And the Nominees Are . . . Voting Begins for the 2012 Pepsi Max NFL Rookie of the Year

January 07, 2013

2012 Pepsi Max NFL Rookie of the Year 4

Want to know who gets more excited than Panini America and NFL collectors about NFL Rookie performances each week during the season? Pepsi with its NFL Rookie of the Week initiative. And for the last 17 weeks, Panini America and Pepsi have worked together to promote Pepsi Rookie of the Week voting and Panini America NFL Rookie trading cards.

The payoff for collectors and NFL fans everywhere has been some pretty sweet virtual cards highlighted on each week in a special Pepsi Rookie of the Week gallery, across social media platforms and the rookies voting page. But now the stakes have been raised. The 17 weekly winners have been whittled down to the five most impressive rookie performers who will now vie for 2012 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year honors.

Vote now for your favorite choice at, then share the image of the 2012 Pepsi Max Rookie of the Year nominee you voted for on your Facebook page. In addition, post the image on the Panini America Facebook page (after you “like” us if you haven’t already) or simply comment with the nominee you voted for. On Twitter, use the hashtag#PepsiMAXROW and mention @PaniniAmerica to Tweet out the card image of the rookie you voted for. For doing those things, you’ll be eligible to win special prizes. Oh, and there just might be a special payoff at the end of the season.

Fans can vote for one of these five players at through 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 29 to determine the 2012 Pepsi Max NFL Rookie of the Year. The 2012 Pepsi Max NFL Rookie of the Year award will be announced in New Orleans, the site of Super Bowl XLVII, at “NFL Honors,” a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 2, 9-11 p.m. EST on CBS.

The five finalists were selected for their outstanding performances throughout the 2012 NFL season.  Each week, five nominees were chosen for the Pepsi MAX NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL fans voted for the winner on  Those results were used to help determine the finalists.

Now, a closer look at the finalists:

  • Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins) – Griffin, who hails from Baylor University, played an enormous role in the Washington Redskins’ success this season, leading his team to a 10-6 record and the NFC East division crown. Griffin finished the regular season with 3,200 yards passing, 20 touchdowns and a 102.4 passer rating. He also rushed for seven touchdowns and 815 yards, breaking the previous record held by Cam Newton (2011) of the Carolina Panthers for most rushing yards by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.  Griffin, who was selected to the 2013 Pro Bowl, also became the first player in NFL history with at least four 60+ yard touchdown passes and a 60+ yard rushing touchdown in a season. In Week 11, Griffin’s 158.3 passer rating became the highest mark (minimum 15 attempts) by a rookie quarterback. Griffin was nominated for 2012 Pepsi MAX NFL Rookie of the Week seven times, winning six.
  • Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts) – The first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and a Panini Authentic exclusive, Luck directed the Indianapolis Colts to an 11-5 record, completing a remarkable turnaround in which the Colts had won just two games the season before. Luck amassed a record-breaking 4,374 passing yards, topping the previous mark held by Newton (4,051). He also became the first rookie in NFL history with 4,000+ passing yards and 10 victories. Luck started all 16 games for the Colts, engineering seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, which tied the record for most by a starting quarterback in a single season since at least 1970. His six 300-yard passing games ranks most all-time by a rookie. The former Stanford Cardinal was nominated for 2012 Pepsi MAX NFL Rookie of the Week nine times, winning three.
  • Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – Martin broke onto the scene with several impressive performances throughout the 2012 regular season. In a Week 9 contest against the Oakland Raiders, Martin erupted for 251 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He finished the season fifth in the NFL in rushing with 1,454 yards and scored 11 touchdowns on the ground. His 1,926 yards from scrimmage trails only running backs Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James for the most ever by a rookie. Martin, who was drafted No. 31 overall out of Boise State, was a candidate for 2012 Pepsi MAX NFL Rookie of the Week five times, winning the award once.
  • Alfred Morris (Washington Redskins) – The 173rd pick overall in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Florida Atlantic, Morris led all rookie running backs in yardage. He finished the season with a franchise-best 1,613 yards, second-most in the NFL among all running backs and third-most all-time by a rookie behind Dickerson (1,808) and George Rogers (1,674). Morris also accounted for 13 touchdowns, helping push the Redskins into the playoffs for the first time since 2007. He was nominated for 2012 Pepsi MAX NFL Rookie of the Week five times, winning three.
  • Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) – Selected in the third round out of Wisconsin, Wilson caught the eye of head coach Pete Carroll and Seahawks fans alike for his proficient play in the preseason, thus propelling him into the starting role for all 16 regular season games. Relying on his arm and legs, Wilson led the Seahawks to 11 wins and back into the playoffs. He finished the season throwing for 3,118 yards, 26 touchdowns and a 100.0 passer rating, which was fourth best in the NFL. Wilson’s 26 touchdown passes tied the NFL’s single-season record by a rookie, set in 1998 by Peyton Manning. The Seahawks finished the year 8-0 at home, which established Wilson as the first rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to lead his team to an undefeated home record. He was nominated for 2012 Pepsi MAX NFL Rookie of the Week eight times, winning the award once.