Bengals News

Myth of the Sophomore Slump

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The 2012 NFL Draft looks like it’s going to turn out to be one of the greatest quarterback drafts in NFL history. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson all had tremendous debut seasons, leading their teams to the playoffs. Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, Nick Foles, and Kirk Cousins also showed enough that they could have bright futures as professionals.

With impressive rookie campaigns behind them, fans are anxious to see what they can do for an encore. However, a potential bump in the road looms large as the 2013 season approaches, the dreaded sophomore slump, the year where the rest of the league catches up to them, and they crash back down to Earth. It’s inescapable. Or is it?

Quarterback is the most important position in football, and the position most often linked to sophomore slumps. But what defines a sophomore slump? The simplest way to look at it is to take it literally, referring to a player’s second professional season.

However, some players didn’t play in their rookie seasons, with notable examples being Carson Palmer and Aaron Rodgers in recent years. It’s fair in those cases to use their second year of actual playing time. For the purpose of this article, it refers to the second year with games started at the NFL level.