Fans To Vote For Winner On NFL.com, DenverBroncos.com and Via Sprint Wireless Service
Defensive tackle MARCUS THOMAS of the Denver Broncos, wide receiver CALVIN JOHNSON of the Detroit Lions, defensive tackle AMOBI OKOYE of the Houston Texans, linebacker PATRICK WILLIS of the San Francisco 49ers and running back DeSHAWN WYNN of the Green Bay Packers are the finalists for DIET PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK honors for games played on September 16 - 17, the NFL announced today.
Fans can vote for one of these five players on NFL.com beginning Tuesday at 8am EST and ending on Friday at noon to determine the DIET PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK. The DIET PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK will be announced Friday evening on NFL.com.
In addition, for the third year, NFL fans may cast their votes for the DIET PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK using phones with Sprint wireless service - an opportunity available only to Sprint customers. This fast, convenient voting method involves texting the word PEPSI to short code 7777. Sprint customers will then receive an interactive text message that links fans to the ballot with the five finalists each week. Data and text messaging rates may apply.
After the regular season, five players will be nominated for Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Fans can vote for the winner on NFL.com throughout the month of January. The winner will be announced at a press conference at Super Bowl XLII in Arizona.
A closer look at the finalists:
* Denver's MARCUS THOMAS made 1 solo tackle and intercepted a second-quarter Josh McCown pass in the Broncos' 23-20 overtime victory over the Oakland Raiders. Thomas' second-quarter interception came on third-and-nine at the Broncos' 44 to stop the Raiders' drive and prevented them from narrowing Denver's lead. His interception was one of three Broncos takeaways against Oakland and marked just the third time since 1990 that Denver had defensive linemen intercept passes in consecutive games.
* Detroit's CALVIN JOHNSON caught four passes for 61 yards and scored in his second-straight game and in the Lions 20-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings. The Lions' rookie made a seven-yard, third-quarter reception that he caught in the front left corner of the end zone. Johnson touched the ball five times (four receptions, one rush), each of which resulted in a first down or touchdown.
* Houston's AMOBI OKOYE recorded 4 tackles (4 solo), 2 sacks and a forced fumble in the Texans' 34 - 21 win over the Carolina Panthers. Okoye's two sacks both occurred on third-downs--the first for a loss of 8 yards and the second for a loss of 10 yards--twice causing the Panthers to come up short of the first down and to punt.
* San Francisco's PATRICK WILLIS posted a game-high eight tackles in the 49ers' 17-16 victory over the St. Louis Rams. Willis had a five solo tackles and three assists and was part of a stiff San Francisco run defense that limited Steven Jackson to 21 carries for 60 yards.
* Green Bay's DeSHAWN WYNN rushed for 50 yards over 10 carries, including a fourth-quarter 38-yard run for a touchdown in the Packers' 35-13 victory over the New York Giants. Wynn recorded two touchdowns giving him his first touchdown and multiple touchdown game of his NFL career.
This is Pepsi's sixth year as the official soft drink sponsor of the NFL and the third year that Diet Pepsi will present the NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL Rookie of the Year awards.