Julius Peppers, and Adrian Peterson.
Robert Brazile, one of the all-time great pass-rushing linebackers to play is the only linebacker from the 1970s All-Decade Team not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is considered to be the one who first made the 3-4 popular for sending an outside linebacker to rush the quarterback.
Here are some quick hits for you on the history of the Rookies of the Year.
Players from the University of Miami have won the award the most times (six): Chuck Foreman, Ottis Anderson, Eddie Brown, Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, and Jonathan Vilma.
The Detroit Lions and the Pittsburgh Steelers have both won a total of six Rookie of the Year awards. Detroit has won four Offensive ROTYs and two Defensive ROTYs; Pittsburgh has three of each.
Running backs have won 30 out of 43 Offensive ROTY awards or 70%, and linebackers have won half of the Defensive ROTY awards (21 out of 42).
Time will only tell which ex-NFL Offensive/Defensive Rookie of the Year will make it into the Hall of Fame.
Here is a look at the 13 NFL Rookies of the Year who have found their way into the Hall of Fame.