This is how the 2010 NFL season started off, with players around the country portraying their unity as one union. As fans this was the first sign of issues for us, seeing that there is the possibly of a lockout and work stoppage leading up to the 2011 season. As the season went on, rumors and assumptions heated up alluding to what will actually happen next year but somehow the week-in week-out excitement of the games were able to overshadow the pending labor dispute but I will get to that later on…
Other headlines at the beginning of the season centered around the gunslinger, #4. The most storied (notice I said ‘storied’ and not ‘best’) player in NFL history was back for one more shot. Coming up short the prior year in the NFC Championship gave Favre and the horrible Vikings ownership false hope that they could do it again with an aged and battered QB who didn’t even show up till pre-season games were underway. Poor management, horrendous coaching, and disgusting team leadership brought the roof down on Minnestoa, literally.
With the Vikings seemingly out of the picture, all eyes were on Rex Ryan and the New York J-E-T-S, Jets. The most watched season ever of “Hard Knocks” gave us insight into one of the best teams in the league and it was nothing short of riveting. Nothing washes football down better than a nice cold glass of swearing and hazing. While it was all in good fun it brought the hype of the Jets to an even higher level as their quest for a Super Bowl was on.
As fans it felt like we were watching weekly episodes of TMZ when it came to the Jets. Constant controversy surrounding trade talks between shutdown corner, Revis Island, Braylon Edwards getting arrested for sippin’ and whippin’ (my phrase for driving while under the influence) and the skipper making soft-core foot fetish videos in empty parking lots of the Tri-State area.
With those two groups taking up 50% of the time on “Sports Center,” the rest of the minutes were devoted to “America’s team” and the house that Jerry built. With high expectations every year coming out of Dallas, the Yes-man himself, Wade Phillips just couldn’t get the job done. The players weren’t behind him and the play was evident of that so by the time Jason Garrett took the reigns the damage was already done, although it does look like there is light at the end of the tunnel for them next season.
With “Sports Center” coming to a close the only thing left were the Top Plays, which were comprised up by a handful of players. With Kevin Kolb injurred it was an easy decision to slap the franchise tag on Mike Vick, as he kept us on the edge of our seats week after week doing things that only flag football quarterbacks do. On the opposite side of the ball was Head and Shoulders spokesman, Troy Polamalu jumping over offensive lines.
Once the playoffs were on the horizon, several teams began to pull away from the rest of the pack. It seemed like Matty Ice and the Falcons simply could not lose at home, Big Ben would make clutch play after clutch play keeping adding to their hashmarks in their win column, and no matter how many injuries the Packers endured, they just kept winning. And ultimately that is what you need to do late in the season to go far in the playoffs. Win.
The playoff started off with a bang as Marshawn Lynch went into Beast Mode giving the Seahawks and their earthquake of a fan base the most exciting run in playoff history. Unfortunately for them, the fell short the week after to an even worse team, the Chicago Bears. I still don’t know how the Bears made the playoffs let alone got the seed they did. But eventually their true character and leadership shown through with Jay Cutler giving up in the NFC ship. This image says it all…
With the Super Bowl XLV contenders in place it seemed like it was going to be a game for the ages. The two most historic franchises playing on the biggest stage had the pieces in place to be one of the best Super Bowls of all time. Aaron Rodgers and his accuracy coupled with the defense led by Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews did what needed to be done to bring the Lomardi trophy back to where it came from.
In my opinion the Steelers are the best franchise in NFL history and with 6 rings, they took falling short of 7 completely in stride. They are class acts from ownership to coaching to turning around the life of their franchise quarterback. They embody discipline and defense and that is how they have done it over the years and unfortunately for them, this year they just couldn’t seal the deal.
Now that the dust has settled on the last season, headlines lead towards the pending collective bargaining agreement. Long-story short, the owners want to eliminate two pre-season games and and add on two regular season games bringing the total to 18, al while cutting pay. This may seem like simple math and that nothing is really changing but it is obviously not.
Preseason games and regular season games are completely different. Not only is there no intensity, but the competition levels are down, and that is due to the fact that most starters don’t play more than half of the time. And when they are in it looks like there is 22 Randy Mosses on the field because everyone is taking plays off. Even with the NFL being the most popular thing in America, I actually err on the side that salaries should be cut with a few exceptions.
I think the guaranteed money for high draft picks is ridiculous and signing bonuses are unheard of throughout sports but that’s just me. Just one second, let me get down off of my soapbox, ok got it. I’m fine with cutting pay as the owner’s operating expenses increase, however, I am not for decreasing pay while increasing play. I think by adding 2 games you decrease the value of play with more potential for serious injuries and the cumalitive small injuries that most players play with every week.
Ultimately both sides want to get a deal done. It is only harmful to both parties not to have a deal in place prior to the start of the 2011 season. I don’t think it will be pretty but I do think it will get done. I don’t think it will get done by March 3, when the agreement is up as both sides keep canceling meetings. With the draft ready to take place, whether there is an agreement or not, I would suspect a deal would be in place around mid to late April because I think both sides are bluffing and both sides need to play.