Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have generated the most headlines during their rookie season, but they aren't the only rookie signal callers who have made a name for themselves this season. One of those quarterbacks is Ryan Tannehill, who you can watch tonight on Thursday Night Football, exclusively for NFL Network.
With that in mind, here are six reasons why you should root for Tannehill. Of course, I'm going to head you off before you even get started and say Lauren Tannehill is not going to be one of those reasons. Be serious for a change, will you?
So let's make this six reason other than Lauren Tannehill why should pull for Ryan Tannehill.
And without further ado ...
Tannehill competed with Stephen McGee for the quarterback spot after he redshirted during his freshman year. But when he didn't get the gig, Tannehill didn't hold a clipboard, he played receiver. And he was pretty good, too. Tannehill was a receiver even during his junior season before he took over the gig permanently in 2010 and eventually worked his way up to be a first-round draft pick.
Earned his gig
Luck and Griffin walked into training camp as the assumed starters and potential saviors of their respective franchises. Both were given the job. Tannehill had to compete for his job with Matt Moore, an established NFL veteran. All right, it's not like he unseated Aaron Rodgers or something, but he still earned it.
He's exceeded expectations
Even though he was the eighth-overall selection and won the starting gig over Moore, not much was expected of him. There were a lot of knocks about Tannehill's pro readiness because he spent time at receiver at A&M, but he's done a pretty good job as the team's starting quarterback. Even some of those scouts who knocked him have conceded he's done a much better job.
Tannehill set a club rookie record when he threw for 431 yards against the Arizona Cardinals earlier this season. No big deal you think, lots of rookies set club records. But then you remember Dan Marino once played for this franchise. So yes, this feather in the cap becomes a little bit bigger when you break the record of a guy who some consider to be the best quarterback in NFL history.
Tannehill already has a degree in biology from Texas A&M and he planned on being an orthopedic surgeon. Of course, this whole playing in the NFL thing has postponed those plans for now. But that's still pretty cool.
Dolphins are cool again
If you look at the long and undistinguished list of quarterbacks who have tried (and failed) to take over for Marino, it's been a long journey. Tannehill has not only given fans in South Florida hope. But he's also made them a possible playoff contender. A win over the Bills on Thursday Night Football (again, did I mention you can watch it on NFL Network), and the Dolphins are right back in the mix.