After a fairly crazy NFL week thirteen, I decided to take a look at what the new power rankings looked like on ESPN. Some teams shuffled around in a couple of places in the top ten, but one team has steadily improved and has crept into the ninth position; the Indianapolis Colts. I like to read the notes that coincide with the ranking, but I found this blurb to be startling; to paraphrase the note, it said, ‘Andrew Luck may be the greatest rookie quarterback in NFL history.’ This threw me off. It is crazy for an assumption like that to be made, especially when Robert Griffin is putting up ridiculous numbers. Andrew Luck is having a phenomenal rookie season, but he is not the best rookie quarterback ever; in fact, he is not even the best rookie quarterback this season.
To Luck’s credit, he has had an outstanding rookie campaign. In his first season in the NFL, he is currently ranked fourth among quarterbacks in both passing yards (3,596) and passing yards per game (300). If these numbers stay true, then he will shatter the record for most passing yards in a season by a rookie, which was set by Cam Newton last season. It may be a reach, but there is a slight chance that Luck could eclipse the 5,000 yard mark. If he does do this, he would become just the sixth quarterback in history to reach 5,000 yards.
The other fact that we have learned about Luck in his first season is that he wins games. In football, numbers are important, but at the end of the day, winning is most important. Last season, the Colts were a dismal 2-14, which was the worst record in the league. Luck, the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, has quadrupled the team’s win total from last season with four games left to play. Right now, Indianapolis controls their own destiny; they are 8-4 currently and hold the fifth seed in the AFC playoff race. There is no doubt that this turnaround is due to Andrew Luck.
With all that he has done well this season, he also has some areas that need work. Luck already has seventeen touchdown tosses this year, but he also has sixteen interceptions; this ties him with Drew Brees for the most interceptions thrown this year. Also, out of quarterbacks with 200+ passing attempts, he ranks second to last in completion percentage. He is great. He does have a lot of areas for improvement though.
Enter: Robert Griffin III.
Robert Griffin has put himself among the league’s best quarterbacks in just twelve games. Don’t agree? The numbers do. This season, he currently ranks third in the NFL in quarterback rating, just .6 points behind the leader, Aaron Rodgers. If he sustains his rating, he will have the highest rookie quarterback rating in NFL history. Luck fails in accuracy and turnovers, but this is where Griffin is at his best; he is currently tied for the least amount of interceptions in the league with just four. Also, he ranks sixth in the league in completion percentage. Efficiency like this has never been seen from a rookie quarterback.
He also is just as much of a threat with his feet as he is with his arm. It only took him twelve games to beat Cam Newton’s rookie rushing record of 706 yards. If his pace increases slightly, he could reach the 1,000-yard mark, which has only been done once in history (Michael Vick ran for 1,039). He also ran for a 76-yard touchdown earlier this season, which was the longest run in the NFL since 1996.
His record may not match that of Andrew Luck, but RGIII is still keeping his team alive. After beating the defending-champion Giants on Monday night, he pulled his team within one game of New York in the NFC East with a 6-6 record. With their remaining strength of schedule ranking in the twenties, there is no reason not to believe that Griffin cannot continue his magical season and carry his team to the playoffs.
Andrew Luck deserves a lot of respect; he is putting up some of the best rookie numbers that the league has ever seen. He just got into the league at a bad time. Robert Griffin is taking the league by storm and shows no signs of slowing down. To make a long story short; Andrew Luck is not the best rookie quarterback ever. Robert Griffin III is the best rookie quarterback ever.