NFL  > General NFL  > Year of the Rookie QB's!
August 25, 2012, 02:17 PM
2011 was probably a great year for rookie QB's in the NFL, but is 2012 going to rival the Cam Newton Tebow era?, backed up by, none the less, an amazing record breaking season for Cam and the Panthers? Not since the early 70's have I seen such an outstanding crop of rookie QB's.
Rookie starting QBs are a rare breed, because the conventional wisdom is that a year or two of waiting and watching on the sidelines will be a huge benefit to even the greatest potential pro quarterbacks. But some teams are forced, by lack of talent or injury, to give their rook the helm from the get-go.




10. Bob Griese (Dolphins, 1967)
The Dolphins were a second-year expansion team when Grise arrived, and stunk throughout the rest of the 1960s. But Griese demonstrated right away that he could be the cornerstone of the teams that dominated in the early 1970s. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie (Joe Namath was the other AFL QB), completing 50 percent of his passes for 2,005 yards and 15 TDs.





Joe Namath delivered very quickly for the New York Jets.

9. Joe Namath (Jets, 1965)
Broadway Joe lived up to all the hype, winning AFL rookie of the year honors from both the Sporting News and the United Press and being named to the AFL All-Star team. He took over as starter in the third game of the season and threw for 2,220 yards; it would be the one of just two seasons in his career when he tossed more TD passes (18) than INTs (15).


8. Johnny Unitas (Colts, 1956)
Unitas was cut by the Steelers in training camp in 1955, and when the Colts gave him a chance in 1956 he didn't waste any time in becoming a star. In 12 games he completed 110 of 198 passes (55.6 percent), averaging a solid 7.6 yards per attempt. Unitas also ran 28 times for 155 yards and a TD.




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6. Peyton Manning (Colts, 1998)
Manning took every snap for the Colts in 1998, and set all kinds of rookie QB records in the process: most completions (326), attempts (575), and yards (3,739). He also threw for 26 TDs, breaking Charlie Conerly's 50-year-old mark. Manning was one of the top QBs in the NFL, leading the AFC in passing yards and attempts.

Manning did all this despite getting off to a terrible start; in his first four games, he threw 11 interceptions. He turned things around in the middle of the season. "The improvement is phenomenal," said Colts president Bill Polian in mid-December. "I've never seen improvement like this from a rookie in all my years."


5. Charlie Conerly (Giants, 1948)
The 1948 Giants weren't very good, but their 4-8 record was an improvement over 1947 (2-8-2), and started the uptrend that would take them to the playoffs in 1950. Conerly, who compiled the third-highest rookie passer rating ever (84.0), completed 162 of 199 passes for 2,175 yards. He also threw 22 TD passes, which stood as the rookie record for 50 years before Manning.


4. Fran Tarkenton (Vikings, 1961)
Tarkenton exploded out of the gates, leading the expansion Vikings to a 37-13 blowout upset of the Bears in their first game. Tarkenton threw for four TDs and ran for another in that contest. He was just getting started. The Vikings finished the season 3-11, but Tarkenton had a great year. He completed 56 percent of his passes and was third in the NFL with 18 TD passes. And he did what he later became famous for: he scrambled and ran like crazy, rushing for 308 yards and 5 TDs.
August 25, 2012  02:18 PM ET

3. Dan Marino (Dolphins, 1983)
Marino, the sixth QB picked in the 1983 draft, didn't start for the Dolphins until the sixth game of the season. His debut, against the Bills, was a harbinger: he threw for 322 yards and 3 TDs in a close OT loss. He then led the Dolphins to the playoffs, in the process becoming the first rookie QB to lead a conference in passing. He also set a rookie record with a 96 passer rating, and became the first rookie QB to start in the Pro Bowl.


2. Bob Waterfield (Rams, 1945)
Waterfield was a runaway selection for NFL MVP and led Cleveland to the NFL Championship, throwing the long ball: he averaged 9.4 yards per pass attempt, and completed 52 percent of his passes. He also tossed 37- and 44-yard TD passes in the Rams' 15-14 championship game win over the Redskins.


1. Greg Cook (Bengals, 1969)
Cook had the potential to be one of the greatest QBs in NFL history. The Bengals drafted him out of the University of Cincinnati, fifth overall, and he stepped right into the young Bill Walsh's offense and threw deep often, connecting with tight end Bob Trumpy and wide receiver Eric Crabtree.

August 25, 2012  02:20 PM ET

I really don't agree with this list, as Cam Newton has beaten most of the rookie records last season! Cam is number one right now! But Luck will be on his heals for sure!

August 25, 2012  02:20 PM ET

Double thread....nice!

Comment #4 has been removed
August 25, 2012  06:56 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

I really don't agree with this list, as Cam Newton has beaten most of the rookie records last season! Cam is number one right now! But Luck will be on his heals for sure!

Who wrote this list?

Tim Tebow wasn't even a rookie last year. How does his name get mentioned next to Cam Newton for 2011?

Where is Ben Roethlisberger?

And if they're going to mention quarterbacks from the 1940s they should include Otto Graham.

August 25, 2012  07:12 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Who wrote this list?Tim Tebow wasn't even a rookie last year. How does his name get mentioned next to Cam Newton for 2011?Where is Ben Roethlisberger?And if they're going to mention quarterbacks from the 1940s they should include Otto Graham.

There are always some mistakes made on these lists and there are going to be some people that aren't on them. With the exception of a few glitches I thought it was a darn good list.

August 25, 2012  07:20 PM ET

it was an ESPN list! the fox news of sports lol

August 25, 2012  08:30 PM ET
QUOTE(#7):

it was an ESPN list! the fox news of sports lol

Actually ESPN is owned by ABC. Fox News owns Fox Sports.

August 25, 2012  08:31 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

Actually ESPN is owned by ABC. Fox News owns Fox Sports.

The parent company of ESPN & ABC is Walt Disney Productions.

August 25, 2012  08:39 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

Actually ESPN is owned by ABC. Fox News owns Fox Sports.

I was speaking about truthfulness.

August 25, 2012  08:48 PM ET
QUOTE(#10):

I was speaking about truthfulness.

There isn't any news network that is trustworthy.

August 25, 2012  08:51 PM ET

trust is considerably different than truth! just saying.

August 25, 2012  09:36 PM ET
QUOTE(#12):

trust is considerably different than truth! just saying.

Okay. So when some dummmbass speaks his dummbass opinion on rape happens to be a republican your media uses it as a reason not to vote for Romney. This is a trust issue and not a truth issue.

Comment #14 has been removed
August 25, 2012  10:45 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

You just made a great point. What that candidate said has nothing to do with Romney but the main stream news networks are trying to convince their viewers that it does. Most American citizens are concerned with the sluggish economy.

What kills me is the fact that people are so loyal to their plitical party that they defend it to an insane level. Anyone wo thinks that one party has their best interest in mind compared to the other is just plain ignorant.

Comment #16 has been removed
Comment #17 has been removed
Comment #18 has been removed
August 26, 2012  06:41 AM ET
QUOTE(#16):

Anyone paying attention knows that Mitt Romney has nothing to do with that clown. Anyone claiming that Akin's remarks are his or her reason for voting against Romney is being dishonest. If you equate the two, you're already voting for Obama. Duke, I admit to being pushed leftward during the previous administration, but I don't think I'm a liberal. I see flaws in all news coverage, but God almighty, at least to my ear, Fox News is outrageously biased.

I don't think you will find many who say they are not biased. But it is ridiculous what the other networks focus on as well. All the media does is divide the country with pointless talking points.. I don't care what channel you watch. You won't find anyone talking about the real issues for more than one segment an hour if that. Its more about who said what and we are all supposed to hold our hands over our mouths with a shocked look on our faces and go to work on Monday and gossip about it. All media deflects attention from real issues, and as horrible as the other ones are, Fox News gets most of the grief.

I don't want to come off as defending Fox, the only news I watch anymore is the World News at 6:30 and sometimes its ABC but mostly NBC. But I think people are judged unfairly by what network they choose to watch. Just like I said about people and their political parties, if you think one network is less biased than the other, you are being ignorant.

Either way, good morning and happy Sunday. My Niners are on TV today, first I will get to see this year.

 
August 26, 2012  06:42 AM ET
QUOTE(#18):

Their ignorance is willful and arrogant.

Willfully arrogant..... He

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