What do Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III have in common?
Since the Associated Press began awarding NFL Rookie of the Year following the 1967 season, they are the only two quarterbacks to have won the Heisman one year and NFL Rookie of the Year the next.
Both quarterbacks experienced success right out of the gate, defying many critics who questioned whether their duel-threat skillsets would translate to the faster NFL game.
However, in the team’s Week 13 Monday Night Football Matchup vs. the Giants, Griffin III broke Cam Newton’s NFL record for rushing yards by a rookie quarterback (706 in 2011). He finished the season with 815 yards rushing.
The rookie was voted NFL Rookie of the Week seven times, compared to Cam Newton’s three. In fact, the only quarterback to claim more rookie of the year awards since its’ inception (2002) was Pittsburgh Steeler’s quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who won nine (2004).
Overall, Newton threw for 4,051 yards and 21 touchdowns, and an 84.5 quarterback rating through the air, along with 706 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground in his rookie season; pretty impressive to say the least.
Griffin amassed 20 touchdowns, 3,200 yards, and a 102.4 quarterback rating to accompany 815 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. He joined QB Randall Cunningham (1990) as the only players in NFL history to surpass the 3,000-yard mark passing and rush for 800-plus yards.
A Glimpse Into The Future
Since we’ve just about exhausted time and again the numerous records Griffin broke and the accolades he won, let’s examine the rookie from a different angle.
The fact remains that he has a long and grueling rehab process ahead of him in the coming months. That being said, it appears that Griffin has the will, the motivation, and the fortitude to overcome any and all adversity thrown his way.
The question still remains, can he come back for the start of training camp? Unfortunately, no one will have a definite answer until the players report for Richmond, but number 10 is saying all of the right things.
Following the NFL Awards, he was asked whether he would attend the Super Bowl. Griffin’s answer, ”I’m a firm believer you don’t go to the Super Bowl unless you’re playing in it.”
Griffin III’s mobility and positive attitude are a big relief to Redskins fans, who were dazzled by the young quarterback’s talent and grit.
One goal that Griffin III can aim for is the success that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had, just months removed from major knee surgery last offseason.
We all know how that story ended: 2,097 rushing yards – just nine shy of breaking the all-time single-season record set by Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson -, the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award, and the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year Award.
Not bad for a guy coming off major knee surgery, huh?
Peterson’s advice for Griffin, “Mentally, just believing that you’re going to come back and you’re going to be better, that’s a huge part of it… really approach it like you approach the game.”
Certain guys just have ‘it’. You can’t really place a definition on what ‘it’ is other than the sheer will and determination to be the best. That’s what propels a player to excellence.
The great thing is, there’s no recovery time on ‘it’ and if Griffin approaches the process similar to how he approaches the game then Redskins fans should hold their head high.
After all, Griffin seems to have a Superman-esque quality about him, a quality that would put Clark Kent to shame.
Tags: cam newton, NFL, nfl awards, RGIII, Robert Griffin III, rookie of the year
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