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  1. #1
    Prophet Guest

    10 Things We Learned About the NFL This Season

    10 Things We Learned About the NFL This Season
    Friday, February 10, 2006
    By John M. Crist
    Link

    Just like that, another NFL season has come and gone. Sorry, the Pro Bowl doesn't count since yours truly is currently an alternate at safety in the NFC right now.

    The excruciating dead period between the end of football and the beginning of baseball is upon us, and since I'll never make it to April writing nothing but Winter Olympics and regular season basketball columns (and oh yeah, we have hockey again), I might as well recap 10 very valuable lessons that I learned while wasting away on my couch the last 22 Sundays:

    1. Peyton Manning is morphing into Dan Marino before our very eyes

    Archie's boy threw for 3,747 more yards and 28 more touchdown passes (rather pedestrian totals considering his Tecmo Bowl-like 2005 effort), led the Colts to a 13-0 start that had the `72 Dolphins collectively wetting their Depends, and actually showed a little bit of personality with that series of MasterCard commercials. Yet when the spotlight was shining its brightest, he delivered a Grade A stinkbomb at home against the Steelers and failed to earn that elusive championship trophy. Just like last year, just like he did in college at Tennessee, and just like he did back in his high school days in Louisiana.

    2. Instant replay is at least partly responsible for the poor officiating

    It's maddening enough that instant replay lengthens the game and inevitably kills momentum in the last two minutes of each half. It's doubly frustrating when the zebras still get calls wrong (like the Troy Polamalu interception and the Ben Roethlisberger touchdown run) despite seeing every conceivable angle half a dozen times in super slow-motion. But most importantly, the scrutiny of instant replay has neutered every official on the field. Half of them don't want to make a call for fear of having it reversed, and the other half won't bother to make a call and simply wait for the replay booth to straighten it out for them. NFL officiating was twice as good a generation ago when they were the last line of defense, and this technological safety net is a classic case of the cure being worse than the disease.

    3. Winning Super Bowls has very little to do with star power

    The Steelers won Super Bowl XL despite no bona fide superstars on its roster. Sure, Big Ben is the youngest QB to ever hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Jerome Bettis is the 5th leading rusher in NFL history, but the former is still finding his way as a pro and the latter hasn't rushed for 1,000 yards in a season since 2001. The Patriots won three titles in four years, and although Tom Brady is the league's once and future Golden Boy, the rest of the roster was littered with role players. Having Randy Moss might generate a little more traffic at the ticket window and sell more replica jerseys, but at this point in his career, he's played in just as many Super Bowls as Dustin Hoffman.

    4. Running back is the most disposable position in football

    Shaun Alexander led the league in rushing and set an all-time NFL record with 28 touchdowns. Edgerrin James ran for more than 1,500 yards for the fourth time in his career and is once again in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. Besides being the career rushing leader for their respective franchises, what else do these rotisserie football gods have in common? Both of them were available before last year's draft for a measly second-round draft pick and may very well be wearing different uniforms come next season. 'Fast' Willie Parker, who rushed for 1,202 yards for the Steelers this year and set a record for the longest run in Super Bowl history last Sunday, was an undrafted free agent out of North Carolina.

    5. Owners are way too trigger happy when it comes to head coaches

    Bill Cowher has been the top dog in Pittsburgh for a decade and a half. Mike Holmgren took over in Seattle back when grunge was still on life support. Yet here we have mercurial Raiders owner Al Davis looking to hire his third coach in five seasons since Jon Gruden left for the Buccaneers, and the jump-suited one can't give the job away. Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt turned it down the same day that Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino did, and this came after former Rams front man Mike Martz pulled himself out of the running. Who's left if former Davis puppet Art Shell says no? Rich Kotite?

    6. Politically incorrect or not, the NFL has no future in New Orleans

    The latest rumor involving the New Orleans Saints concerns their plan to draft USC quarterback Matt Leinart with the #2 overall pick in this April's draft. The fact that they are interested in the slick lefty to replace the erratic Aaron Brooks is no surprise, but the conditions Leinart's agent Leigh Steinberg wants to work into the deal are quite interesting. Supposedly, Steinberg will give the thumbs-up for the Saints to select Leinart if the organization agrees to relocate to Los Angeles after the 2006 season. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue desperately wants his product back in the City of Angels, and don't think for a moment he won't give testy Saints owner Tom Benson a sugar sweet deal to head west. I love Cajun Country as much as anyone, but the Superdome is an antiquated site for an NFL franchise, and the Crescent City needs to spend its money a little more wisely anyway.

    7. Terrell Owens can single-handedly bring an entire city to its knees

    In one very short year, the Eagles went from Super Bowl team to 6-10 disaster, Donovan McNabb went from Pro Bowl quarterback and unofficial mayor to questionable leader and Uncle Tom, and Philly fans went from King Midas to Chicken Little. You paying attention, Mike Shanahan? You get all that, Nick Saban?

    8. Michael Vick is not going to revolutionize the quarterback position

    Vick may be the greatest athlete to ever play QB, and you can make a pretty convincing argument that he is the brightest talent to ever suit up in the NFL. That being said, after five seasons under center, he has a career passer rating of 75.8 (slightly ahead of Gus Frerotte and slightly behind Kelly Holcomb), has never eclipsed 3,000 yards or 20 touchdown passes, and admitted this week to being "lost" in Atlanta's version of the West Coast offense. What do Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, Joe Montana, and Bart Starr have in common? Not only are they all multiple Super Bowl winners, but not a one of them could run a lick.

    9. You don't have to be 6'4" and 220 pounds to be an elite receiver

    Perhaps more than any other sport, professional football seems to care more about size, strength, and speed than actual playing ability when it comes to selecting players. A wide receiver could break every collegiate record in the books, but if his 40-yard dash time is closer to 4.6 than it is to 4.3, there's a good chance he won't hear his name mentioned on the first day of the draft. Yet the two most explosive pass-catchers in the NFL this season were Steve Smith and Santana Moss, two players who would have to be standing on a copy of "War and Peace" to reach six feet tall. For all the little guys out there, you have two new role models.

    10. Super Bowl Sunday has almost nothing to do with the actual game

    After two weeks of needless time off and relentless media overkill, the game itself was slow, sloppy, and disturbingly anti-climactic. Nevertheless, the NFL Experience was a smashing success, every Motown act to ever record a hit put on a concert somewhere in metropolitan Detroit, and admission to the Maxim party was even more impossible than the year before. All of the sponsor checks have been cashed well before kickoff, so the game is inconsequential to the overall success of the product.

    I miss the NFL already. Someone get Mel Kiper Jr. and his hair out of that hyperbolic chamber right now. Only two months and change until the NFL draft this April.

  2. #2
    V4L's Avatar
    V4L
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    Re: 10 Things We Learned About the NFL This Season

    11. Koren Robinson and Sharper are the shizz!

  3. #3
    Ltrey33 is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: 10 Things We Learned About the NFL This Season

    I can agree with all of those points, even Vikez4Lyfe's!

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    Re: 10 Things We Learned About the NFL This Season

    Id have to agree with vikez4lyfe!

  5. #5
    gregair13's Avatar
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    Re: 10 Things We Learned About the NFL This Season

    i like those. all true too
    We're bringing purple back.

  6. #6
    NordicNed is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: 10 Things We Learned About the NFL This Season

    Prophet,

    Thank You,

    Your post are great to read, most the time, and like this one they sure help to make you forget about the offseason for a moment...

    Nice Read...


    I LOVE THE SMELL OF VICTORY IN THE MORNING AIR.

  7. #7
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    Re: 10 Things We Learned About the NFL This Season

    I especially liked this part;

    "in Atlanta's version of the West Coast offense. What do Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, Joe Montana, and Bart Starr have in common? Not only are they all multiple Super Bowl winners, but not a one of them could run a lick"

    It tells me a lot about our situation with DC & why Childress is still so high on retaining him & working with him.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  8. #8
    scottishvike's Avatar
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    Re: 10 Things We Learned About the NFL This Season

    Good read Prophet thanks.

  9. #9
    collegeguyjeff's Avatar
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    Re: 10 Things We Learned About the NFL This Season

    heres another one... the seattle seahawks and all their fans are chicken hawks and they are crybabies who blame the refs for loosing the superbowl.
    I don t buy Wisconsin cheese.

  10. #10
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    Re: 10 Things We Learned About the NFL This Season

    I thought the #1 thing was...... Culpepper or Johnson- Viking fans slug it out over who should be starting !!
    I ll be dead and cold before I m green and gold



    Thanks to PPE for sig

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