The days of worrying about starting rookie quarterbacks in the NFL seem to be long forgotten after 2012. Three first-year passers led their respective teams to playoff berths this year, and three players are ultimately gunning for Rookie of the Year. Three guesses who they are.
Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, and Andrew Luck were all impressive as rookies. That might actually be an understatement. This trio combined for 31 wins. Even though Wilson was the only one to capture a playoff victory, it's safe to say each player exceed expectations in one way or another.
Which of the three, though, will be crowned the NFL Rookie of the Year on Sunday night?
Let's take a look at the numbers to start. RG3 finished with 3,200 passing yards, 815 rushing yards, 27 total touchdowns, and just seven turnovers. He was banged up several times this season, as you're surely quick to recall his knee buckling in the playoffs against Seattle, but the most memorable moments came from him lighting up opposing defenses with his versatility. SB Nation's NFL bloggers named RG3 their Rookie of the Year, giving him 15 of the 29 votes.
Wilson threw for 3,118 yards, rushed for 489 yards, and scored 30 total touchdowns. He finished his two playoff appearances with a passer rating of 102.4, and nearly knocked off top-seeded Atlanta in the divisional round. The Seahawks defense was one of the best in the league, so Wilson's case seems to be hindered by that aspect.
Which leads us to Luck. The No. 1 draft pick from this past April set a rookie record with 4,374 passing yards, breaking Cam Newton's mark from just a year ago. Luck also rushed for 255 yards and scored 28 total touchdowns. But you won't find the pinnacle of his case in the overall statistics. It was his leadership late in games that really blew critics away. Luck fostered seven game-winning drives and four fourth-quarter comebacks in 2012.
Now, Luck's 18 interceptions factored into the fact that he was constantly forced to bring the Colts back. Let's be honest, though. Indianapolis won two games in 2011. With Luck under center, it emerged victorious in 11 matchups. Quite a turnaround for a team counted out before the year even began.
So, who will it be? RG3 and Luck consistently receive praise from analysts, but the Redskins quarterback appears to have a slight advantage. You can find out who will be named Rookie of the Years during the "NFL Honors" award show starting tonight at 9 p.m. on CBS.