NFL Season At A Glance ……………….
The NFL —– season has been one of surprises and a great deal of disappointment and if anything the off the field stories have been just as suspenseful as the intrigue on the field. Brett Favre’s downward spiral into mediocrity has been one big hoop-lah after the other. And it would appear that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would rather suborn the player’s behavior and hide behind the fact that quite possibly Favre’s imminent retirement will circumvent him having to suspend the player if his verdict is in fact a positive one that finds the player guilty any wrongdoing in his alleged sexual misconduct concerning a former New York Jets’ employee.
Slide show for your perusal
On the field we’ve seen the fall from grace of the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys the presumptive favorites to make it to this season’s NFC championship game. And as much as I’d like to say that it all came as a surprise to me but in reality nothing pleased me more than seeing both of these over hyped and underachieving teams fall like a lead balloon. Foolhardy management, inadequate coaching and players who simply were complacent essentially played a part in the soap opera that has encapsulated both teams’ season. For owners Jerry Jones and Zygi Wilf they’ve seen their year fall apart and that of any ambition they had professionally as well as from a financial standpoint. In Wilf’s case it was also the prospect of having the upper hand in terms of persuading the state legislature in their upcoming vote for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. Jerry Jones’ ambition of not only hosting the Superbowl as the NFC representative has been shot to hell .
Coaching changes are abound with two firings have taken place Wade Philips , Brad Childress and it’s clear that with the Cincinnati Bengals —– Marvin Lewis choosing not to return to the team next season we may well be in for a slew of coaching upheavals with there being speculation as to whether or not the likes of Jon Gruden , Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy will be making a return to the NFL. They are viewed as the top three desirable coaching free agents on the market and it’d be asinine to think that a number of teams around the NFL won’t offer the trio an interview for any vacancy that may well arise.
Now while a number of teams are now in the mix for a playoff spot as well as those divisional titles that have yet to be settled . It goes without saying that for those teams who could end up playing spoiler and put an end of those postseason desirables. In the AFC West where I’ve always maintained that the football being played there borders on being mediocre, I’m still at a loss to understand the explanation and excitement that’s foisted upon the San Diego Chargers because they go on late regular season run as they strive to make the playoffs. For me if you simply can’t be consistent throughout the season then it simply doesn’t augur well for any ambition that they might have as the month of December and January approaches . As it is Norv Turner’s —- team is now in the fight of their life just to win their division and perhaps gain a postseason berth in the playoffs as a wild-card entrant. The division is now simply the Kansas City Chiefs to lose and as I alluded to earlier with the ineptitude being shown as to the form within the division just about anything can happen and actually has happened during the course of the season.
The NFC West has been no different as there we could well see a division winner with a sub .500 record make the playoffs. Clearly there are many fans in general, as well several team executives who feel that this is something that shows why many feel that they’re ought to be a change in the playoff format as it relates to the postseason seedings. But with there being no outwardly directly calls vocally as of yet other than the murmured rumblings for the moment the format is unlikely to change.
Steve Spagnuolo’s —- St Louis Rams appear to be in the driver’s seat with regard to the NFC West and their game against the San Francisco 49ers being a titanic matchup of two teams looking to make their bid. Guided by Sam Bradford , the Rams could be the surprise team of the playoffs as no one could’ve foreseen the strides taken not only by the team but also by Bradford in his rookie season . In terms of the 49ers this has been something of a tumultuous season as from one moment to the next Mike Singletary seems to have lost control of this team . And it would appear that he can’t make up his mind as which quarterback is his best option to lead this team. Alex Smith still remains an enigma despite his five years in the league and with Troy Smith this season has simply seen him placed into his cauldron for his baptism of fire with the 49ers .
The AFC and for all of the drama that has taken place there it seems that Bill Belichick has the New England Patriots riding high and Tom Brady would appear to be now the odds on favorite this season for league MVP. Brady’s year has been an exceptional one with this high scoring offense and a plethora of offensive weapons . But if there’s a cause for concern then it has to be this young defense that has been somewhat inconsistent but then at times they give you a snap as to what they might be potentially by showing their athleticism .
The AFC South now seems to be up for grabs and it appears that the Jacksonville Jaguars may well have played themselves out of contention for the division. A week ago you’d have been hard pressed to have bet against the Jaguars but it now appears that Jim Caldwell and the Indianapolis Colts led by Peyton Manning are is in a fight to make this division theirs once again. The Houston Texans who came out of the starting gates like a stallion seems to have fallen off the track and it now looks as if Gary Kubiak’s tenure as the team’s coach could very well be coming to an abrupt end. With that type of high powered offense it’s easy to see the appetite that the analysts may well have had for the team . But offense alone simply doesn’t win games the Texans’ defense this season has been as porous as a sponge giving up points like a child gives up his or her lunch money having been bullied by an elder child. Let’s just say that the Texans have been extremely philanthropic when it comes to losing.
The Jacksonville Jaguars should they fall at this obstacle it’s hard to see how these players and in particular Jack Del Rio can look the the fans in the eye and state they tried their best. Their best has never and was never good enough , enough it was marginally above average , if that at all !
Picture gallery for your perusal
Now while many have made the comment that the Cleveland Browns have finally began to show some signs of life playing with a great deal of bravura it has to be said their divisional rivals the Cincinnati Bengals have been an immense disappointment . And despite the outward looking optimism shown by some team members Chad Ochocinco and Carson Palmer have shown little to suggest that they have what it takes to lead this team. The only positive to come out of this all may well have been the play of Terrell Owens who seems to have had a year that shows that he’s got a great deal to play for. Beyond that trying to salvage anything from this mess would be like shoveling manure and then suggesting that some real use can be made of it when you know that the flowers in a garden that have already blossomed.
As to what the remainder of the season portends for the NFL and these teams it remains to be seen what will transpire. But this much is certain with all of the drama that has taken place both on and off the field we do still have the intensity and the thrill of the postseason yet to avail itself to us. Make of it what you will . What thoughts if any do you have as to what you’ve witnessed this season within the NFL and what thoughts if any do you have with regard to the playoffs ?
Alan aka tophatal ………………………………..
Eye candy …………….. Laura looking chivalrous, something to get your appetite up and running.