Whether it's right or wrong, fair or unfair, surprises and disappointments have everything to do with expectations.
Teams and players coming off an unimpressive season tend to fly under the radar at the beginning of a new season. On the other hand, those who have enjoyed success tend to grab headlines and lofty expectations once a new season begins.
And through the first half of the 2012 season, many teams and players have been incredibly disappointing.
The NFC West—most notably its elite defenses—has been one of the most pleasant surprises of 2012. However, the NFC East has produced two teams—Dallas and Philadelphia—that have fallen well short of expectations through eight weeks.
There is a wide variety of talent among the current NFL MVP candidates. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks like a solid bet to repeat as the league MVP, but Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is currently enjoying the best season of his career and his team remains unbeaten.
If it's not Rodgers or Ryan, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning could be a candidate to win his fifth MVP award this season. Manning is perhaps the best story through eight weeks of the season, having thrown 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
Manning has long been among the league's best quarterbacks, but coming into the season, many players looked at 2012 as yet another step in their rise to the NFL's elite.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton enjoyed one of the most impressive rookie seasons in NFL history, causing many football enthusiasts to expect a dramatic rise in production this season. However, Newton's fallen flat through seven games this season.
Let's take a look at the five most disappointing players of the 2012 season.