A new year is here and the NFL playoffs are set! The teams from the NFC are Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers. The AFC contenders are New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens. Playoff action begins on Saturday, January 8, 2011. See the entire 2010 postseason schedule.
I picked the Jets to win the Super Bowl. Not because I’m from New York. Not because green and white are my favorite colors. Not because of their fancy new stadium. Not because they were featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”
I picked the Jets because I saw them balancing youth and experience and building on the accomplishments from the 2009 season. They made it to the AFC Championship game last year with rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez, so they were just one win away from Super Bowl XLIV. During the offseason, they retained their starters and strengthened their offense with veterans Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and L.T. (LaDainian Tomlinson). They ended on a bad note only winning two out of their last five games, but they are in the playoffs. Yes, I am sticking to my word. The Jets are going to Dallas
In reflecting on the regular season, here are my top seven moments, events and surprises from the 2010 season.
#7 – Batman and Robin just an old cartoon. T.O. (Terrell Owens) joining Chad Ochocinco in Cincinnati was supposed to frighten defenses across the league. The claimed “dynamic duo” only combined for 13 touchdowns the entire season and the Bengals only won four games.
6# - Steelers quarterback drama. Pittsburgh starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for 4 games at the beginning of the 2010 season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. First the concern was who would replace him. Then the concern was where would the team be when Big Ben returned. Both ended up non-issues. They won the AFC North with the second best record in the conference and are resting the first weekend of playoff action.
#5 – Tripping to victory. New York Jets Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Sal Alosi was fined $25,000 after he was videotaped tripping Miami Dolphins rookie Nolan Carroll. The investigation revealed that he had instructed inactive players to line up along the sideline to position themselves to impede gunners on the opposing team. As a result, he was suspended indefinitely. The NFL also fined the Jets franchise $100,000. Sometimes you are grateful to have “big brother” watching.
#4 – Great coaching puts New England on top. After losing to the Jets early in the season, the Patriots did not seem like the leader in the AFC. It really looked like their season was going to suffer when they sent wide receiver Randy Moss to Minnesota. Head coach Bill Belichick did not let the critics get to him or his players. He couldn’t replace Randy Moss and did not try to. Instead he got the job done by having Tom Brady go with shorter passes to tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots have the best record in the league and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. No one is missing Randy Moss in New England.
#3 – Fading Favre. Not so surprising that Brett Favre isn’t the quarterback that he used to be. The man is 41. He has been in the pocket taking hits for 20 seasons. After last season it is unfortunate that the future hall of famer was forced out of the game and literally ran away after his last game. He says that he knows “It’s time.” I hope that he does.
#2 – The soaring Eagles. Last spring it seemed really crazy that Philadelphia traded quarterback Donovan McNabb to a division rival. McNabb was benched in his new home (Washington Redskins) and the Eagles are in the playoffs after winning the NFC East, but not because of Kevin Kolb the guy that was supposed to be their starting quarterback.
#1 – Michael Vick is back! Michael was supposed to just back up Kolb this season. He got his chance to start in the NFL again after three seasons and has not looked back. Four months later he is voted the NFC starting quarterback for the 2011 Pro Bowl and a NFL MVP contender.
Heels & Helmets®