How do rookie QBs stack up?
Are RG3, Luck and Wilson better than classes of 1983 and 2004?
Go ahead and gawk; you have statistical permission. The parade of rookie quarterbacks now romping through the NFL is as fine a collection of first-year field generals as you're ever going to see.
You know the Class of 1983, with its three top-shelf Hall of Famers (John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino)? And the Class of 2004, the top crop of QBs now in the game (Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger)? Well, as of last weekend, rookie quarterbacks have thrown more touchdowns in 2012 than they did in 1983 and 2004 combined -- and there are still six weeks left in this season.
Look at the numbers the 2012ers are putting up. Andrew Luck is on pace to throw for an eye-popping 4,744 yards. Robert Griffin III is completing 67.1 percent of his passes. Add in Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden, and the quintet projects to 90 touchdowns and 74 interceptions. There's really no escaping this conclusion: The Class of 2012 is playing better as rookies than any group of NFL quarterbacks ever.
But how will they rank in the history books? Even assuming today's starters stay healthy and enjoy full careers, that's a whole different question. Because there's a catch to their stats, and it's a big one. The 2012 rookies are playing far more often than any of their predecessors. Consider that Class of '83: Kelly spent the first two years of his pro career in the USFL; Marino didn't start for the Miami Dolphins until Week 6; and three more first-rounders (Todd Blackledge, Tony Eason and Ken O'Brien) also began the year as backups.
Or their 2004 counterparts: Manning backed up Kurt Warner for nine weeks, Rivers rode the bench for two years, and it took Matt Schaub so long (until 2007) to start that many fans don't even remember that he too was drafted in '04. Indeed, since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, no more than three rookie quarterbacks had ever started season openers -- until this year. Luck, Griffin, Wilson, Tannehill and Weeden have started 50 of their teams' first 50 games so far, and nothing like that has ever happened before.
To read more about how 2012's rookie QBs stack up against 2004 and 1983, become an Insider today.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Source: Pats fear Gronkowski has torn ACL
- Peterson rips Ravens fans, refs following loss
- Pats beat Browns with TD after onside kick
- Flacco, Ravens stun Vikings with wild finish
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Fantasy Football Week 12
It's a busy week in fantasy football, with all the byes done, the fantasy trade deadline passing, Thanksgiving games, and lots of playoff positioning.
Fantasy Football Tools• Week 12 Projections
• Roster Advisor
• 2012 Scoring Leaders | Points Against
• Most Added/Dropped (Past 7 days)
• NFL Nation blog
Week 12 Rankings
Bell Injury Blog
• Karabell: Four Downs from Sunday's games
• Kavanagh: Week 12 cheat sheet
• Karabell: Sneaky pickups
• Karabell: Week 12 flex rankings
• Pro FB Focus: Evaluating snap counts/trends
• Football Outsiders: Good/bad matchups
• Karabell: 2012 season rankings update
• Goal-Line Grid: Through Week 10
• Joyner: Injury replacements
• Karabell: Four Downs -- Week 11 recap
• Wednesday: Berry's Love/Hate
• Wednesday: Fantasy Focus on rankings
• Wednesday: Thanksgiving preview
• Tuesday: Colin Kaepernick's value
• Monday: Gronkowski replacements
• Monday: Week 11 breakouts
Countdown to Trade Deadline
• Mass: Trade deadline chat
• Cockcroft: Analyzing rest-of-season schedules
• Bell: Assessing risk of injured trade targets
• Berry: Ten trades I'd do
• Harris: Two approaches to trades
• McCormick: IDP trade targets
• Mass: Evaluating multiplayer deals
• Mass: 10 rules for trading
• Joyner: Playoff trade targets
• Karabell: Trade deadline targets
• Harris: Favorable playoff schedules
• Bell: Trade value of injured players