Rookie of the year winner to be announced Saturday night

Robert Griffin III is one of the leading candidates for AP Rookie of the Year. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Robert Griffin III is one of the leading candidates for AP Rookie of the Year. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and his fans will learn on Saturday night if he will cap his impressive first season in the NFL with rookie of the year honors.

On the eve of Super Bowl XLVII, the NFL will recognize its top players from the 2012 season with the league’s two-hour primetime awards show, “NFL Honors.” The show will air from 9-11 p.m. on CBS.

The honors scheduled to be handed out: The Associated Press’ most valuable player, coach of the year, offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year, comeback player of the year, offensive rookie of the year and defensive rookie of the year awards; as well as the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and various fan-voting honors.

The second overall pick in last April’s draft, Griffin completed 258 of 393 passes for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions while leading Washington to a 10-6 record and their first NFC East title since 1999. He also rushed for 815 yards (a league record for rookies) and seven touchdowns. Griffin was the first rookie quarterback since Dan Marino in 1983 to be originally selected to the Pro Bowl. Other rookie quarterbacks have appeared in the Pro Bowl after making the roster as alternates.

The Redskins haven’t had an offensive rookie of the year since 1975, when running back Mike Thomas won the honor.

But other rookies put up impressive numbers as well. Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (taken first overall) and Seattle’s Russell Wilson (a third-round pick) are believed to be Griffin’s stiffest competition. Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin and Redskins teammate Alfred Morris, along with the three quarterbacks, are also candidates for the fan-selected rookie of the year honor.

Luck led the Colts to an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance after passing for a record 4,374 yards. He became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards and win 10 games. Luck directed seven game-winning drives – the most by a quarterback in a single season since 1970. His six 300-yard passing games rank first all-time among rookies.

Wilson helped Seattle post an 11-5 record after throwing for 3,118 yards and 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His 26 touchdowns tied the NFL single season record for a rookie, which was set in 1998 by Peyton Manning. Wilson was the first rookie quarterback in the NFL’s modern era to go undefeated at home this season. He was the only rookie quarterback this season to lead his team to a playoff victory.

Morris this season rushed for a franchise-record 1,613 yards while also scoring 13 touchdowns. His rushing total ranked second in the NFL behind Adrian Peterson this season, and only Eric Dickerson (1,808) and George Rogers (1,674) rushed for more yards as a rookie. Martin, meanwhile, rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns. He accounted for 1,926 yards from scrimmage — third most in  NFL history for a rookie.

If the regular-season honors serve as any indication, Griffin would seem to have a leg up on the competition. He won Pepsi Max rookie of the week honors a season-high six times while Luck won it three times, Morris won it three times and Wilson and Martin won it once each.

Griffin in January also won the Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America Rookie of the Year award. Carolina’s Cam Newton and St. Louis’ Sam Bradford both won the same honor before going on to win the AP Rookie of the Year.

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