Love Like Winter: Ten Reasons the 2010 NFL Season Was Phenomenal
Good vs. Evil.
It, along with romance, is the oldest plot line known to mankind. And sometimes, we get to see these battles unfold on the gridiron.
We were fortunate enough to have seen that at Super Bowl XLV.
The Green Bay Packers vs the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger, and his numerous "offenses," taking on Aaron Rodgers, looking for vindication against the 23 teams that passed on him in the 2005 NFL Draft.
The NFL's oldest, most loyal fan base against possibly the NFL's most hated fan base.
A team full of young upstarts against the guys who have been there before.
Packer linebacker Clay Matthews, the guy who has overcome many obstacles just to get into the NFL, against Steeler linebacker James Harrison, known throughout the league as its dirtiest player.
And this was just the last game of the season. In what may possibly be the last NFL season we see for quite some time, nothing disappointed.
Drama, intrigue, tight games, upsets, collapsing stadiums and foot fetish videos were just a few of the things we can bring from this season...if you want to.
So read on to find 10 reasons this NFL season was one to remember.
Reason 10: Lack of T.Ocho Soundbites
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From the moment Cincinnati found Chad Ochocinco a new receiving mate in Terrell Owens, everyone figured we were going to be subjected to a ton of "creative" celebrations and many nonsensical nicknames.
However, after a Week 4 loss to Cleveland, the talking became a relative whisper as the Bengals stumbled to a 4-12 mark.
But if you were a fan of the banter, you could watch their uh..."talk show" on Versus. Yes, they had their own talk show, complete with a cute name, The T.Ocho Show.
It's looking highly unlikely "Batman & Robin" will both return to the Bengals for 2011.
Reason 9: Washington, Oakland and the Battle for Most Dysfunctional NFL Team
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Year in and year out, we expect hijinks from the Oakland Raiders and their owner, the Cryptkeeper, Al Davis.
2010 did not disappoint as Davis inexplicably fired coach Tom Cable after he miraculously lead the Raiders to an 8-8 record. And now, the Raiders are set to lose their franchise cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha due to a conrtact loophole.
Good luck to the new coach, Hue Jackson.
The Washington Redskins have apparently been looking to dethrone the Raiders as the league's most dysfunctional franchise for many years now.
This year, they definitely narrowed the margin between the two.
For starters, the Redskins acquired quarterback Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles. They found their franchise quarterback!
Until, it became apparent McNabb had little to no interest in playing for the team and was subsequently benched by overly-tan coach Mike Shanahan in favor of Rex Grossman.
Rex Grossman. Rex Grossman.
Reason 8: The Emergence Of Youth at Quarterback
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There is a massive changing of the guard at the quarterback position.
Yes, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning still reign supreme. However, there is a new wave of hungry, young quarterbacks breathing down their necks.
Matt Ryan, Josh Freeman, Joe Flacco and rookie Sam Bradford have seemingly overtaken Eli Manning, Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre and others.
The exciting part? Many believe the four aforementioned quarterbacks haven't even reached their full potential.
For further evidence, look at the record of the Falcons, Buccaneers, Rams and Ravens: a combined 39-23 with all but Bradford's Rams making the playoffs.
Reason 7: The Collapse of the Dallas Cowboys
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Since their inception, Dallas has always been hated or loved. There is no gray area. So, when they collapse, it's always among the biggest stories in sports.
Owner Jerry Jones always seems to have his Cowboys in the midst of talks regarding who will be playing for the Super Bowl. And they always seem to let everyone down.
This year was no different.
Starting with an opening week loss to the lowly Washington Redskins, things continually got worse. Tony Romo missed the team's final 10 games, effectively ending any shot at the team boasting home-field advantage in Super Bowl XLV.
As usual, Dallas will be mentioned among contenders to the NFC crown, thanks in large part to new coach Jason Garrett and Romo returning from his injury.
Reason 6: The Mastery of Tom Brady
Look at the photo above. It's as if Tom Brady is demanding his many haters to stop what they're doing, and watch a true master hone his craft.
And 2010 may have been Brady's most masterful year yet, which is saying a lot, considering he owns the league records for single-season touchdown passes and quarterback rating.
From a purely statistical perspective, it was off the charts.
36 touchdowns to just four interceptions, which broke his own previous NFL-record 9:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. A league-high quarterback rating of 111.0. Plus, he led the New England Patriots to a NFL-best 14-2 record.
Then you factor in his pathetic supporting cast, it gets that much more impressive.
Deion Branch, a banged-up Wes Welker, Brandon Tate and rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski were among his receiving corps.
His backfield wasn't much better with Danny Woodhead and BenJarvis Green-Ellis.
Oh yeah, he also goes home to Gisele Bundchen.
Once again, we salute you, Mr. Brady.
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Reason 3: A Season of Great Rivalries
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Rivalries are the lifeblood of any sport, especially the NFL.
New York Jets vs New England Patriots. Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers. Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers.
These three rivalries are among the best in sports, and we got to see some epic battles among these three rivalries this year.
Whats best about this year in particular is we got to see a trilogy of Ravens-Steelers, a trilogy of Bears-Packers and a trilogy of Jets-Patriots. And the third game in each was an elimination scenario in the playoffs. And all three were phenomenal.
You really cannot ask for anything more.
Reason 2: The Comeback
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That name tends to send people into a frenzy.
Vick found himself back into the NFL last year with the Philadelphia Eagles, sitting most of the games on the bench while getting himself back into game-ready shape.
Then after franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb was traded away, Vick was only sitting behind Kevin Kolb on the depth chart.
This didn't last long, however.
Vick shattered his previous career bests with a 62.6 completion percentage and a 100.2 QB rating, all while leading his Eagles to the NFC East title with a 10-6 record.
It's fair to say Vick is back and better than ever. For the rest of the NFL, it's a scary thought.
Reason 1: Super Bowl XLV
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The Super Bowl should be the biggest event in sports year in and year out. And recently, none of them have disappointed.
Super Bowl XLV was no different.
Aaron Rodgers finally "arrived" and firmly planted himself among the game's truly elite. Clay Matthews proved on the sports biggest stage that he deserved more recognition as the game's best defensive player.
Charles Woodson at last got his hands on the trophy he's been longing for. The Vince Lombardi Trophy made it's way back to the town where it belongs.
The NFL's second youngest team in the Green Bay Packers look to be around for quite some time.