Written by Josh Farnzy
Images by Hubba Kimbrel
There are many directions this award can take you when assessing who was best. This award seemed to change hands on a weekly basis. Ultimately, it was the way in which Love helped carry the Fleet offense that snuck him past his fellow rookies for the award. The running back put up 1,415 rushing yards (second in SFL) to go with nine touchdowns on the ground. With the passing game still sorting things out, Love was the main offensive catalyst for Portland’s three-game winning streak to close the season – making a monster impact down the stretch, with defenses keying in on him. Love just didn’t care to slow down for eight-man boxes, with those three final wins, Love had: 34 carries, 170 yards, 2 TDs vs. Los Angeles 35 carries, 207 yards, 2 TDs vs. Charleston 33 carries, 147 yards, 1 TD vs. San Diego Workhorse. Also, Rookie Index award winner.
Defensive Rookie of the Season Winner: Ralgar Lawe/CB/Houston
Denver may be busy polishing that trophy right now, but they would be most likely licking their collective wounds if it were not for one play: a kickoff return for the ages. In the quarterfinals, the Arizona Fighting Eddie Gauges had Denver on the ropes until rookie receiver Riley Quintero took the ball down the left seam and raced past the special teams unit to score the winning touchdown with nearly no time on the clock. It was one of the plays that will be remembered for years to come from Season 16. Quintero then went out and had the most receiving yards for his Nightwings in the championship tilt, including a couple big games on the game-winning drive. Kudos to the one rookie to win a ring this season.