Who Do You Think You Are? A Superstar? NFL Early Season Surprises
Just before opening kickoff of every NFL season, fans prognosticate while offering reasons behind it.
There are always teams and individual players who turn these theories into mush with stellar play.
Not all is completely unexpected, but the levels of achievement surprise the masses because of their levels.
Here is a short list of the most pleasant surprises of the very young 2010 season.
The UNDEFEATED Pittsburgh Steelers
When starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for four games to start out the season, most everyone expected losses. Steeler fans hoped the team would at least break even before their Pro Bowl quarterback returned.
As usual, the Steelers were prepared.
They almost broke camp with three quarterbacks capable of starting when one went down because of injury. Another fell in the second week of the season.
Charlie Batch has two rings with Pittsburgh and is again riding to the rescue. He might be more fragile than fine china, but Batch only has to hang in there one more game before the team has a bye and Roethlisberger returns.
The real reason is the old reason to their success.
Coach Dad is Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau, the defensive wizard. He rallied the troops and they are destroying opponents, giving up just 11 points per game.
They already have 10 sacks, five interceptions, eight fumble recoveries, and a touchdown in only three games.
What can they do for an encore?
The UNDEFEATED Chicago Bears
It wasn't all that long ago Mike Martz turned a grocery store clerk into a Super Bowl champion and probable Hall of Fame quarterback.
Now he is helping Jay Cutler, who the Bears have mortgaged their near future on.
This time last year, Cutler's first in Chicago, they only had one loss but Cutler had tossed five interceptions against six touchdowns.
He has six touchdowns again this year, but has only thrown two interceptions.
With a veteran defense like the Bears, it is important the offense keep this unit off the field to minimize fatigue and injury. Cutler is doing that and more.
If this continues, Chicago could very well be looking at a playoffs berth.
You can still say Vick is fresh out of jail and still is a lightening rod of controversy and excitement.
He hadn't started a game since 2006 when Philadelphia called on him to replace Kevin Kolb, the man who was supposed to replace Eagles legend Donovan McNabb this year.
He responded by playing the best quarterback of his career thus far, currently averaging a career-best 60.7 completion percentage. He has also tossed six touchdowns and no interceptions.
Vick was known as a runner who played quarterback before his incarceration, and he hasn't lost a thing in his running ability. He is leading the NFL with a 7.4 yards per carry average. If he holds onto this lead, it will be the fifth time in his eight years he has done this.
He won't be facing upper echelon defenses for quite awhile, so you may be witnessing a man ready to return to the Pro Bowl and playoffs.
Foster made the Houston Texans roster last year as an undrafted rookie and spent time on their practice squad. He got in on six games, averaging an impressive 4.8 yards per carry on 54 attempts.
Seeing the opportunity to be the man, he changed jersey numbers and has exploded on the NFL by leading the league with 406 rushing yards, 502 yards from scrimmage, and an average of 135.3 rushing yards per game.
He is doing this with an amazing 5.9 yards per carry average.
Though Houston lost last week, Foster still gained 106 yards on 17 carries along with four catches.
Longevity, durability, and consistency are keys for an NFL running back, so watching Foster all year will be interesting.
Yet no one can deny what he has provided so far.
The UNDEFEATED Kansas City Chiefs
No one, not even the Chiefs themselves, could have seen this coming.
Defense is king in KC, giving up just 12.7 points per game.
The offense has been running the ball well with Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, but the passing game has mostly been inconsistent except for rookie tight end Tony Moeaki.
Moeaki, a third-round pick, leads the team with 12 receptions and two scores.
While fans may expect the Cinderella start to end in Indianapolis and Houston the next two weeks, the rest of their schedule is filled with very winnable games.
With a stout defense, effective ground game, and electric special teams unit, Kansas City has put together a formula that could win its division.
Especially if Matt Cassell starts playing better at quarterback.
Return Of The Mack
When the New York Jets fell one game short of the Super Bowl last year, many thought it an anomaly.
Led by an ultra-aggressive head coach in Rex Ryan, he has built a team through gambling in the draft, free agency, trades, and on defense.
Ryan then furthered his image of brash bravado by clowning it up in front of cameras constantly, and made HBO's Hard Knocks show a lot more fun to watch.
Ryan knows how to win, as shown by the Super Bowl ring on his finger, which he earned as defensive line coach with the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. His gambles are all paying off too.
After a slow start to their 2010 season that was preceded by an underwhelming preseason, the Jets have won two games against solid teams and are big time players in the NFL scene again.
Though they have about eight difficult games ahead on their schedule, the Big Apple is buzzing with anticipation of the possibilities that all start with the head man, who is the son of the legendary Buddy Ryan.
Things could come full circle for both the Jets and Ryan's. Buddy helped them win their only Super Bowl in 1969 as a linebackers coach. Rex would love to follow in his father's footsteps in this regard.
The Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans have lost just once so far.
Seattle's offense has been pretty horrible so far. Their leading rusher, Justin Forsett, has only 150 yards and no other player behind him has over 30.
Matt Hasselbeck has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, while tossing the ball to castoffs like Mike Williams. The defense is mediocre, ranked 14th in points allowed.
But Pete Carroll, their new head coach, knows how to win. He has done a decent job at all of his stops. It seems unfathomable the Seahawks keep it up, but it has been fun so far.
Tennessee is -2 in the giveaway/ takeaway category, and their quarterback play has been erratic.
But head coach Jeff Fisher, the longest tenured head coach in the NFL, just knows how to get his teams to win.
It helps having Pro Bowl running back Chris Johnson going practically crazy every Sunday.
There are more surprises, even in the negative. But these are a few of the positive ones.
Add your own to the story.