It has been a very nice couple of days to be a Rams fan, which is not something we have been able to say all that often in recent years. Quarterback Sam Bradford was named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year on Friday, and former running back Marshall Faulk was announced as one of the 2011 NFL Hall of Fame inductees on Saturday evening.
As far as Bradford goes, I think we all expected him to win the award, and I would have been massively upset if he wouldn’t have. He probably should have won the Pepsi Rookie of the Year vote as well, but that honor went to Lions’ DT Ndamukong Suh, who also won the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. I had the Suh vs. Bradford argument on Friday night with a buddy of mine at the local watering hole, and although I recognize that Suh had an outstanding year (10 sacks, leading all DT), I still believe Bradford was the best rookie of the 2010 season. Suh plays a less-demanding position at DT, and his team made just a two-game increase over their 2009 record. Bradford, on the other hand, played the most important position on the field, and the position that is notoriously difficult to transition to from college to pro, and he took a team that had won six game over the previous three seasons and led them to 7 wins. With all due respect to Suh, Bradford was the cream of the crop when it came to rookies this season.
As far as Faulk goes, there was no doubt it my mind that he deserves to be a first-ballot HOFer. You can look at the numbers and see that, but more importantly, anyone who saw him play could not deny that he was a special talent. The man was impossible to stop when he was in his prime, and he was equally effective as a receiver as he was running the ball out of the backfield. For anyone who is still skeptical, watch this video of some of the greatest highlights from Marshall’s career. Pay special attention at the 1:26 mark, as that run against the Browns is one of the greatest I have ever seen. I remember watching this run when it happened and, at that moment, realizing for the first time how special of a player he was.