Robert Griffin III has taken the N.F.L. by storm. With the weight of the Washington Redskins franchise and Mike Shanahan’s legacy squarely on his right shoulder, the rookie has performed above the lofty expectations driven by his college exploits and highlight reel abilities.
His play over the last three months has justified the preseason hype and hyperbole . Not only has he thrust himself onto the national stage as the top rookie, he has elevated himself into the discussion for Most Valuable Player. His play has led the Redskins to the brink of playoff contention and his name belongs among the league’s elite.
What separates Griffin from the pack.
- He is having a statistically impressive year while leading his team to success without the assembly of talent that the other quarterbacks possess.
- The other M.V.P. candidates quarterback teams who were in the playoffs last year and were favored to return to the playoffs this year.
- Following a three and six start, Griffin has led a remarkable comeback to bring his team to the cusp of playoff contention.
Tom Brady is putting together another in a long line of brilliant seasons. His New England Patriots are poised to make another deep postseason run. Brady’s offense has been cruising, rolling up points as the season progresses, absorbing the loss of Rob Gronkowski without a hitch. Despite losing Gronkowski, Brady still has dependable Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez and a strong running game.
Peyton Manning will provide stiff competition because his comeback story is backed by wonderful numbers and a winning team. Manning’s second act is off to a rousing start, making Denver fans forget their brief flirtation with Tim Tebow. He is on track to put up numbers that rival his best season with the Indianapolis Colts, but he has the benefit of fine young receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.
Aaron Rodgers, the defending M.V.P. has the top quarterback ranking. After a flat start the Green Bay Packers have been gaining momentum. Rodgers has performed at exceptionally high level but his receivers include emerging star Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and a soon to be healthy Greg Jennings.
Past the three quarters mark of the season, my vote is with Griffin. The fact that the Redskins have returned to relevancy is a testament to Griffin’s leadership skill and his natural athletic abilities. The numbers are clear, Griffin is among the league leaders in all the important quarterback statistics. He is second only to Rodgers in quarterback rating. When his passing and rushing yards are totalled, he is among the leaders in combined yardage.
Griffin is the M.V.P. because there simply is no player more singularly responsible for his teams success. The other candidates have proven track records and impressive career resumes. But the Most Valuable Player is a yearly award, not recognition for lifetime achievement. When you combine the numbers with the talent that surrounds each player, a strong case can be made for RG3.