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Bears Mon Dec 15 2008

Footballic Ramblings: So Who is Winning Rookie of the Year?

With the regular season rapidly coming to a close and with the Bears ever-fading playoff hopes looking dimmer and dimmer. For the record, the Bears need to win their remaining games and then pray that Dallas, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia all lose their remaining games for Chicago to have a chance at returning to the postseason for the first time since their Super Bowl run in 2006. But all is not lost as with the end of the season, come plenty of off-season plaudits (MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, et cetera) and amid those shiny baubles sits the Rookie of the Year award, a trophy that Chicago's very own rookie running back/generator of ALL* of the Bears offense Matt Forte could end up winning.

Yet for Forte to claim this --nice but, relatively, meaningless award-- he must somehow outmaneuver rookie cohort/sensation, Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons, for Associated Press writers precious votes. A feat that could grow increasingly more difficult if Ryan's Falcons make the playoffs with a wild-card and Ryan garners more and more media attention while Forte is benched on his couch for the playoffs with the rest of the Bears. But even if neither the Bears nor the Falcons manage to make the playoffs I'm not convinced that Ryan isn't the more deserving of the two up and comers.

Consider that Ryan, in the most difficult position on the field; and as the only player who handles the ball on every play** has been sacked a mere 14 times and thrown only 9 picks. Compare that with the much-improved NeckBeard who's been sacked 22 times and thrown 10 picks, while throwing for 560 fewer yards and having a passer rating of 80.1 to Ryan's rating of 90. Forte, who has been unbelievable, will continue to be a steady and highly-productive running back for the Bears franchise, which after the debacle of Cedric Benson, really could use some stability in the backfield. However, Ryan for the Atlanta franchise has meant even more, in terms of both offensive production and off-field stability.

After last season the Falcons had no head coach, thanks to the professional slime-sucking of Bobby Petrino and the franchise was still rudderless at the QB position following the embarrassing Michael Vick dog-fight trial and imprisonment. Enter Matt Ryan who's been mechanically picking apart (along with co-saboteur of defenses, Michael Turner) the fierce NFC South defenses*** all year. So, yeah, Matt Forte is awesome but AP voters are going to be looking at Matt Ryan's record, stats and "stabilizing****" influence for the Dirty Birds locker room when they're voting...

*Hyperbolic, yes. But not that hyperbolic.
**Okay, so, yes, the center also handles the pigskin on every play, and we're ignoring the "Wildcat" formation for this argument.
***New Orleans defense notwithstanding.
****Not really sure what that means, but, y'know, stupid people love crap like that.

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