New York, NY—Despite the two game #7 hockey playoff games with the Rangers and Devils, respectively trying to advance for an opportunity of obtaining the Stanly Cup, football fans on Thursday night were either at the Radio City Music Hall or watching on TV to see what players their favorite team would draft for the upcoming NFL season.
For months, the winner, Robert Griffin III, and the runner-up, Andrew Luck, of the 2011 Heisman Trophy have been the favorites to be selected first in the 2012 NFL Draft, the annual attempt of each NFL team to improve its position in the league by adding new blood from the college ranks.
The only difference between the NFL selection process and that of the college election announced in December is that Luck was the first pick and RG3 was the second selection. The two are the first quarterbacks to be selected first and second in the annual draft since 1999 when Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb were #’s 1 and 2.
Both proved to be true scholar/athletes while in college. Luck, the runner-up in the Heisman voting in 2010 and 2011, attended the academically prestigious Stanford University, where he majored in architectural design. He was not only the starting quarterback at Stratford High School in Houston, but was the valedictorian at the school’s graduation ceremony.
The Indianapolis Colts chose Luck, waiting only 1:19 to announcing the selection. They are hopeful the talented and experienced college quarterback can easily make the adjustment to the pro game and replace their long-time superstar Payton Manning.
The intelligent, young man deflected the comparison between him and Manning with humility, “Payton Manning, he may be the greatest ever and he was my football idol growing up. You don’t easily replace a guy like that. How can you? Those shoes to fill are huge. I’m not going to go crazy trying to do everything. I’m going to put my best foot forward and work hard at this game.”
The Washington Redskins traded to move up from sixth to second in order to grab RG3. The Baylor quarterback was a sensation on campus as well as the gridiron because of his outgoing personality and academic achievement.
Griffin was born in Japan to parents who served in the military, thus he was reared with discipline and encouraged to practice inner discipline. He had special need for that trait when he suffered a torn ACJ in his right knee in the third game of the 2009 season. The accomplished athlete explained that the time he spent away from the sport of football, “Made me appreciate the game.”
Like Luck, Griffin was devoted to his studies. The political science major graduated from college in three years. He was a regular on the honor roll each semester. After winning the Heisman in December, he spoke of his future, “Plan A is academics; plan B is athletics, but sometimes B takes over. I plan to apply to law school. If the NFL comes knocking, I’ll be sure to answer.” Griffin gave a positive answer on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall.
From this moment on, the duo will be under intense scrutiny. Both young men have the intelligence, athletic ability and self-discipline to succeed on the gridiron and elsewhere.