Rookie quarterbacks take center stage on NFL play-off Sunday
Jersey Girl Sports Fam- IT’s ON!!!
Three rookie quarterbacks take center stage today as they lead their teams into the play-offs. Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson are playing like veterans and have given their teams a boost this season with their exciting play and stunning leadership.
In fact for the first time in NFL history, an unprecedented five quarterbacks began the 2012 season: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden and Russell Wilson all became game changers and stepped outside the box to define a new “normal” for the most important position on the field.
Rick Snyder from the Washington Examiner said that he has been waiting 20 years to cover an athlete like Robert Griffin III. “He is a rare individual. He made an impact right away; even in mini-camp you could tell he was going to be something special.” Snyder enthused.
The Redskins have bought in to Griffin’s leadership- his teammates voted the rookie offensive team captain which speaks volumes regarding their confidence in him.
“His teammates gravitated to him right away. Griffin is a big reason that the team chemistry has come together the way it has.Griffin has that natural ability to lift everyone up and make them better than they were before they met him. Right before their bye week the Redskins were 3-6 and feeling frustrated. The team felt that they were much better than their record; Griffin told the team that they could turn things around and make the playoffs and the team bought into that spirit. They went on to a seven game win streak. Now the team is loose, relaxed and expecting to win every game,” shared Snyder.
Andrew Luck came into the league facing a precarious situation, replacing the great Peyton Manning. Luck not only handled the pressure with grace and confidence-he produced despite additional obstacles with head coach Chuck Pagano out for several months battling leukemia, and is making a case for being named Rookie of the Year. He has thrown for a rookie record of 4,374 yards, as well as 23 touchdowns.
He has also earned the respect of his teammates, primarily wide receiver Reggie Wayne
“He’s come in and done an outstanding job — I’m just glad to be on his side,” said Wayne of Luck during an interview with the NFL Network. “I wouldn’t compare him to (Peyton). I want him to get his own legacy, I want to help him. Just keep winning games with him, man. I came in and talked to (Pagano, after he was hired), and he told me to take a leap of faith,” Wayne said. “That’s why I’m here today.”
The faith paid off, The Colts are headed to the play-offs in a bid for a Super Bowl Championship.
Russell Wilson was drafted by the Seahawks in the third round as a back-up developmental project: Matt Flynn was slated to be “The Man”. Nobody sent that memo to Wilson because won the starting job the job in training camp. Wilson has kept the Seahawks in play-off contention with an 11-5 record by making big plays when it counts, kept relatively error free and taking on a leadership role despite his rookie status. His 26 touchdown passes this season have tied Peyton Manning’s rookie record.
“(Wilson has) beat the Bears, the Packers, the Patriots. You show me another quarterback with his résumé, and I’ll show you a great quarterback.” Said teammate Richard Sherman in an interview with USA Today Sports Mike Garafolo.
The 1983 class of quarterback has been the gold standard by which quarterbacks have been measured. From that class of first-round draft picks which also consisted of Todd Blackledge, Ken O’Brien and Tony Eason; John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly are in the Hall of Fame.
The class of 2012 has a long way to go but they are playmakers who no longer fit the stereotype of the rookie quarterback on the sidelines with the clipboard and headset; instead they are making some noise on the field and on the right path to raise the bar.
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