Oct 21, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) rolls out during the second half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. New York Giants defeat the Washington Redskins 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

RG3 For MVP?

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Many people seem to be using the letters MVP in the same sentence as RG3. Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? But this is not just for the NFL Rookie of the Year, this is for the overall league MVP.

Can it be given to a rookie? Has it ever been given to a rookie? Is this rookie so special that he could earn it?

My research accepts that the generally regarded NFL MVP is the one awarded by the Associated Press (AP) and looking back it seems that only the great Jim Brown (1957) and Earl Campbell (1978) have the distinction of winning the award as rookies.

For the record, Jim Brown rushed for 947 yards (78.9 per game) from 202 carries (4.7 av.) and nine touchdowns from 12 games, good enough to lead the NFL (242 ahead of the second placed rusher) in yards and touchdowns.

Earl Campbell rushed for 1,450 (90.6 per game) from 302 and 13 touchdowns from 16 games, again good enough to lead the NFL, and 55 yards ahead of the late, great, Walter Payton. Incidentally, our own Alfred Morris is currently averaging 94 yards per game.

These are both running backs. What stats will RG3 likely need to post to gain serious consideration? Looking at the past four QB winners Aaron Rogers (2011), Tom Brady (2010), Payton Manning (2008 and 2009), and I extrapolated Griffin’s stats so far after seven games to a 16 game equivalent:

  Cp/At  % Yds TD/Int Wins
Rogers 343/502 68.3 4643 45/6 14
Brady 324/492 65.9 3900 36/4 14
Manning 393/571 68.8 4500 33/16 14
Manning 371/555 66.8 4002 27/12 12
Griffin III 304/432 70.4 3659 16/7 7

Griffin’s are not gaudy stats by today’s standards but pretty good, except for TDs and wins which are very much on the low side.

Early 2012 MVP candidates appear to be Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, JJ Watt, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning – four QBs and one linebacker. Linebackers rarely win the award – only the great Lawrence Taylor has done so, so we can probably discount JJ. Again, looking at their 16 game equivalents:

  Cp/At  % Yds TD/Int Wins
Ryan 427/629 67.8 4683 37/16 16
E. Manning 386/605 63.8 4821 27/16 11
P. Manning 411/605 67.8 4821 37/11 8
Rodgers 418/599 69.8 4523 43/9 9
Griffin III 304/432 70.4 3659 16/7 7

 

October 14, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass pass in the game against the Oakland Raiders at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons beat the Raiders 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Again, the two stats that stand out are TD passes and wins. If Matt Ryan does produce 16 wins for the Falcons, then he’s a lock for the league MVP.

Other notable candidates could be QBs Tom Brady and Drew Brees, RBs Arian Foster or Alfred Morris, and WRs Percy Harvin, AJ Green or Wes Welker.

But RG3 is also currently ranked 12th in rushing yardage (468 yards) with a 7.3 yard per carry average with six touchdowns, second only to Foster. If he carries on at that pace, not only will he throw for over 3600 yards, he will rush for 1069 yards and 13 scores.

At the end of the day, stats don’t mean everything. It is a combination of stats, wins, leadership, and maybe above all, value to his team. I think in the value category, RG3 is a sure fire winner of the MVP after the first seven games. But at the end of the season, success is measured in wins. So league MVP? Let’s not anoint him yet unless we win out of course, but he is surely the leading candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year. The Redskins haven’t had a league rookie of the year since 1975 when running back Mike Thomas (#108 overall pick) took the award after running for 919 yards in 14 games with four touchdowns. Over 16 games that would be 1050 – 19 yards shy of RG3’s projected total.

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