This NFL season has been a season of ups and downs and more drama than the Jersey Shore seasons combined. Formerly quiet teams have been making a name for themselves. From the upset of the New England Patriots by the Cleveland Browns, it didn’t stop the brass from firing Eric Mangini by the end of the season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers establishing themselves a rushing team with LeGarrette Blount. The New Orleans Saints establishing themselves as a more balanced team with running back Chris Ivory demonstrating his running prowess. The stories about teams this season could fill more than a book, but I will list the top 12 drama-filled events of the NFL season.
Coach Raheem Morris and the Rise of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers almost made the playoffs, and they won against the New Orleans Saints 23-13. Astounding in of itself. Raheem Morris got his team to a 10-6 record, and he had shown his pride for his team in the locker room after their win against the Saints. They have the template to build on for next season, and they should remain contenders. With the potent running back LeGarrette Blount making his mark in the last few games with four 100+ yard games during the season and over 1,000 yards rushing over the entire season, he has the potential to be an elite running back within the next few years. And with quarterback Josh Freeman, he scored at least a touchdown in nearly every game he played and ended with a fairly high 95.9 quarterback rating and 25 touchdowns to end the season. With only 6 interceptions the entire season, he has the potential to be an elite quarterback as he has the touch to get it to his explosive wide receiver Mike Williams and the ever-steady tight end Kellen Winslow. This has the makings of a balanced team with a variety of threats.
Coach Jason Garett of the Dallas Cowboys Brings the Team Redemption
After the disappointing losses by their former head coach Wade Phillips in the beginning of the season, interim coach Jason Garrett has earned his position as head coach into next season after undergoing formalities with owner Jerry Jones in the upcoming weeks. With the devastating loss of 45-7 by the hands of Green Bay Packers, former coach Wade Phillips soon lost his job. The loss of Tony Romo by the New York Giants in week 7 didn’t help things either. With Garrett’s strict discipline and encouragement, he developed the Dallas Cowboys backfield of Felix Jones, Marion Barber and Tashard Choice into a three-headed dragon that had to be stopped. With Jon Kitna at the helm, he ended the season with above-average statistics of 88.9 quarterback rating and 16 touchdowns. This has become America’s Team once again, and Garrett has brought redemption to the once-broken team under Phillips.
Michael Vick‘s Historical Romp of the Washington Redskins
Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles dominated the Washington Redskins 59-28 in week 10 of the regular season. He threw for 333 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also rushed against the Redskins defense for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns. Vick ended the game with a stunning 150.7 quarterback rating. But this game gave a foreboding of Michael Vick’s nature. True, he is a mobile quarterback, but he’s far from a durable one. And he nearly got a rude awakening with the Minnesota Vikings.
Darren McFadden of the Oakland Raiders Breaks Out
Darren McFadden of the Oakland Raiders breaks out his third season in the league, but he could not help Tom Cable. McFadden ended the season with 1,152 yards, 7 touchdowns and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Ultimately, he ended 12th in terms of rushing yardage.
Cleveland Browns Peyton Hillis Breaks Out
Peyton Hillis had a stunning season after being acquired from the Denver Broncos. With his strong legs, he absolutely dominated the Carolina Panthers with 3 touchdowns on 131 yards. Finally, he ended the season with 1,177 yards, 11 touchdowns and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. He had the same number of touchdowns as Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans, and he ultimately was ranked 11th in terms of rushing yardage. But he could not save Eric Mangini, and Mangini was released after their last game, a devastating 41-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Arian Foster of the Houston Texans Establishes a Balanced Offense
Arian Foster of the Houston Texans has given this Houston Texans offense the balance it needs. However, their quarterback Matt Schaub flustered during the season, and he failed to play as he did for the past few seasons. Arian Foster devastated the charts this season. He ended the season 1st in terms of rushing yards and touchdowns. The Texans still have a potent offense, and with Foster, they can build on this underperforming season.
The Year of Head Coaches and the Unemployment Line
This has not been the year for head coaches. With Dallas Cowboys Wade Phillips, Minnesota Vikings Brad Childress, Denver Broncos Josh McDaniels and San Francisco 49ers Mike Singletary let go, some were nearly terminated at season’s end. Cincinnati Bengals Marvin Lewis, Houston Texans Gary Kubiak and Tennessee Titans Jeff Fisher escaped the axe. But Cleveland Browns Eric Mangini and Carolina Panthers John Fox simply could not. Most were fired from their teams underperforming during the season. Some from the drama that found itself in the locker room, like Brad Childress and his confrontation with Brett Favre. But those that are left are on a very short leash for next season.
Brett Favre’s Stergergate
Originally, a sexting escape involving Brett Favre and former New York Jets hostess Jenn Sterger has developed into something bigger. But this was partially what may have sparked Brett Favre to finally declare retirement. This caused such a rift between him and his wife Deanna that Deanna had to go to national television to somewhat defend his husband. But this has not been the season for anything related to the New York Jets, as more drama came their way.
Brett Favre’s Final Final Final Retirement
Will this be it? Without Brad Childress to get him back, his poor quarterback play this season and the whirlwind drama continuing and revolving around him and his family, I think this may be it. The media frenzy won’t be focused on Favre next season. Instead it will be focused on young Joe Webb and quite possibly Tarvaris Jackson…maybe.
The New York Jets Tripgate
The Wall of Alosi to trip Miami Dolphins gunner Nolan Carroll caused the fall of Sal Alosi for the New York Jets. However, head coach Rex Ryan denied any involvement in such an affair. Again, the New England Patriots were indicted as the forebearer of this technique. And again, with Alosi’s release and more drama revolving around the Jets, this affair came on the backburner but not without ramifications. The NFL issued rules regarding sideline behavior and began an investigation into the incident.
The Denver Broncos Spygate II
Denver Broncos filming of the practice of the San Francisco 49ers in London ultimately cost Josh McDaniels and the film director Steve Scarnecchia their jobs. McDaniels said he learned it while with the New England Patriots. But it all went the way of whispers as he was fired. Thereafter, the Denver Broncos Kyle Orton suffered an end-season collapse, and their backup Tim Tebow ultimately became a starter.
Minnesota Vikings Metrodome Collapses Under Snow
The Metrodome collapsed under 17 inches of snow on December 12, 2010 after a horrible blizzard. This forced the Minnesota Vikings to play at Ford Field and TCF Bank Stadium where they were handed losses. The video footage of the collapse was watched everywhere, as a small tear exploded and pounds of snow fell upon the field. Now the stadium is undergoing repair, and the repair won’t begin until March. This will spell ramifications far and wide for the Minnesota Vikings next season, if the repair takes longer than expected.
Tuesday Night Football!
The Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings played a game Tuesday night for week 16. The Eagles fans gathered around the Linc, but what they didn’t expect Joe Webb — nor they did gameplan for Adrian Peterson to strike hard against their defense. After enduring coaching changes and stadium changes, Webb got a stunning win over the Eagles 24-14. With Michael Vick contending with injuries and Vikings blitzes, it was not his day. Mortality of this Pro Bowler struck hard, as he had a thigh injury.
Seattle Seahawks Wins Division with Losing Record And Enters Playoffs
This has been one weird season, and with Pete Carroll as coach, the Seattle Seahawks win their final game of the regular season against the St. Louis Rams and get into the playoffs. They won their division, had a losing record and somehow reached the playoffs. However, they face the New Orleans Saints as the underdog and understandably so. The Seahawks fans are hoping for a Cinderella team, but they are against some tough odds against this Saints team. Despite the injuries, much like the Indianapolis Colts, Sean Payton and Drew Brees found ways to win the game. This will still be a historical Cinderella story, but it may be cut short a bit to quickly.