Originally posted on StraitPinkie.com  |  Last updated 11/10/11

Two weeks ago during the Bengals/Seahawks game, I posed the question: “If Dalton leads the Bengals to the playoffs, and Cam Newton leads the Panther to 5 or 6 wins, who would win the NFL offensive rookie of the year?” The fact that this question is even controversial just boggles my mind. But go ahead and listen to the 386 NFL analysts at ESPN, surf the web for NFL mid-season awards, or look up QB fantasy stats this year, and you will see that almost the entire media believes Cam Newton is the rookie of the year right now.

I’m going to explain to you why the media (sans Skip Bayless) is wrong. Cam Newton is spectacular, and far superior athletically to Andy Dalton and most of the NFL perhaps. The problem with the media/everyone thinking Cam Newton is a runaway to win this award is….well the media themselves. He’s owned the spotlight since he won the nat’l championship at Auburn last year, and got drafted as the #1 overall NFL pick. He has silenced his critics by not only performing beyond expectations, but breaking records while doing so. He lights up the stat sheets by throwing for hundreds of yards, and breaking off dazzling touchdown runs. These are the kind of things that get the media’s mojo going – he is a potential superstar who is breaking records. OMG This guy is having such an amazing season!!!!!!!

Except there is one huge problem that most of the 527 ESPN nfl analysts tend to look past; Cam Newton is the owner of a 2-6 record. They also tend to look past the fact that his overall QB numbers aren’t very good, yet focus on his huge passing yardage and ability to run the ball. Does this sound like the kind of player worthy of a rookie of the year award? Well sure, if no one else is comparable or making the same kind of impact on the league (notice I said league, not team because his impact on the team has accumulated to 2 wins, yet his impact on the league has him ranked high in qb stat categories). Unfortunately for Cam, there is a red-headed gunslinger lighting up the Queen City, or else he’d be running away with this award.

Since 1960, there have been 58 rookie quarterbacks who have been primary starters (start atleast half team’s games). Of those 58 quarterbacks, only 13 have posted winning records (as of end of 2008 season). This is just an example of how difficult it is for a rookie qb to post a winning record, and shows just how impressive Dalton has been this season. In 2008, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan both led their teams to the playoffs as rookies, and in 2004 Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to the playoffs as a rookie qb. Big Ben and Ryan both happened to win rookie of the year surprise surprise. (Mark Sanchez did indeed get to the playoffs as a rookie, there was no “leading” as he threw 20 interceptions and 12 td’s.) Meanwhile, Cam is on the path of a different qb…a la Peyton Manning. Sure this may seem like he has a bright future ahead of him, but it also means he’s going to put up big numbers, a lot of losses, and zero rookie of year awards in year 1. Manning had an awesome rookie season setting many records including 3700 passing yards and 26 touchdowns. However, he also threw 28 interceptions and guided his team to a 3-13 record.

So let’s get down to it and compare Dalton and Newton head to head. Aside from most importantly having 4 fewer wins, let’s see if Newton is really all the much better than Dalton: (they were talking about Dalton today on tv like he wasn’t even nearly in the same class as Newton…)

So let’s break this down. Dalton has more td’s, less interceptions, and 4 less turnovers overall. I’ve heard many analysts point to the Bengals easy schedule for the bloated record. However, the teams the Bengals have beaten have a slightly higher winning % than the Panthers case, and their opponents winning % overall are almost identical. So that myth has just been debunked. Newton has had some eye popping stats this year, but somehow Dalton has more td’s? Yea it’s called having tunnel vision by focusing on yards only, and looking past more efficient performances. The two are nearly identical in qb rating. Newton has thrown for about 700 more yards, but a) he also has 30 more passing attempts and b) yards are useless if you can’t convert them into touchdowns. Who looks more efficient? You may notice that I’ve left out rushing statistics – this is because they are qb’s and not rb’s, so the rushing numbers just inflate your stats and fantasy points. They don’t convert into wins from the qb position. Sure they can help, but when you have to pass first in the NFL, rushing stats should not be used in comparison to other guys who don’t run.

So what can we take away from this? When you actually take the time to compare these two qb’s against each other, we come to find out they are pretty even. While Newton has a major edge in yardage and rushing stats, Dalton edges him in the most important stats: TD’s, turnovers, completion %, and WINS. Wins are more often than not the #1 variable when most people judge how well an athlete has performed. Dan Marino has all the records, but there’s a reason why he’s never been considered the best qb ever.

Where is all this Cam Newton bias coming from, and why has no one given props midway through the season to the Red Rocket? I know it’s only midseason right now, but it’s pissing me off. Right now you have 2 even qb’s, one of which is 6-2 while the other is 2-6. Later in the year, we may have a middle of the pack playoff qb against a record setting 4-12 qb. So who are you voting for?

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