Let me first start off with my apologies for the lack of updates. It has just been that time of year, but I will be coming back. Now, this NFL season has been a washout in my opinion. Teams that traditionally do very well have done poorly, and teams that are normally awful are at the tops of their divisions. None of the teams that were tagged as the “break out chic picks” have all disappointed. There have been more breakout performances and more disappointments than in seasons passed, and it leaves the fans either up in arms, or celebrating.
The Tampa Bay Buccanneers and Kansas City Chiefs have consistently had top draft picks in the last five years, but all find themselves on the right side of .500 heading into week 17 of the 2010-11 season surpassing all expectations. The St. Louis Rams may also be on their way to a playoff birth for the first time since the 2004-05 season with rookie quarterback Sam Bradford at the helm. On the otherside of this surprise, the Dallas Cowboys and Minneasota Vikings, the top two picks for the NFC Championship, are at the bottom of their respective divisions and are on their way to top 10 draft picks for the first time in a while. The season has really been up in the air almost the entire season, and it seems like a bizzaro-world football season to most fans.
At the beginning of the season, there were a few teams that were top picks to be the dark horses this season that have almost completely disappointed. The San Francisco 49ers were the talk of the nation at the beginning of the year, and are now at a lowly 5-10 and have fired their Head Coach before the end of the regular season. The New York Jets, said to be the top contender in the AFC at the start of the season are extremely lucky to have their playoff birth, and are a team that should not have won even half of their games, but for some reason the gods of Canton have allowed them to win. Quarterback Mark Sanchez was supposed to have his breakout season with them, yet has not been able to throw for 20 touchdowns, nor less than 10 interceptions. The unpredictability of these teams have, however, improved the NFL’s image of an “Anything Can Happen” league, and will draw a lot more interest from outsiders.
Now, when it comes to individual players, the flip-flopping continues. Rookie cornerback Devin McCourtey, despite his relatively high drafting, had 6 interceptions in his entire career at Rutgers. This season, the rookie (on a defense that no one believed would be successful against the pass at all) is tied for 2nd in the NFL in interceptions with 6 picks in his first season in the NFL, still with a chance to beat his career best with a game left in the season. Veteran Jason Babin on the Tennessee Titans has racked up a NFL 3rd best 12.5 sacks, more than his past 4 seasons combined. However, on the flipside again, Titans runningback Chris Johnson, after a record breaking season last year with roughly 2 500 total yards has rushed for a mere 1 325 yards this season. This season, defending Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees has thrown a career high 21 interceptions as the Saints have just secured a playoff birth with a week left in the season.
There have been so many names left out of this article (including: Brandon Lloyd, Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Matt Cassel, etc.) but still add to the parody of the season. The first 4 weeks of the season really emulated the rest of it. The Chiefs were the only 4-0 team this season, and all the chic picks were at the bottoms of their conferences with no excuses. The unpredictability of the season has really been the essence of what the NFL used to be: just like the football’s shape, you could never quite figure where the momentum would shift next in a game. I for one, am glad to see that the NFL is getting back to its roots as an everyman’s league instead of the elitist league with only the top echelon groups getting the wins.