And the Nominees Are . . . Voting Begins for 2013 Pepsi NEXT NFL Rookie of the Year
Want to know who gets just as excited as 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 NEXT 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 NFL.com each week in a special Pepsi Rookie of the Week gallery, across social media platforms and the NFL.com 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 2013 Pepsi NEXT NFL Rookie of the Year honors.
Vote now for your favorite choice at NFL.com. Fans can vote throughout the month of January. The Pepsi NEXT NFL Rookie of the Year will be announced at the third annual NFL Honors awards show in New York City on on Saturday, February 2, the night before Super Bowl XLVIII.
The five finalists were selected for their outstanding performances throughout the 2013 NFL season. Each week, five nominees were chosen for the Pepsi NEXT NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL fans voted for the winner on NFL.com. Those results were used to help determine the 2013 finalists.
In conjunction with the 2013 Pepsi NEXT NFL Rookie of the Week promotion, Panini America produced virtual trading cards of each week’s five nominees and a virtual card for each week’s winner. Now that the season is over, Panini America will produce actual trading cards of all weekly winners and the Rookie of the Year for insertion in a late-season 2013 NFL product. Stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance for more information.
Below is a complete list of the 17 weekly winners. After that, we provide a closer look at the Pepxi NEXT 2013 NFL Rookie of the Year contenders.
2013 Pepsi NEXT NFL Rookie of the Week Winners
Week 1: Caleb Sturgis, K, Miami Dolphins
Week 2: EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo Bills
Week 3: Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 4: Kiko Alonso, LB, Buffalo Bills
Week 5: Geno Smith, QB, New York Jets
Week 6: Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
Week 7: D.J. Fluker, OT, San Diego Chargers
Week 8: Sio Moore, LB, Oakland Raiders
Week 9: Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
Week 10: Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams
Week 11: Matt McGloin, QB, Oakland Raiders
Week 12: Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
Week 13: Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Week 14: Marlon Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Week 15: Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
Week 16: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 17: Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
Now, a closer look at the finalists:
Keenan Allen (San Diego Chargers)
Allen started 14 games for San Diego and helped the Chargers to a 9-7 record and a Wild Card berth in the AFC playoffs. He set the team record for the most receiving yards by a rookie in a season (1,046), surpassing John Jefferson’s mark (1,001) set in 1978. As the Chargers’ leading receiver, he became the first rookie in the NFL since A.J. Green in 2011 to eclipse 1,000 yards. Allen had 71 receptions and tied Eddie Royal for the team lead with eight touchdown catches. Allen had five receptions for 89 yards in the Chargers’ 27-24 Week 17 victory over Kansas City as San Diego earned a playoff spot for the first time since 2009. The California product was nominated for Pepsi NEXT Rookie of the Week four times, winning the award all four times.
Kiko Alonso (Buffalo Bills)
Alonso, a second-round draft pick (46th overall) out of Oregon, played every defensive snap for the team this season. He ranked third in the NFL with 159 tackles and finished first in fan voting at the linebacker position for the Pro Bowl. Alonso’s career-high 22 tackles against Cincinnati in Week 6 were the second-most tackles by a player in a single game this season. He was nominated for Pepsi NEXT Rookie of the Week two times, winning the award once.
Giovani Bernard (Cincinnati Bengals)
Bernard, drafted in the second round (37th overall) out of North Carolina, finished the season with 170 carries for 695 yards and five touchdowns. He was instrumental in helping lead Cincinnati (11-5) to an AFC North division title and a perfect 8-0 record at home. Bernard had 148 scrimmage yards (99 rushing and 49 receiving) in the Bengals’ 42-28 victory against Indianapolis in Week 14. He also recorded 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in the Bengals’ 27-24 overtime victory against Buffalo in Week 6. Bernard was nominated for Pepsi NEXT Rookie of the Week two times, winning the award once.
Eddie Lacy (Green Bay Packers)
Lacy, a University of Alabama product who was selected as the 61st overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, helped lead the Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) to their third straight division title and fifth consecutive postseason appearance. Lacy finished the season with 284 carries for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns, setting franchise rookie records in all three categories. He rushed for a career-high 150 yards on 22 carries in a Week 9 matchup against division rival Chicago. Lacy rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns against Pittsburgh in Week 16. He also helped the Packers clinch the division title in Week 17 by rushing for 66 yards and a touchdown in a winner-take-all game against Chicago. Lacy, who led all NFL rookies in rushing yards and touchdowns, was nominated for Pepsi NEXT Rookie of the Week seven times, winning the award once.
Cordarrelle Patterson (Minnesota Vikings)
Patterson, selected in the first round (29th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft, set a Vikings record for most kickoff return yards in a season with 1,393 and was selected to participate in the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl as a return specialist. He finished his rookie campaign with 45 receptions for 469 yards and four touchdowns, adding 158 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He tallied five receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown, and added 111 kick-return yards for the Vikings against Baltimore in Week 14. Patterson had 228 kickoff return yards, including a 109-yard kick-return touchdown, against Green Bay in Week 8. He returned three kickoffs for 149 yards, including a 105-yard return touchdown, against Chicago in Week 2. Patterson is the only player in NFL history with four receiving touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns and two kickoff-return touchdowns in the same season. He also became the first player in NFL history with a 100-yard kickoff-return touchdown (109 and 105), 75-yard receiving touchdown (79) and 50-yard rushing touchdown (50) in a season. The former Tennessee Volunteer was nominated for Pepsi NEXT Rookie of the Week four times.