The second annual "NFL Honors" award show went down on the eve of the Super Bowl once again, and while many of the winners were no-brainers, there were also a few awards that were up for grabs.
Quite possibly the toughest decision was that for the Associated Press Rookie of the Year, in which Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III took home the hardware.
|Photo by: Evan Vucci
The rookie out of Baylor University earned 29 of the 50 possible votes. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck finished 2nd with 11 votes, followed up by Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson who received 10 votes.
The fact that Luck was runner-up probably irritates me more than RG3 winning so handily. Sure, Luck shockingly led Indianapolis to the playoffs with an improbable 11-5 record, but his statistics weren't nearly as great as either Griffin or Wilson's were.
The No. 1 overall pick led the league in total turnovers with 27. He threw 18 interceptions, 1 shy of the league lead, and lost 9 fumbles.
I understand he destroyed the rookie record for passing yards, but in this day and age, passing yards is almost meaningless because of how much quarterbacks throw the ball.
Luck's 627 pass attempts were 5th-most in the NFL this season. But his 54.1 completion percentage was ranked 31st. That's actually lower than Mark Sanchez. His 76.5 quarterback rating was 26th-best in the league, worse than Blaine Gabbert.
Can someone tell me how that is deserving of the second-best rookie season this year?
Russell Wilson should feel disrespected for finishing behind Andrew, and for earning only one third of the votes that RG3 received. The underrated product from Wisconsin (who I correctly predicted was the real deal before the regular season began, by the way) had nearly identical numbers to the guy picked 73 spots ahead of him.
Neither rookie attempted nearly as many passes as Luck. Both tied for 25th in the league with 393 pass attempts, but both are dual-threat quarterbacks capable of making plays with their legs as well as their arms.
The Skins QB had 258 total completions, while the Hawks QB had 252. RG3 finished with 3,200 passing yards, Wilson with 3,118.
Both ranked among the top 10 in terms of efficiency. RG3 had a 65.6 completion percentage (4th-best) and QB rating of 102.4 (3rd). Wilson was not far behind, however, with a completion percentage of 64.1 (8th) and QB rating of 100.0 (4th).
While the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner had less total turnovers with 10 (Only 5 INTs and 5 fumbles) compared to Wilson's 14 turnovers (10 INTs and 4 fumbles), the overachieving 5'11 QB had more total scores with 30 (26 passing and 4 rushing) in comparison to Griffin's 27 (20 passing and 7 rushing).
In just about every offensive category you can think of, RG3 and Wilson were right there with each other. They both had extremely impressive rookie campaigns and led their respective teams to double-digit wins this season, including playoff appearances.
One of the main reasons why I think the voters gave the nod to Griffin over the other rooks was the fact that the Redskins won the NFC East. They should not go by just that, however, because it is deceiving. The Seahawks actually had a better overall record at 11-5, and played a slightly tougher schedule.
The combined winning percentage of all of Washington's opponents this year was .492, and only 3 of their 10 victories came against teams with winning records. Seattle's opponents combined for a .496 percentage, with 5 of their 11 wins coming against clubs with a winning mark.
And the only reason why the Redskins even beat the Cowboys in the regular season finale to earn the divisional crown and clinch a playoff berth was because of rookie running back Alfred Morris and his 200 yards rushing and 3 TDs.
That brings me to my next point. Morris could have just as easily been named Rookie of the Year, given the type of season he had.
The 6th-round pick from Florida-Atlantic had one of the best rookie rushing seasons of all-time. His 1,613 yards was 3rd-most ever by a rookie and was good enough for 2nd in the NFL this year. If Adrian Peterson hadn't gone ballistic, we would be talking about the rookie leading the league in rushing.
The 24-year-old RB had the 3rd-most rushing attempts with 335. It's pretty amazing that he had almost as many carries as his fellow rookie teammate had pass attempts for the year.
Morris also averaged 4.8 yds/att (4th most of RBs with 250+ carries) and 100.8 yds/game (2nd-best). His 13 rushing TDs and 83 first downs were both ranked 2nd in the league as well, and he had the 5th-most runs of 20+ yards with 9.
That's an amazing season for any running back, especially a rookie who entered the regular season as the 3rd RB on the team depth chart. He definitely played a role in RG3 and the Redskins' success this season.
The fact that fellow rookie QB Kirk Cousins stepped in for Griffin when he was hurt and played well kind of goes to show that maybe it's the offensive system that coach Mike Shanahan and his staff put in place which makes them so successful.
When RG3 was knocked out of the game against Atlanta in Week 5, Cousins came in and threw 2 costly INTs and lost the game, yet still finished with a 97.2 QB rating. When he went in for Griffin against Baltimore, however, he drove the Redskins down the field and threw a game-tying touchdown to send the game to overtime, which they ended up winning.
And in his only start of the season, at Cleveland, Cousins went 26/37 for 329 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. That's 70.3% completions and a 104.4 QB rating.
It seems the playcalling by Kyle Shanahan was impeccable, to say the least.
The fact of the matter is, RG3 is an outstanding quarterback and put together a phenomenal season. But so did Wilson and Morris, yet the rookie of the year voting results do not reflect that.
There was way too much hype around RG3 and Luck heading into the season, and regardless of what they did, everyone expected them to finish first and second in the voting as well, whether it was deserved or not.
It was all hype. That's all these kind of awards are anyway. It's a popularity contest.
Wilson has been underappreciated throughout his football playing days and Morris doesn't get as much love because he isn't a QB. The voting results should have been much closer than they were. For that reason, these players were not shown the respect they deserve.
What a shame.