50 Reasons for NFL Fans to Already Be Excited for 2012 Season

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIMarch 8, 2012

50 Reasons for NFL Fans to Already Be Excited for 2012 Season

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    Believe it or not, it's been just only a little over a month since the New York Giants were crowned Super Bowl champions, and now it's time to focus in on the 2012 season.

    Taking a look back, the 2011 season was quite entertaining—especially considering the effects of the locked out offseason in the summer. However, everything seemed to work out and we had one of the best seasons of football in recent memory.

    With that being said, let's take a look at 50 reasons why fans should be excited for the 2012 NFL season. 

Andrew Luck Is the Most Hyped Quarterback Ever

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    Whether you like Andrew Luck or not, you can't deny the hype that's surrounding this kid. 

    Luck is one of the most NFL-ready quarterbacks that we have ever seen enter the NFL draft and should be quite the future replacement of Peyton Manning for the Indianapolis Colts. 

Robert Griffin III Is the Most Athletic Quarterback in Recent Memory

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    Aside from Michael Vick, Robert Griffin III is one of the most athletic players we have ever seen to play the quarterback position.

    Wherever RG3 may land, we'll simply have to wait and see if he can take his game to a whole new level in the NFL after playing in the spread offense for three seasons with Baylor. 

Trent Richardson Is a Monster

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    When you look at last year's draft for running backs, the best available was Mark Ingram—and he didn't have that great of a rookie season.

    However, this season it's a different story, as Alabama's Trent Richardson could very well be the next elite running back in the NFL given that he's such an elusive and powerful runner. 

Matt Kalil Is as NFL-Ready as You Can Be

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    By just looking at Matt Kalil, you can tell that he's ready to be plugged in as a team's starting left tackle.

    However, by watching Kalil's game film and watching him work out at the NFL scouting combine, you immediately jump to the conclusion that he's going to be one incredible left tackle—and we'll just have to wait and find out. 

Justin Blackmon Could Be the Next Elite Wide Receiver

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    Whichever team lands Justin Blackmon, they're simply going to be acquiring their No. 1 wide receiver for many years to come.

    In last year's draft, we had two top-notch wide receivers in A.J. Green and Julio Jones, and now this year we have one big standout in Blackmon—and he appears to be the real deal. 

Morris Claiborne Should Emerge as a Shutdown Cornerback

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    Whichever team drafts Morris Claiborne is going to get one of the most athletic defensive backs that I have ever seen who not only has the capability of being a shutdown cornerback but has the potential to be a playmaker. 

    Claiborne is simply one of the best, well-rounded corners that I have ever seen enter the NFL draft. 

Dontari Poe Is a Freak of Nature

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    Did you happen to see Dontari Poe's performance at the NFL scouting combine? It was one of the most freakish things that I have ever seen.

    Poe may be 6'3" and 346 pounds, but he is still incredibly athletic, as he ran a solid 4.87 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds a whopping 44 times. 

Ray Rice Is Back and Ready to Go with the Baltimore Ravens

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    It's official: Ray Rice will be back in 2012 with the Baltimore Ravens, as the team used their franchise tag on him.

    This is very good news for the Ravens, as he's one of the NFL's most dominant running backs and should have yet another stellar season in 2012. 

This Could Be Ray Lewis' and Ed Reed's Last Shot at a Super Bowl

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    The time is starting to run out for Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and the Baltimore Ravens, as they need to make a Super Bowl run sooner rather than later.

    The Ravens made it all the way to the AFC Championship this past season but simply couldn't advance to Super Bowl XLVI. 

Andy Dalton and A.J. Green Are Only Going to Get Better

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    Be on the lookout for this duo for many years to come, as they're talented enough to be a very dominant offensive force.

    Andy Dalton and A.J. Green connected for 1,057 yards on 65 receptions and a solid seven touchdowns—not bad for rookies, right?

    Well, they're only going to get better. 

The Cleveland Browns Could End Up with Robert Griffin III

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    Wherever Robert Griffin III may go, he's going to be one amazing player to watch; however, I feel like he is going to wind up with the Cleveland Browns.

    Why? Because they have two first-round picks, and that should be enough to trade up to No. 2 overall and switch with the St. Louis Rams. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers' Wide Receiver Corp Is Going to Be That Much Better

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    Assuming that Mike Wallace is going to be back in 2012, the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver is going to be lights out.

    The Steelers will have the likes of Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, which will make up one of the most explosive wide receiving corps in the NFL today. 

The Chicago Bears Are in Place to Land a Top Wide Receiver

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    This is something that Chicago Bears fans have been dreaming about: landing a big name wide receiver.

    Well, they should be players to do so this offseason.

    The Bears could very well end up with either Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston or even draft a guy like Michael Floyd. 

Matthew Stafford Is on the Verge of Being an Elite Quarterback

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    I'm not sure people realize how amazing Matthew Stafford was this past season. He posted a 97.2 quarterback rating while tossing 41 touchdowns and compiling a whopping 5,038 yards. 

    Stafford is still really young and is only going to get better.

Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson Are Unstoppable

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    Well, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson aren't literally unstoppable, but last season they proved to be one of the best quarterback-to-wide receiver tandems.

    Detroit Lions fans should be super excited for this upcoming season. 

The Detroit Lions Could Make a Run at the Super Bowl

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    The Detroit Lions finally made the playoffs for the first time since 1999 and are only going to get better.

    The Lions went 10-6 last season, and if they add a few more pieces this offseason, then they could very well make a deep playoff run in 2012. 

The Green Bay Packers Are Going to Dominate

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    Aside from the Green Bay Packers' pitiful playoff loss against the New York Giants, they're primed to have yet another successful season.

    Green Bay may not go 15-1 this season, but they have essentially the same group of talent and will be just as dominant. 

Christian Ponder Will Take Another Step Forward

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    If all goes well in 2012, Christian Ponder should take another step forward in his development.

    Ponder played very well in 2011, as he threw for 13 touchdowns while posting a 70.1 quarterback rating. And he should certainly improve on those numbers this season. 

The Houston Texans Are an Elite Team

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    The Houston Texans will likely have the same roster heading into 2012 and should be just as good as they were a year ago—and likely better if they don't suffer as many injuries as they did this past season.

    Houston made the playoffs for the first time ever last season and should plan on building on that mark this year. 

Arian Foster Will Be Back with the Houston Texans

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    Arian Foster is not only going to be back for 2012, but he's going to be back for a very long time—that is until 2016, to be exact.

    Foster is one of the NFL's elite running backs and should continue to dominate for the Houston Texans for many years to come. 

Andrew Luck Is the Future for the Indianapolis Colts

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    It will be a turning of the page for the Indianapolis Colts as they move on from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck.

    This may be somewhat depressing, but it's certainly going to be exciting for the NFL. 

Where Will Peyton Manning End Up?

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    All I know is that it isn't going to be with the Indianapolis Colts.

    Where do you think Peyton Manning will play in 2012? Miami, Arizona, New York or even Washington? 

Another Step in Blaine Gabbert's Development

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    Many of you probably don't believe in Blaine Gabbert right now—and I'm one of them.

    However, 2012 is going to be a huge turning point in the development of Gabbert, as he's going to have a lot to prove to the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Jake Locker Could Start in 2012

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    This is something that a lot of people would love to see, especially fans of the Tennessee Titans.

    I would love to see Jake Locker get the chance to start in 2012, as I truly believe that he'd flourish and prove that he has what it takes to be a great player. 

Chris Johnson Will Look to Redeem Himself

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    Chris Johnson had a rather disappointing season in 2011 with the Tennessee Titans, as he ran for just 1,047 yards in 16 games while scoring four touchdowns.

    If CJ2K wants to prove that's still the best running back in the game, then he's going to have a lot to prove in 2012. 

Julio Jones Is Only Going to Get Better

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    Julio Jones had one of the most memorable rookie seasons that I have ever seen, as he shredded opposing defenses.

    Jones caught 54 passes for 949 yards and eight touchdowns while playing in just 13 games—and he's simply only going to get that much better. 

Cam Newton...Enough Said

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    Cam Newton...he's the most exciting quarterback in the NFL today. 

    Do I really need to say much more? 

The Carolina Panthers Aren't That Far off from Being a Contender

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    Before we know it, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers will be playing in the playoffs.

    Could it happen this year? Well, if Newton continues to develop and Carolina continues to surround him with talent, then there's certainly a chance. 

Drew Brees Is Back with the New Orleans Saints

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    Drew Brees might not be that happy about being franchised, but he'll be back for yet another season with the New Orleans Saints.

    Brees is one of the best quarterbacks of our generation and is simply what makes the New Orleans franchise so great. 

How Will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bounce Back in 2012?

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    Josh Freeman and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were absolutely embarrassing under Raheem Morris in 2011, as they posted a 4-12 record.

    The Bucs are very talented but are still extremely young—we'll just have to wait and see how well they play under first-year head coach Greg Schiano. 

Greg Schiano's First Season in the NFL

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    Greg Schiano ran a very successful program while with Rutgers, but now it's time to see how successful he'll be at the NFL level with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    This is something that Bucs fans should be very excited about. 

Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller

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    Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are two of the most dynamic and exciting running back tandems that the NFL has to offer.

    If the two of them can stay healthy, then they're going to put up a lot of points for the Buffalo Bills in 2012. 

Who Will Play Quarterback for the Miami Dolphins?

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    Could it be Peyton Manning? Who knows.

    All I know is that the Miami Dolphins are going to have a new quarterback in 2012, and it could be Peyton Manning or even Robert Griffin III. 

    Now that's something to look forward to. 

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick

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    Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. What else can I say?

    These two are primed to make yet another deep playoff run, and we'll just have to wait and see if they can combine to win their fifth Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. 

Wes Welker Will Be Back with the New England Patriots

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    Wes Welker may have been involved in one of the most infamous drops in NFL history, but you still can't deny that he's the NFL's best slot wide receiver.

    Welker was set to be a free agent this offseason, but the New England Patriots made the wise decision and used their franchise tag on him. 

Rex Ryan's Bold Predictions

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    I'm still waiting for one of Rex Ryan's bold Super Bowl predictions—and that is certainly something to look forward to. 

Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys Need to Win Now

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    If you ask me, the time to win is right now for the Dallas Cowboys.

    It's do or die time for Tony Romo.

    If Romo can't lead his Cowboys to the playoffs, then I'm sure Jerry Jones will have a very tough decision to make next offseason. 

The New York Giants Will Look to Make Another Super Bowl Run

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    2012 will be the season for the New York Giants to defend their Super Bowl XLVI title—how is that something that you can't look forward to if you're a Giants fan? 

Eli Manning Is an Elite Quarterback

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    There's no doubt in my mind.

    Eli Manning is an elite quarterback.

    You can't spell "elite" without "Eli." 

How Will the Dream Team Do in 2012?

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    Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles have reached the end of the line.

    If the Dream Team doesn't produce in 2012, then I'm sure that there's going to be a ton of personnel changes this offseason. 

Who Will Play Quarterback for the Washington Redskins?

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    There's no doubt about this one: The Washington Redskins desperately need a quarterback. 

    I'm sure that the Redskins will try to make a play for Robert Griffin III, but if that fails, what will they do? Will they shoot for Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn? I think so. 

Tebow Time

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    It's Tebow Time—and it's going to continue in 2012!

    I'm sure half of you are probably pretty sick of Tebow Time, but the other half are pretty psyched—including myself. 

....Tim Tebow

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    And I figured Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos deserved another slide because of how epic their 2011 season was.

    Now with Tebow as the quarterback of the future, we'll simply have to wait and see if he's actually capable of being an NFL-starting quarterback for years to come.

Jamaal Charles Will Be Healthy in 2012

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    Jamaal Charles was only able to play in two games last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, as he tore his ACL in the second game of the season.

    Charles was averaging 6.9 yards per carry and Chiefs fans need to be extremely excited for his presence this upcoming season. 

The Oakland Raiders Have a New Look

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    The Oakland Raiders do have a talented roster but have been underachieving the last few seasons.

    However, with the new hires of head coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie, this could mean a very bright future for the Raiders—and that's something to look forward to. 

The San Diego Chargers Can Still Win the AFC West

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    Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers had a rather shaky season in 2011 but managed to finish strong, as they posted an 8-8 record.

    The Chargers are simply too talented to be winning only eight games and should do much better in 2012 if everyone can stay healthy. 

Peyton Manning Could Be an Arizona Cardinal

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    Now that the Peyton Manning era is officially over in Indianapolis, the future Hall of Fame quarterback could find himself with the Arizona Cardinals—how incredible would that be? 

    Manning throwing passes to Larry Fitzgerald could possibly be one of the most lethal combinations that we have ever seen in the NFL. 

...And Peyton Manning Could End Up with the San Francisco 49ers

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    To continue on from my last slide, Peyton Manning could also end up with the San Francisco 49ers.

    Now imagine that, granted they may have Alex Smith, but the 49ers could very well be unstoppable in 2012 with Manning at quarterback, as they already have such a dominant defense. 

    It seems too good to be true. 

The Emergence of Marshawn Lynch

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    Marshawn Lynch is going to be a Seattle Seahawk for a very long time, as he just agreed to a four-year, $31 million deal.

    Lynch is now one of the better running backs in the NFL, as he ran for a stellar 1,204 yards while punching in 12 touchdowns.

    Lynch is certainly someone that Seattle can build their offense around. 

Jeff Fisher Is Now with the St. Louis Rams

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    The St. Louis Rams may not be a competitive football team in 2012, but they do have a bright future—especially under newly hired head coach Jeff Fisher.

    Fisher brings a 142-120 career record as a head coach to St. Louis, and that is something that all Rams should be looking forward to. He is a proven winner.