2012 was a great football year. Excellent comeback stories from Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson were impressive to watch. The rookie quarterback successes proved that the old “wait a year” motto was tired and clichéd as studs like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson led their teams to postseason berths that few envisioned or dreamed of. But my favorite thing about the 2012 NFL nationally was Alfred Morris, the stud rookie running back of the Washington Redskins who set a single-season rushing record in the nation’s capital.
Alfred Morris was rated by many not as a tailback, but as a fullback. Drafted in the sixth-round by the Washington Redskins, Morris made some headlines by living a life of modestly. He drove the same weathered Toyota as a rookie that he did while in college at Florida Atlantic. On the field, Morris was a revelation. He was a steady performer who delivered a spectacular 200 yard, 3 touchdown performance to defeat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night football. Morris played in the Sun Belt Conference and was overshadowed during the draft process by stellar backs from the same conference like Lance Dunbar of North Texas and Bobby Rainey of Western Kentucky. Morris is a perfect fit for head coach Mike Shannahan’s zone -blocking scheme, consistently seeing lanes opening up while patiently letting his blockers set up. The shelf life of a professional running back is short and the shelf life of a running back playing for a Shannahan-coached team is even shorter, just ask Olandis Gary, Selvin Young, or Roy Helu Jr. But I am rooting for Alfred Morris, the success story of 2012 in my book.