With the only NFL game remaining being the one in Miami in a 11 days that will crown this season’s champion, it’s time to look back at the 2009-2010 NFL season and see what we learned.
10. The Dallas Cowboys can indeed still win a playoff game: Before they trounced the Eagles in early January, it had been 13 long years since “America’s Team” had last won a playoff game. Many voices were clamoring that QB Tony Romo (previously 0-2 in the playoffs) and head coach Wade Phillips (previously 0-4 in the playoffs) couldn’t get the job done when it mattered most. But Dallas silenced those critics and now the monkey is off the back of the once great franchise.
9. JaMarcus Russell is really, really bad and he isn’t getting any better: The Raiders former No. 1 overall pick was unfathomably bad this season. He played in 12 games, started 9 of them, and in those games he completed under 49 percent of his passes for less than 1,300 passing yards and throwing only three TDs compared to 11 INTs. It’s not the second coming of Christ, but the second coming of Ryan Leaf. And that is not a good thing for Raider Nation.
8. The Cinderella streak lives on: In each of the past two post seasons there has been one team that no one gives a chance in the playoffs and then that team goes on to shock everyone (Giants 2007, Cardinals 2008). The streak moved to three this year as the Jets were given little chance in their first round matchup, having a rookie QB and first time coach on the road in the playoffs. Well New York advanced all the way to the AFC Championship game.
7. Vince Young/Cedric Benson still know how to play football: The idea that these two former Texas Longhorns would succeed in the NFL was abandoned by many. But after three dreadful seasons in Chicago, Benson looked like a new man in his first full season in Cincinnati as he rushed for 1,251 yards and six TDs. Meanwhile Young was benched after only one game last season and was reportedly dealing with serious depression issues. Yet he got another chance after the Titans started the season 0-6, and while he didn’t post huge numbers, Young led Tennessee to an 8-2 finish.
6. There is not a single reliable kicker left in football: Kicking was an epidemic in the ’09-’10 season as makeable kicks were missed left and right throughout the year. But when the playoffs kicked off it went to another level as Bengals K Shayne Graham missed two field goal attempts under 35 yards and the Cardinals Neil Rackers missed a 34-yard field goal that would have won the game. But the dilemma climaxed in the AFC Divisional matchup between the Chargers and Jets, when San Diego K Nate Kaeding, statistically the most accurate kicker in NFL history, missed three field goals in his teams 17-14 loss to New York.
5. Chris Johnson is the best RB in football and will be this decade’s LT: The Titans’ back has blazing speed and torched defenses all year en route to the single season record for yards from scrimmage. Johnson can simply do it all and he will be the consistantly great back that dominates this decade year after year, much like how Tomlinson ruled 2000-2009.
4. Darrelle Revis is the best CB in the NFL and no one else is even close: Just listen to the names that the Jets top corner locked up this season: Roddy White, Reggie Wayne, Terrell Owens (twice), Randy Moss (twice), Roddy White, Chad Ochocinco, Marques Colston, Steve Smith (Panthers version), and Chad Ochocinco. When I say locked up I mean that not one of those star wideouts had over 35 yards receiving in a game and they combined for a lone TD. He is the only shutdown CB currently in the NFL.
3. Brett Favre may never retire: At 40 years old and coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, many scoffed at Favre for deciding to return for another go round. Not only did Favre rebound to have great individual success (carrer highs in QB Rating, completion percentage, yards per attempt, and TD:INT ratio) but great team success as well as the Vikings reached the NFC Title game. Favre says it’s “highly unlikely” that he will return next year, but we’ve heard that before. All I know is that if Favre wants to play next year, he still has the talent to be a top 5 NFL QB.
2. In today’s NFL, you need a legitamite franchise QB to compete for a Super Bowl: Look at the signal callers for the twelve playoff teams this season: NFC- Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Tony Romo, Kurt Warner, Aaron Rodgers, Donovan McNabb. AFC- Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco. If you take out the rookie Sanchez and the second year Flacco, every single QB on that list has made at least one Pro-Bowl. Eight of those QBs threw 25+ TDs this season, seven of those QBs passed for over 4,000 yards, and four of them would be put in the Hall of Fame if they never played another down. Now Sanchez is the exception to the rule, but remember that he had the league’s top defense to help protect him.
1. Regardless of what happens in the Super Bowl, the Colts should have gone for 19-0: Some would say that if Indianapolis wins on Feb. 7th then they are justified for resting their players at the end of the regular season. Actually, I’m of the thinking that it makes it worse, because they could have finished the perfect season if they wanted to. I understand resting a Joseph Addai and Dwight Freeny, who were legitmately banged up, but if they would have played Manning and their healthy starters in their final two regular season games they win both and have a shot at history. You can say “Look what happened to the Patriots Wes Welker” all you want, but 20 years from now no one is going to remember who won Super Bowl XLIV. However had the Colts pulled off 19-0, they would have been imortalized in NFL history. You don’t thumb your nose at that.