Some call it the Rookie Revolution, I call it a transformation.
We are at the dawning of a new era. NFL quarterbacks come and go as fast as my girlfriends and finding a franchise player to throw the pigskin effectively is hard to come by. Even when a guy has a successful college career, that does not mean it will translate into success in the NFL. Lucky for us NFL fans, the draft class of 2012 provided arguably the most talented and most productive group of first year quarterbacks ever to take the gridiron each Sunday.
For the first time in NFL History, three rookie quarterbacks lead their team to the playoffs. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, and Robert Griffin III with the Washington Redskins.
Each stud brought with them a new dimension to the NFL that is transforming the quarterback position. The three Rookie of the year candidates have amazing athletic ability. They possess a unique mixture of talents including: their speed and power, solid arm strength with impressive accuracy, and possibly the most impressive of qualities, their leadership,confidence and work ethic.
It did not take very long for these proteges to find a role on their teams. They have shown an uncanny ability to focus and lead and now the rewards are just beginning. Griffin was named a team captain at the start of the season; Wilson was voted winner of the Steve Largent Award, given to the team’s most inspirational player.
In a league where quarterback play is incredibly critical, the NFL has been blessed with great athletes and ambassadors to lead the NFL into another era.
It is not only Wilson, Griffin and Luck who have shown signs of greatness, there are others also. Other rookie starters include Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill, and Kirk Cousins. Even though those players did not make the playoffs, they displayed their abilities and gave hope to the future of their represented franchises. Five of which started the teams’s first game, the most since 1950.
It is obvious these magnificent competitors are and will continue to change the quarterback position with their abilities to throw and run affectively. I as a fan, am glad to be able watch these guys compete each week of the NFL season and can’t wait to see what greatness is in store future for them. In a time where drugs, partying, and recklessness are prevalent in pop culture, it is amazing to see rookie quarterbacks who are as humble and motivated as these guys. And because of their winning mindset, they will only get better with time.
Rewriting of the Rookie Record Books
Andrew Luck threw for over 4300 yards.(NFL Rookie Record)
Andrew Luck with over 600 passing attempts.(NFL Rookie Record)
RGII’s 102.4 Passer Rating. (NFL Rookie Record)
RGII’s 815 Rushing Yards.(NFL Rookie Record)
Russell Wilson’s 30 TD passes.(NFL Rookie Record)
Russell Wilson’s 385 passing yards in playoff game.(NFL Rookie Record)
AFC match ups
It is here. The NFL playoffs. Every saturday and sunday be prepared to be glued to your TV for 3 hours and cheering on whomever you want to win. Here, I will give you my take why each team will win and why they will not.
Game 1: Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos
Why Baltimore will win: John Harbaugh. I love this guy. He coaches with such great passion and intelligence and seems to be one of the most prepared coaches each and every week. There is a reason why this guy has made it to the playoffs each of the six years he has been a head coach. Also, do not forget about Ray Lewis. This greatest middle linebacker to play the game will not go down without a fierce battle.
Why Baltimore will lose: Joe Flacco struggles on the road. Flacco overthrew his intended receiver on 46.3% of his attempts at least 15 yards downfield on the road, the worst percentage in the league. At home, Flacco overthrew his receiver on 26.7% of his attempts.(According to ESPN) Flacco’s QBR on the road was ranked 32nd the entire league, barely behind the great Carson Palmer.(sarcasm)
Why Denver will win: This one should be a no brainer. You have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time who is having an MVP caliber season. Just as Flacco’s QBR is terrible on the road, Peyton’s is incredible at home. Peyton Manning leads the League in QBR at home by 11 points. Denver averages 4.1 yards per carry at home and the Sheriff is practically unstoppable, I don’t care if you have the Ninja Turtles on defense.
Why Denver will lose: Ray Lewis. If somehow Ray Lewis can spark Ed Reed, Benard Pollard and company, maybe they can pull this one out. Ray Lewis will definitely influence players around him to be great lets just hope they can force Peyton to make some mistakes downfield that leads to turnovers.
Prediction: Denver 28 – Baltimore 10
Game 4: Houston at New England
Why Houston will Win: Houston still is the same dominant Houston from the beginning of the season. Arian Foster is healthy, Matt Schaub is not terrible and the defense has a lot of momentum. Even though the Bengals are not much of a team Houston still eliminated any 3rd down conversions in their last game. Foster has the second most rushing yards all time in his first thee postseason starts and he looks to add on to that with ease.
Why Houston will lose: Matt Schaub is average, at best. If one thing is obvious in the NFL it is the teams with the best QBs make it far. It will be too easy for New England to take out Foster and force Schaub to make plays. When you are not balanced in this league, teams will find your strength and take it away. Schaub has thrown three interceptions and zero yes zero TDs in his past three games. Somebody get this man a jacket he is cold.
Why New England will win: New England are one of those lucky teams who can send out an elite QB every week. No doubt Tom Brady is the leader and the force behind their success. They are the fourth seed for the fourth time in franchise history and have made it to the super bowl two of those times. It will be a cold brutal day for the Texans in Foxborough.
Why New England will lose: Their defense is not the same dominant defense as in their dynasty days. NE allows an average of 373 yards per game. So one could expect them to not be able to stop foster and then Schaub begin to hurt them with play action passes. Whenever you posses a running game with Arian Foster that allows you to keep a good offense off the field such as NE’s you build yourself a big advantage. That could very well be the case here.
Game 2: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
Why Green Bay will win: Green Bay has been known for their high flying offense. Lead by the discount double check man himself, Aaron Rodgers. The monster quarterback has been here before, won a championship and has proven to be excellent on the road. It will be a hostile environment but Aaron Rodgers will produce. The Packers defense has been suspect this year but have played better as of late.
Why Green Bay will lose: The running game of the 49ers forces Rodgers to sit on the side lines while Kaepernick and co run down the throats of Green Bay. They know it is coming, but can they stop it?
Why San Francisco will win: It is a double edge sword. SF is starting Kaepernick who has zero playoff experience but uber athletic ability. He has lead the 49er offense from 26th last year to 11th in offense this year. He is a true dual threat QB and darn good at what he does. Also, SF has playmakers galore on defense. P. Willis, Aldo and Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Navorro Bowman all have had stellar seasons. They look to continue that when the discount double check comes to town.
Why San Francisco will lose: Most people agree on the biggest downfall of the 49ers is the inexperience at quarterback. We all know the talents Kaepernick posses but what will he do when there is no guaranteed tomorrow? He is less accurate than Alex Smith was but he has the bomb arm. He contributes to the run game in a big way also, where he averages 6.6 yards per cary. But all in all, in a time where inexperience is key, does he have what it takes just yet?
Prediction: San Francisco 31 – Green Bay 28
Game 3: Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
Why Seattle will win: Seattle is arguably the most balanced team in the playoffs right now and they are also hot. The past 5 games Russell Wilson has thrown 11 touchdowns to 1 interception, held a stellar QBR, and fourth best passer rating. No doubt he is on fire and does not look like a rookie QB by any standards. And I cannot forget about skittles himself, Marshawn Lynch. The beast mode man himself has a sore foot but when does anyone ever feel soreness in a playoff game anyways.
Why Seattle will lose: I do not see Seattle blowing this game because they are just too solid. But I can see Matty Ice Ryan ready to win his first playoff game. This could be the year he turns it around. The best team in the NFL at the beginning of the season slowed down at the end so their expectations aren’t wild. They have very little to lose and Matty Ice is ready to actually earn his Ice nickname and pull through when it counts and beat Seattle in a nail biter.
Why Falcons will win: The falcons have some big time playmakers on offense. Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez are all big time players who make big time plays. Look for Ryan to target these guys early and often and when it come 3rd and 5 from the 6 yard line, the Seahawks better find a Sasquatch to guard Gonzalez.
Why Falcons will lose: How disappointing would that be for Matt Ryan? I mean you are so incredibly successful in regular season but you have stunk it up each of the past 3 playoffs. He has all the qualities to become an “elite” quarterback but it is a must he comes to play in the postseason. Frankly, Matt Ryan has been great each regular season and terrible in the playoffs.(How can his nickname be Matty Ice when he does poorly in playoffs I will never know) He has never thrown for over 200 yards in a playoff game has an ugly 23.8 QBR in the postseason.
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 21 – Seattle Seahawks 17
If you haven’t heard, yes the Alabama Crimson Tide won the BCS national championship. Oh yeah they did it last year too. I almost forgot about winning in 2009 also. So now that it is a general consensus that Nick Saban himself has turned this era of football into crimson and white, lets just take a step back and respect how why this is so impressive.
It was this easy it would’ve been done several times. But It has not. There have been very few “dynasty” football programs in the history of college football and lucky for us we are right witnessing one in its most dominant form. Besides the fact that Johnny football was playing like an NCAA video game that day in Tuscaloosa and other than in 2011 vs. LSU when Bama’s kicker couldn’t kick a can on a street even if it was on the edge of a sewer drain, the Tide haven’t lost since Cam Newton & Company won the Iron Bowl in 2010.(That Cam guy was pretty good if I do recall)
Why is it so difficult for colleges to dominate like this? Just recruit all the best to your school and boom you have a winner.
No. Not even close. If recruiting equalled wins then USC would have a 10 year dynasty.
There are reason why Alabama has been and will be better than everybody else as long as ole Nick is in charge and here is why:
1) The way he recruits. It is one thing to recruit good players. It is also one thing to recruit a lot of good players. This is what Alabama does, but so does about 30 other colleges. Nick Saban gets the best character guys that are the best players. And if you have a questionable attitude with you athleticism then it is guaranteed either a) you will not be around long or b) you will change for Nick. When you recruit and develop great guys who stay out of allegations, arrest, and drugs then their athleticism will shine even brighter. Saban has a knack for going to a high school game recruiting one guy and coming out with a complete other. That is one trait that separates him from your average head ball coach.
2) He has his hand in everything. This is also quite impressive. In an industry where coaches flop around like a 30′ inch redfish that I catch with live shrimp off the coast of Louisiana. You have 2 successful seasons as an asst. then you will surely get a better offer from another school in no time. And Alabama has the golden pot for hiring universities. So often, a team losing a coordinator or a position coach and things just hit the fan. Not with Saban. He has his hands everywhere. I am convinced that Saban could actually coach the whole team offense, defense, and special teams all by himself. Whenever one coach leaves Saban either hires the exact man he wants or he hires somebody and teaches them what he wants. Making his team as consistent as possible year in and year out. He is smart enough to control every phase so every phase will always be done to his liking.
3) Another incredible feat is his ability to keep college kids focused. Alabama. Pretty southern girls. Great bar scene. Great frat scene. This is a 18 year old’s dream in one town with a few DUIs and other charges just waiting to happen. But somehow he manages to keep his players focused. It is one thing to be talented, but a complete other to be focused consistently. He does it by never accepting failure. Always coaching and always looking to improve. He relates with players with analogies and comparisons each week and new opponents come with a new speech Saban has rendered to explain how they should not believe in the 20 point favorite that is put on their upcoming game. Keeping 110 18-22 year old focused on a goal constantly, just flat out remarkable.
So all you tide fans don’t expect Saban to go anywhere just yet. I cannot see him making another run in the NFL and he will have a job in Tuscaloosa as long as he would like. The only thing you guys would worry about his him getting bored with winning all the time and wanting a new challenge. Every fierce competitor thrives off of having a challenge and Saban is the model for a competitor. He is set to make 5.5 mill this year so he is the highest paid coach in football, Tide fans just hope that he doesn’t ever find that winning championships is too easy and begins to look for something new. Until then, Roll on will the Alabama Crimson Tide.