It is now being said that Titans rookie running back Chris Johnson thinks that the voting for the offensive rookie of the year is “bogus” because the people voting for it aren’t on the playing field with them. Johnson has a case, but this was not a very good move. Before I go any furthur, some of you may know that I am one of the biggest Chris Johnson fans out there and have been hyping him up as a player. This is one scenerio where I will not be at his defense.
Johnson had an excellent rookie season with 1228 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. The only problem is, two rookie running backs arguably had better years in Steve Slaton and Matt Forte. Both Forte and Slaton had more rushing yards then Johnson and Forte also had more touchdowns. Slaton had as many touchdowns as Johnson and led all rookies with 1282 yards. If the Texans used him more at the beginning of the season, Slaton would probably have challenged Adrian Peterson for the rushing title.
In an era where fans also tend to dislike self centered players, this will turn some people off towards Johnson. When asked about how he felt about not winning Johnson went on to say “I’m disappointed. I did all I could to win it. I feel I did the best. I feel I did all I could do to win it; it just didn’t come my way.” Even though Johnson doesn’t have much to say and doesn’t really talk to the media, people will now think of him as a Chad Johnson or Terrell Owens. Johnson will also be compared to Kanye West who has a past of saying things when not winning awards.
West has been quoted as saying the MTV Awards are “fixed” and also has made scenes after losing out on awards on numerous occasions.
The other problem for Johnson is that out of all the positions, running backs transition the easiest to the pro level. Quarterback is one of the hardest and Ryan overcame every challenge in his way. He not only turned one of the worst teams in the NFL into a playoff team in one year, but he also handled everything like a 10 year veteran. Ryan has also brought back hope to all Falcons fans in Atlanta after a year which included head coach Bobby Petrino leaving in the middle of the season and the Michael Vick saga. Ryan wasn’t the only rookie quarterback to succeed this year though, you could also throw Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco into the mix as well as he along with the Ravens incredible defense made the transition from last place in the AFC North to a wildcard birth overnight.
As deserving as Ryan is, he also clearly had a better supporting cast then Johnson. While Johnson constantly had to matchup against 8 man fronts, Ryan had the league’s second leading rusher in Michael Turner and a receiver in Roddy White who is 4th in the league with 1382 yards. The leading receiver on Johnson’s team was Justin Gage with 651 yards. The only real offensive threat other then Johnson that the Titans have is LenDale White who with Johnson forms “Smash and Dash” which is arguably the best running back tandem in the league.
Johnson did have a very good year, but in a rookie class where players at all positions are having a big impact, he doesn’t have a very valid case. With both the Titans and Falcons in the playoffs, the battle for offensive rookie of the year award could be settled on in one of the world’s biggest stages: The Super Bowl. I’m sure Ryan and Johnson wouldn’t have it any other way.