Omar Vega / Associated Press
At the inauguration of this year's NFL Honors ceremony, there was not a lot of drama around many categories in this round, but one thing was particularly intriguing: the fight between Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants and Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns for the rookie offensive rookie of the year.
Both are more than worthy candidates on the surface. Barkley collected over 2,000 yards in his first season as a giant storage space. The man made a decision, Baker Mayfield, setting a rookie pass-down record and winning more games in 201
We had no chance that Steve Harvey announced the winner (right, hopefully) on TV before the suspense was spoiled. As ESPN reported, Barkley was named offensive rookie of the year by the Associated Press, supplanting Mayfield with 26.5 to 21.5 votes.
The guard of Indianapolis Colts, Quenton Nelson, received the other two, of which possibly the most impressive part was the whole thing. A guard. Seriously. What a retreat and ejection that was for the Colts.
It's usually hard to find too many mistakes in the decision. Barkley was phenomenal in his freshman year and is already one of the NFL's best running backs.
Bill Kostroun / Associated Press
But I'll do it anyway. Apart from the gaudy statistics, it's almost impossible to say that there was a better beginner – a beginner who had a bigger impact on the really important things – than Mayfield.
He is the true beginner of the year, a trophy or no trophy.
Before the mob of angry villagers meet to hand out the Big Blue pitchforks and torches, once again, Barkley was outstanding as a rookie. For all signs, he is the true deal. In 16 games, Barkley carried the ball 261 times for 1,307 yards, an average of five yards per pop, scoring 11 touchdowns on the ground. He also added 91 receptions (an NFL record for the first year back) for another 721 yards and four points. In seven of his 16 games, Barkley surpassed 100 yards.
After playing twice against Barkley twice last season, Philadelphia Pedle's head coach Doug Pederson knew enough to know that the Giants got a second-overall keeper last April.
Patrick Semansky / Associated Press
"This kid is a special player, a special talent," Pederson said via ESPN. "He's such a big, powerful guy who has a frantic speed, sometimes it's impossible, but you have to pull two or three bodies in. It's an enormous race and a burden to take with you."
No one with working eyes will argue that Barkley is not a special talent. He is already one of the top five arrivals in football.
He was simply not the best rookie in the NFL this season.
Barkley's statistics were impressive for beginners, but it was not as if Mayfield were cat food. Graham Barfield @ GrahamBarfield
Baker Mayfield's Rookie Squadron Curriculum Vitae:
• Broke the rookie TD record in 14 games
• The second highest pass YPG in the rookie season of all time (266.1)
• 10th in yards per attempt (7.66) despite # Browns drop rate of 6% (second worst)
• Only Drew Brees in the Red Zone Passer Ratings (113.7)
In 14 games (and 13 starts), Mayfield completed 63.8 percent of his 486 pass attempts for 3,725 yards and a rookie record of 27 points. He threw 13 more touchdown passes as interceptions and posted a pass rate of 93.7, while he led the Browns to a half game of the 500 mark.
It's this last part that's important as Mayfield stands out from Barkley. While they both had impressive raw data, it was not close in terms of profits and losses – the only numbers in the NFL that really mattered.
In the year before Barkley's arrival, the Giants stumbled to a 3-13 goal the team last placed in the NFC East. This brought the Giants to the election, with which they selected Barkley.
But with Barkley on the field, the Giants were not much better. In 2018, New York ended the season 5-11 – and dead last in the NFC East.
In Cleveland? The difference was day and night.
Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press
In 2017, the Cleveland Browns were the second franchise in NFL history to drop the donut in a regular 16-game season. Zero wins. This came after a 1-15 season 2017 used. And a 3-13 campaign the year before.
Mayfield then took on the New York Jets in the third week after Tyrod Taylor was injured as if someone had turned a switch.
Considering this game against the jets as a "start," Mayfield has won half of his games as a rookie, seven in all. This is three more than Cleveland had won as a team over the last three years of the last three years .
Mayfield was not the only reason the Browns enjoyed the biggest turnaround in franchise history (Hue Jackson did not shoot). But he was by far the biggest.
Per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com NFL network analyst Michael Irvin believes that the only reason why Mayfield was not the winner was the two missing games earlier this year.
"If Baker had started at the start of the season, he probably wins that defeat because he's the quarterback and I think Cleveland would have had the chance to really get into the catfish playoffs," Irvin said. "He's such a gift and a talent, but Saquon Barkley had a great year and he started early, played well and played well all year round."
Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press
For good reason, that's a stupid one, especially considering that Irvin with a straight face said that the Cleveland-crazy Browns could have made the playoffs and the room was not in hysterical laughter would break out just as he was.
"Yes, I knew it would be a very tight race," Barkley said to Cabot. "I did not know who would win, it was winning and I do not think it was like that for the Rookie of the Year … so it's just fantastic for the NFL and the fans, but like me Baker had an incredible season, and what he did for Cleveland is incredible, he deserves it, I wish we could go, but to win this award, it's amazing . "
Now it's the point where Barkley's followers say the award is not" Most Valuable Rookie. " That the influence of a player on his team is not so important the performance itself. Of course this was Mayfield's influence bigger – he is a quarterback.
But in the NFL it is the reality that every Sunday only the final score counts and Mayfield and Barkley have statistical effects 2018 was at least in the same pitch, each set up an NFL record, whose impact on the assets of the respective teams not.
And yes, this particular scale tends strongly to quarterbacks. Welcome to the modern NFL.
The Browns will run more than a little in 2019 as a legitimate contender in AFC North. The Giants are essentially back where they were a year ago: in the NFC East Basement with no clear way out.
If you do not think that's important, ask Barry Sanders It's great fun being a transcendent jam in a lousy team.
The trajectory of a franchise has not changed much. Another shot so hard that Jimmy Haslam's neck is still a bit painful.
David Richard / Associated Press
None of this can take the season that Barkley had. To say that Mayfield was "robbed". Or to say that Barkley did not deserve the prize he won and the chain he receives from Mayfield as part of a friendly bet.
But it takes little more than to block off the raw data for a quick look at each player's influence on the present and future of their respective franchise that Mayfield deserves more.
He is the true NFL offensive rookie of the year.
You can now light these torches.