After being nominated for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Week eight times and winning the award once, it’s not surprising that Russell Wilson is a finalist for NFL Rookie of the Year honors.
The Seahawks’ record-setting and record-tying quarterback is in a field that also includes the Redskins’ duo of QB Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris, Colts QB Andrew Luck and Bucs running back Doug Martin.
The finalists were announced today and the voting at NFL.com will continue until Jan. 29. The winner will be announced Feb 2 during a nationally televised two-hour awards special on CBS.
Here’s a closer look at the finalists:
ROBERT GRIFFIN III – Griffin, who hails from Baylor University, played an enormous role in the Washington Redskins success this season, leading his team to a 10-6 record and the NFC East division crown. Griffin finished the regular season throwing for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns and a 102.4 passer rating. He also rushed for seven touchdowns and 815 yards, breaking the previous record held by Cam Newton (2011) of the Carolina Panthers for most rushing yards by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. Griffin, who was selected to the 2013 Pro Bowl, also became the first player in NFL history with at least four 60-plus yard touchdown passes and a 60-plus yard rushing touchdown in a season. In Week 11, Griffin’s 158.3 passer rating became the highest mark (min.15 attempts) by a rookie quarterback. Griffin was nominated for NFL Rookie of the Week seven times, winning six times.
ANDREW LUCK – The first pick overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, Luck directed the Indianapolis Colts to an 11-5 record, completing a remarkable turnaround in which the Colts had won just two games the season before. Luck amassed a record-breaking 4,374 passing yards topping the previous mark held by Newton (4,051). He also became the first rookie in NFL history with 4,000-plus passing yards and 10 victories. Luck started all 16 games for the Colts, engineering seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime which tied the record for most by a starting quarterback in a single season since at least 1970. His six 300-yard passing games ranks most all-time by a rookie. The former Stanford Cardinal was nominated for NFL Rookie of the Week nine times, winning three times.
DOUG MARTIN – Martin broke onto the scene with several impressive performances throughout the 2012 regular season. In a Week 9 contest against the Oakland Raiders, Martin erupted rushing for 251 yards and four touchdowns. He finished the season fifth in the NFL in rushing with 1,454 yards and scored 11 touchdowns on the ground. His 1,926 yards from scrimmage trails only running backs Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James for the most ever by a rookie. Martin, who was drafted 31st overall out of Boise State, was a candidate for NFL Rookie of the Week five times, winning the award once.
ALFRED MORRIS – The 173rd pick overall in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Florida Atlantic, Morris led all rookie running backs in yardage. He finished the season with a franchise record 1,613 yards, second-most in the NFL among all running backs and third-most all-time by a rookie behind Dickerson (1,808) and George Rogers (1,674). Morris also accounted for 13 touchdowns helping push the Redskins into the playoffs for the first time since 2007. He was nominated for NFL Rookie of the Week five times, winning three times.
RUSSELL WILSON – Selected in the third round out of Wisconsin, Wilson caught the eye of head coach Pete Carroll and Seahawks fans alike for his proficient play in the preseason, thus propelling him into the starting role for all 16 regular season games. Relying on his arm and legs, Wilson led the Seahawks to 11 wins and back into the playoffs. He finished the season throwing for 3,118 yards, 26 touchdowns and a 100.0 passer rating which was fourth best in the NFL. Wilson’s 26 touchdown passes tied the NFL’s single season record by a rookie set in 1998 by Peyton Manning. The Seahawks finished the year 8-0 at home which established Wilson as the first rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to lead his team to an undefeated home record. He was nominated for NFL Rookie of the Week eight times, winning the award once.