In 1950, three rookie quarterbacks managed to play postseason football. For the first time since then, three rookies are lining up behind center in the postseason.
None has ever won a Superbowl.
In fact, some ignoble stats haunt rookie quarterbacks in regular and post season games. The Mannings started out with regular season records of 1-6 (Eli, in 7 games) and 3-13 (Peyton). John Elway went 4-6 as a rookie. Troy Aikman went 0-11.
But quarterbacks mature and sometimes grow into something special. Six active NFL QBs have won the Super Bowl. Three of them (Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees) are catching the postseason on TV, and new names like Griffin, Luck and Wilson are bantered around blogs and message boards. Sophomores Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick round out a new, up-and coming evolution of the quarterback.
Consider this example: Before this season, only eight rookie QBs have thrown 20 touchdowns in their regular season. This year, all three rookie phenoms have matched that bar.
Included with the run-and-gun packages of Redskins QB Robert Griffin and Seattle’s Russell Wilson is a maturity level that’s been on the rise in the past few years. These rookies and sophomores are taking control of the team and leading them down the field. They make plays out of nothing.
That being said, Ponder and Dalton are already out of the playoffs after the first day of Wild Card games came to an end. Three rookies are playing today, and at least one of them is going home. Griffin and Wilson face off today in Washington, D.C. in what should be an exciting game with a lot of yards and points put on the board.
Both teams have lethal weapons in their QBs, and because of the passing arsenal these two bring, it really opens up the running game. The ‘Skins finished first in the league in rushing yards. The Seahawks can do the same thing with their running game as evidenced by their play down the final stretch of the regular season. By allowing Wilson to run, thus opening the QB option, they have been able to introduce more plays to their repertoire from the shotgun formation.
The Redskins have designed a defense that puts heavy pressure on the opponent’s QB. Last week they had Dallas’s Tony Romo sacked twice and picked off three times. But they face a different quarterback in Wilson who is short, powerful, quick and not afraid to scramble out of the pocket. He also has eyes all over the field, hitting many different receivers in their 4-0 stretch to the playoffs.
Two possible Rookies of the Year play today at FedEx Field. While my wife and I would love to see a Seattle-Baltimore Super Bowl (respective QBs come from our alma maters, Wilson from NC State, Joe Flacco from U of D), beating the Redskins at home will prove a tall order for Wilson and his crew. Expect a Redskins win in a high scoring game. If the Seahawks can keep Griffin in check and the scoreboard under control, they might be able to pull this one off.
This is a new era in football.