NFL Player Props: Robert Griffin III Favored Over Gronk For NFL Comeback Player of the Year
by Bovada Sportsbook Staff | August 29, 2014
The most ambiguous honor the NFL hands out every season has to be the Comeback Player of the Year award. The definition is a player who “shows perseverance in overcoming adversity in the form of not being in the NFL the previous year, a severe injury, or simply poor performance.”
The 2013 NFL Comeback Player of the Year was San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers. In 2012, Rivers played every regular-season game and completed 64.1% of his passes for 3,606 yards and 26 touchdowns. He led the league with 28 turnovers.
Voters opted to give the award to Rivers last year when he completed 69.5% of his throws for 4,478 yards and 32 touchdowns with only 12 turnovers. Obviously improved numbers all around, but was that really a comeback? Perhaps the most interesting Comeback Player of the Year in NFL history was former quarterback Chad Pennington. He won it in 2006 with the Jets and then just two years later with Miami.
It’s a tough award to handicap, but Bovada has listed Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III as the 5/1 favorite. RGIII took the NFL by storm in 2012 when he beat out the Colts’ Andrew Luck and Seahawks’ Russell Wilson for Offensive Rookie of the Year. It’s not like Griffin was terrible last season. He completed 60.1% of his passes for 3,203 yards (three more than in 2012) and 16 touchdowns in 13 games.
He wasn’t as much of a factor with his feet because he was coming off major knee surgery. His rushing totals of 815 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012 dropped to
489 and zero in 2013. Griffin won’t play with a knee brace this season, but the Redskins don’t want him running as much. Otherwise, he won’t make it a full season. The Redskins added a strong receiver, DeSean Jackson, so Griffin has terrific weapons around him.
The player taking the most action so far is Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers as the 11/2 second favorite. Rodgers was off to a great start last year with Green Bay at 5-2, but he broke his collarbone in Week 9. He didn’t return until Week 17, and when he played against Chicago, he threw the game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute to win the division. Should someone who leads his team to the playoffs be eligible for Comeback Player of the Year?
A quarterback has won this award five of the past six years, but non-quarterbacks are next on the list. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is 7/1 to take the award, and Falcons receiver Julio Jones is 8/1. Either of these guys would make sense. Jones is one of the NFL’s best receivers but suffered a season-ending injury in Week 5 last season, and Atlanta’s season went into the toilet without him, finishing 4-12. Jones was on pace for 130 catches and 1,850 yards before the injury. Should the Falcons become a contender again, Jones would get a lot of credit.
New England is a much better team with Gronk on the field, but he was limited to seven last year after just 11 in 2012. The Patriots made it to the AFC title game those two seasons without him. Gronk is a very popular player, and this award is largely a popularity contest.