Well, the regular season is over and we now get to enjoy eleven playoff games which will eliminate eleven of the twelve playoff teams and crown a world champion on February 5th. In fact, we got a bonus this year as Sunday night’s regular season finale was a defacto playoff game to determine the NFC East winner with no wildcard option for the loser. No need to worry, we will still be here to bitch and moan about some of the absurdities of the NFL and the league’s apparent determination to be self-destructive as we proceed with our final five articles of the 2011 NFL season. But first let us congratulate the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, and Cincinnati Bengals on getting through the long hurdle of the regular season and qualifying for the postseason.
That said, today we will look back and clean up some regular season issues before moving forward with the excitement of January football.
Exactly what was it about Phillip Rivers that convinced these idiotic voters to make him the AFC’s third quarterback in the Pro Bowl? Was it his 20 interceptions or his team’s mediocre 8-8 record, including a crucial six game losing streak in the heart of their schedule? Much like we state in our November 1st Article, the NFL and the media just love to hype this guy (just what does he have on one of the higher-ups, anyway?), so his selection was probably just so they can say he is an “(X+1) Time Pro-Bowler” rather than just an “X Time Pro-Boeler”. Rivers is not the only beneficiary of long-time hype (just the most egregious) as consistent top-level players like Dwight Freeney, Champ Bailey, and Larry Fitzgerald made the Pro Bowl after each having a sub-par season. In Fitzgerald’s case, we think he is one of the top receivers in the league and has just met the misfortune of not having a consistent quarterback to toss him the ball, and so maybe there should be a little leeway given. But when you consider that he there and the phenomenal Victor Cruz, who broke some all-time records and some very crucial plays for the New York Giants, is not, it makes you wonder if the Pro Bowl voters are actually living in the present.
2. No Bullshit!
With the end of the regular season, it is time to look at the results from our preseason $100 “No Bullshit” Challenge. This was a contest to see if anyone could accurately predict the eight division winners and we would give a $100, “no bullshit” reward to anyone who did so. Well, we are sad to announce (actually, our wallets are very happy) that no one was able to achieve this. In fact, the most division winners that anyone got correct was five, and that was just one contestant. We put up our own predictions in our 2011 Season Preview Article, and batted .500 with four correct and four wrong. in our brilliance we picked against the grain to predict the Houston Texans and the New York Giants to win their divisions, but we also looked like buffoons in predicting the Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams in their respected divisions. In the case of the Rams, they ended dead last at 2-14 while the San Francisco 49ers finished 13-3, just off by 11 games there. Anyway, the Rams did get the majority of votes from you who participated, just proving how wrong conventional wisdom can be sometimes.
3. Rage Against the (Hype) Machine
Tim Tebow has led the Broncos to the postseason for the first time since 2005. This was accomplished despite the team losing the last three regular season games. We’ve done two articles on Tebow this season, following his roller-coaster ride of perception on just how good he is. Our September 20th Article was written before he got the starting job in reaction to an ESPN special called “Polarizing the Football World” where many in the media repeated the talking note “Kyle Orton gives the Broncos the best chance to win.” After Orton went 1-4 and was replaced by Tebow, the Broncos won 7 of 8 games and shot from worst to first in the AFC West. Still, we warned against all the hype coming from the same media in our December 6th Article. But now the media has come full circle and are back on the Tebow stinks talking point. But as the Broncos head into a playoff game they “just cannot win” against the mighty, mighty Pittsburgh Steelers, they are pretty much right where they want to be.
Tuesday Morning Tailback is a weekly article during football season which take a critical look at the NFL. We do this from the base belief that NFL football is the greatest game in the history of mankind, but some recent policies and the overall direction of the league has chipped away at this greatness. Our primary goal is to spark debate on these subjects, so please leave your own opinion on this article in the comment box below.