” Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well ” Quote by William Shakespeare
As the NFL regular season meets its timely demise, the one thing we can take out of these scheduled l games was the fact , like in seasons past ….what you see is what you get. None of this asinine insinuation of their being parity in the NFL has any foundation at all . It comes down to hard work , effort , talent and coaching. This season there was very little of that to be witnessed by the majority of the teams. Even franchises thought to be major contenders at the start of the year , simply flamed out like a damp squib, while but a few surprised , perhaps none more so than the Arizona Cardinals (11-5) who made the NFC West something of a competitive division throughout much of the season , but failing in the end to follow up their fast start , by closing out the deal with a divisional win . Bruce Arians’ Cardinals enter into the postseason as a wildcard entrant with a very competitive game on their hands this upcoming weekend.
The Arizona Cardinals will travel cross-country to face an over-achieving Carolina Panthers’ (7-8-1) team who somehow fought and then systematically clawed their way to an undeserving NFC South divisional title . Ron Rivera and his players made a successful defense of their title, but it was far from being impressive considering the fact , in 2013 the team had double-digit wins while also claiming one of the best records in the NFC for the year. This season proved to be a complete anathema with all four teams finishing within the division with sub.500 records and the Panthers being privileged to be the divisional representative in the postseason . Say what you will, but mediocrity still plays a vital part in the NFL today and always will in spite of claims to the contrary and the ongoing idiotic suggestion of parity .
Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers make welcome return to the postseason , but these are not the Steelers’ teams of old , albeit , Ben Roethliseberger is playing well , but nowhere near the level when he led the franchise to their most recent postseason triumphs . In knocking off the Cincinnati Bengals , Pittsburgh booked their ticket to the postseason, while also capturing the AFC North title. Roethlisberger will be looking to make this Steelers’ team competitive, even if they are looked upon as under-dogs within the conference and a legitimate contender for the Superbowl . If Pittsburgh can find any semblance of consistency then they are likely give any AFC team considerable problems during the postseason foray.
With all three teams from the state of California failing to make the NFL’s end of the regular season showcase. One has to ask, what now becomes of the Oakland Raiders (3-13), San Diego Chargers(9-7) and the San Francisco 49ers (8-8)? Niners’ head coach Jim Harbaugh is most certainly out, with the beleaguered head coach having agreed in principle to part ways with the franchise. There were every growing signs Harbaugh had lost control of the team and the players’ confidence in him, never mind the organization’s lack of accountability in dealing with several off the field issues during the season. It has all led up to this crisis and placed CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke in a position, where they were either going fire the coach , but with his choosing to part ways of his own volition , it now leaves them to pursue a candidate to their liking and hopefully someone who can regain the stature they feel is befitting of their franchise.
A meaningless win for the Forty Niners over the Arizona Cardinals was simply more salt in the wound for the organization , knowing this was a season which went unfulfilled. There were few positives on this team and the likelihood will be, some drastic changes will be made to the roster during the off-season. I am not so sure what needs to be said about the San Diego Chargers and the travails of Philip Rivers . Since his entry into the NFL he has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the league, but yet he has been unable to give the franchise or should I say, this organization has failed to supply him with the complementary weaponry to get the job done of availing themselves a Superbowl victory. All that was needed in the Chargers’ final game of the season, was a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs , but instead, the visitors chose to give their worst performance of the season with Rivers contributing to the Chargers’ defeat and their being abruptly thrown out of the postseason.
It has never pained me to say this but ” the Oakland Raiders are simply sh#t and not worth the time of day ., much less being mentioned as an NFL franchise ! I don’t believe I can put it anymore succinctly than that at this juncture . As for this idiotic belief , Jon Gruden is likely to return to the organization for a second go-around, is almost absurd as believing Donald Trump has the wherewithal to become the GOP candidate for the Presidency in 2016. Then again, if a smooth-talking Senator from Chicago , Illinois can twice (2008 and 2012) pull the wool over the eyes of a befuddled electorate, then just about anything is possible within reason, wouldn’t you agree ? Gruden signed a lucrative contract extension with ESPN to fill us in with his customary useless diatribe and insights into the NFL. Personally. the less I see of the NFL analyst on the air, the better off I feel about the the league in general, as I believe his insight on the game, offers me no more meaningful information than can be found in a piece of legislative statute, drawn up by a lobbyist, that one of the Congress’s lame @ss legislators, will place their signature on, calling it their own and a meaningful piece of legislation. The Raiders were in the hunt to have the worst record in the NFL this season , until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose to enter the fray and exhibit the type of incompetence often seen from silent era of movie making and those comedic classics produced by Max Sennett that evolved around ” The Keystone Cops” .
Genuine pratfalls or not , the Buccaneers have now defined and refined incompetence to a new “art form” within the NFL , with their apathetic fans as usual at a loss with anything meaningful to say about the continuing woes of the team and organization in general. Buccaneers’ GM Jason Licht remains as clueless in person as he does when first introduced as the lead front office executive in charge of player personnel decisions for the franchise. Lovie Smith has brought in and instilled the type of home-grown stupidity into the Buccaneers’ roster that you would perhaps more associate with an episode of the the ” Jerry Springer ” Show . ” Who’s my baby Daddy ” ? The Buccaneers were just about everybody”s bit#h during the regular season and their record was a clear reflection of that fact.
The fact the Oakland and Tampa will be in the top-five of the 2015 NFL Draft order shouldn’t really come as surprise to anyone . What may well come as a surprise , is the fact the Raiders are seriously contemplating Tony Sparano remain as the team’s head coach and making it a permanent position . Damn , here was I thinking the revolving door and turn-style of either recycled head coaches or less than qualified candidates would be part of the Raiders’ off-season as they began their interviewing process , but at the end of the day, we are dealing with the Oakland Raiders and nothing they seem to do has anything to do with logic let alone acual common sense. I hear, there is even talk of building the franchise around the talents of Derek Carr ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!! If Carr hopes to be a resounding success in the NFL, then here are a few pointers for the player , play a great deal better than you have been and for Christ’s sake take no advice from an elder sibling, David Carr , whose career in the NFL and the fact he was an overall number one draft pick is a sound reason why you cannot always base an assessment of a player on what others might think or the fact Mel Kiper’s lips have been firmly pressed against an agents’ sphincter or the players’ butt-hole as an insightful premise as what we ought to expect from a player.
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers it is once again back to the drawing board, as the franchise seeks to regain some semblance of respectability , if not success. The lone bright spot on the roster from the season which has just ended was the play of their rookie wide receiver Mike Evans who excelled for for the franchise in his first professional season in the league. It’s safe to suggest the Buccaneers have a solid receiver in Evans and a very good talent with running back Doug Martin who had himself a career-day in the team’s narrow three-point loss to the New Orleans Saints (7-9).
Unfortunately, there are no leaders to be found on this current Buccaneers’ roster, and in large part, that has not been the case since the days, when Tony Dungy was the head coach of this franchise. Players such as Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and Jon Lynch played with a great deal of pride and honor , when they took to the field for the team. I do not believe that to be the case with this current lineup and that is strange, when you consider, Lovie Smith is a disciple of the Dungy approach to coaching and the players being held accountable. Then again I shouldn’t be at all surprised by the morass and incompetence shown by team, when I consider the fact , Smith coached the Chicago Bears where during his final two years with the franchise, we all witnessed the less than favorable playing traits of Jay Cutler . If Smith could not corral and handle a prima-donna such as Cutler, why would anyone be of the belief he would be able to instill any type of discipline into a roster where Gerald McCoy and Vincent Jackson have practically been “no shows ” this season and as alleged veterans in the NFL, have shown about as much propensity to lead by example as a shy child being asked to read in font of the class by a teacher , on their first day at school.
McCoy and Jackson are among the highest paid players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and have have been stealing money under false pretense by way of their respective salaries . Whatever changes are likely to be made during the off-season you can be assured there will be upheavals made as the front office decides to rebuild the roster and several elements of the coaching staff . It has been part of the Buccaneers’ procedural process during each year of undoubted failure , in a season which allegedly, promised a great deal of hope.
OK, so the Dallas Cowboys (12-4) are back in the postseason for the first time since 2009 where the team’s showing ended with a divisional round loss to the Minnesota Vikings . Cowboys’ owner and GM Jerry Jones finally has something to shout out loud about, as the team far exceeded expectations which may have been set at the start of the season. The Cowboys won the <a href=http://nfl.com/standings?sort=por won the NFC East, because the Philadelphia Eagles(10-6) under the coaching acumen of Chip Kelly, has no compunction to play defense , something often witnessed during his years with Oregon as the program’s head coach. Prolific offenses seems to be the only thing known to Kelly and within his playbook.
Philadelphia for its part, was simply hoping the Cowboys would falter in their game against the hapless Washington Redskins(4-12) , whose season has been one repeated disaster after the other, with Jay Gruden unsure what to make of his starting quarterbacks this season. Dallas simply blew the Redskins out of the water with a 44-17 victory in a contest where Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murrayshattered the franchise’s single season records for receiving touchdowns , for rushing yardsrespectively and all-purpose yards. Though the Eagles came away with a somewhat easy victory over the New York Giants (6-10) .
It is stunning to face the fact, the Philadelphia Eagles failed to make the postseason when they had the division and postseason berth within their grasp. Questions need to be asked and answered, as to whether or not this team possesses the competitive or mental mindset to get the job done . The answer , based on the occurrences of this season would have to be a resounding …….. no , because clearly, Chip Kelly feels there is no need to change the way the team plays , specifically with their defense being so inconsistent, bordering on ineptitude.
As great a season as the Dallas Cowboys had for the year,I am far from convinced the team will be good enough to make deep run in the postseason ! Add in the fact Tony Romo’s playoff- record leaves a great deal to be desired. A wildcard contest against the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington , Texas on the 4th January , 2015 will provide the Cowboys’ fans their first chance to see the team in playoff game in five years. Whether or not the players can get past this first hurdle will greatly be dependent upon on the preparation of Jason Garrett and his coaching staff. The winner will then have the privilege of facing the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the postseason.
The New York Jets'(4-12) failures thisseason have been well-chronicled and the mere fact that the front office seems to on the cusp of firing head coach Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik should come as no great surprise. At no point during their regular season schedule were the Jets able to muster back-to-back wins. It’s safe to say, as Ryan continually backed his incumbent starting quarterback , Geno Smith , the greater the pressure became for him to revert to the use of the team’s veteran and backup Michael Vick when Smith’s play came into question during 2014. Not that Vick’s play was any more convincing, leading many to now believe his days in the NFL are likely numbered. Strong arm and a great running threat? Well, those days are long gone and his play overall, never led to any meaningful victories for either the Atlanta Falcons Philadelphia Eagles or New York Jets over the course of his career. As for Smith, work in progress or not, momentary flashes of glimpses of brilliance are not what the Jets require, it his consistently winning games and showing leadership than his propensity for fumbling the ball and throwing interceptions.
It will be interesting to see what now transpires within the Jets’ organization, as they gauge where and when their season began to spiral completely out of control. My question remains , if John Idzik was the architect behind the building of a Superbowl winning roster, with last season’s champions the Seattle Seahawks , then how is it he and Ryan’s coaching staffwere not able to assemble a competitive roster for this season ?
Credible candidates for the regular season League MVP ? Cast your net wide, but to my mind there are but four strong nominees for the league’s highest invdividual regular season honor ! Granted, everyone seems to be jumping on the JJ Watt bandwagon, but how can anyone feel Watt is so deserving of the award when the Houston Texans (9-7)barely above.500 never really challenged the Indianapolis Colts (11-5) for divisional supremacy within the AFC South or the very fact the team failed to make it into the postseason ? Granted , Watt did have an exceptional year as a defensive player and rightfully or wrongfully he can be considered for the award , but to my mind he has been the best Defensive Player in the league this season , but being the best player in the NFL this year ? There are are other candidates far more worthy than Watt !
I believe the Texans’ defensive end (Watt) to be the best player on the roster this season. Yet , that in-of-itself should be by no means the sole requirement for him to be simply be handed the prize unanimously in a number of adjudicators’ eyes. Has he been the best player in the NFL this season ? Consistency might suggest Watt has been, but I consider the play of Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, DeMarco Murray and Tom Brady to have been just as credible. When these awards are handed out during the NFL’s annual awards’ ceremony , it will be interesting to see who the recipient award will be and whether not it a unanimous or majority vote balloted in the player’s favor. Your thoughts on this specific matter ?
Picture gallery .
With the NFL postseason about to get underway this weekend, what event during the regular season caught your attention and which teams during the league’s postseason foray do you believe will rise to the occasion and win it all ? Chime in with a comment on the subject matter as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has been greatly appreciated ! With the New Year beckoning, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful and Prosperous New Year !
Picture and slideshow details below.
(1) Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers avoids the tackle from Calais Campbell (93) of the Arizona Cardinals in the second quarter at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The Forty Niners would go on to defeat the Cardinals 20-17 , with the contest being Jim Harbaugh’s last game in charge as the head coach of the team. Getty Images Ezra Shaw …
(2) Frank Gore (21) of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images / Ezra Shaw ….
(3) Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers and owner Jed York talk at midfield during warm ups against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images /Don Feria …
(4) Head coach Rex Ryan , left, of the New York Jets speaks with head coach Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins during pregame workouts before the Jets met the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. It was announced today that Ryan and GM John Idzik had been fired by team owner Woody Johnson as the franchise seeks to move on after a thoroughly disappointing season. Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann …
(5) Mike Evans (13) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs after a reception in the first half of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Tampa, Florida. The Saints defeated the Bucs 23-20 . Getty Images North America / Joe Robbins …
(6) Blake Bortles (5) of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by J.J. Watt (99) of the Houston Texans in the first quarter in a NFL game on December 28, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Bob Levey …
(7) J.J. Watt (99) of the Houston Texans celebrates sacking Blake Bortles (5) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first quarter in a NFL game on December 28, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Getty Images /Bob Levey …
(8) Quarterback Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks throws a pass against the St. Louis Rams at Century-Link Field on December 28, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Johnathan Ferrey …
(9) Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback , Russell Wilson is seen here raising the Lombardi Trophy after the team’s lopsided victory over the Denver Broncos in last season’s Superbowl . The Seahawks enter the postseason as the number one seed in the NFC and a strong contender to repeat as the defending champions . Wilson is also considered a leading contender for League MVP after a stellar season for the team. Also pictured are Michael Strahan to the left of the quarterback, with Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll to Wilson’s rear . AP Photo/ Mike Thomas …
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NFL results week seventeen and the entire league schedule in 2014 .