Well it finally happened.
Twenty-four years of peace and harmony, but in the end, greed overtook our sport yet again, and we as the fans have to take the butt of it. Of course, in the owners' defense, it must be so very hard to divide $9 billion dollars, right?
All my bitterness aside, I thought I would publish this article regardless. Here are the top 10 disappointments of the last NFL season of which we'll able to speak (at least for now).
This past season was all-or-nothing for the Minnesota Vikings, and it turned into nothing.
To be honest, I feel a little bad for Minnesota fans—could anything else have gone wrong for them this season?
Brad Childress was fired, Brett Favre was injured and their stadium collapsed. If there really are football gods, the Vikings did something to tick them off; maybe it was that personal chauffeur job that Childress did at the beginning of the season.
Regardless of the reason, the Vikings find themselves in a difficult position, most likely starting with players abandoning ship during the offseason.
You've heard it a thousand times over—leadership starts from the top, and if there's any team in the NFL that appears to lack leadership at the top, it's the Miami Dolphins.
What was Steve Ross thinking traveling to the West Coast to talk with Jim Harbaugh about a coaching job that wasn't even open yet? Sure it sounded like a sweet deal, but it was a sweet deal from a team that had more problems than a 1989 Kia.
Of course now the millions may have to fly in the other direction, and I'm not convinced that that's enough to make Tony Sparano believe he's still wanted as the head coach of the Dolphins.
The San Francisco 49ers proved to be one of the biggest disappointments of this past season. They supposedly had the talent, opponents in their division were all the underdogs as most were rebuilding or looking for a new quarterback and Mike Singletary had made bold statements about the playoffs.
The end result? A very poor 6-10 record.
Now Singletary is gone and replaced by Jim Harbaugh, but there are still lingering questions as to who their starting quarterback will be next season. Although I don't see the NFC West improving greatly next year, I do believe we won't see another team with a losing record entering into the playoffs.
That leaves the 49ers with two options: improve greatly in the offseason or miss the playoffs again next year.
The Denver Broncos were a mess this year.
They faced problems both on and off the field, and now they have to have not one, not two, but three coaches on their payroll. Kyle Orton will most likely not be in Denver next year, which means Tim Tebow will be starting under center.
Now I'm not on the bandwagon for Tebow, but I did see the final game of the Broncos' season this year, and there is one thing he does bring to the team that appeared to be lacking earlier on—energy.
The question is, can that energy result in an improved record from 4-12? Probably.
Can it result in a winning season next year? Possibly.
Can it result in a playoff run? I'm going to say no.
On a side note, I think the addition of Elway to the coaching staff is going to benefit Denver, but not as much as Broncos fans hope.
Before their bye week, the Houston Texans appeared to have a shot at challenging the Indianapolis Colts for AFC South supremacy.
Then came a losing streak that challenged any of the other terrible teams in the league, with only two wins coming after their bye week.
The question now is whether or not Matt Schaub can actually be a winning quarterback. In truth, I do believe he can find his way through to become a real threat in the AFC, but he'll need the weapons to do that.
The Texans need to look to the offseason to find those weapons.
Admit it, you knew they were going to be on this list.
Yes, the Cincinnati Bengals were another disappointment for this season. I just have to ask though, is it really true?
Did the Bengals really win their biggest game against the San Diego Chargers without Ochocinco and T.O.?
It goes against a lot of reason in my mind, but could it be that they're better without the drama duo?
Regardless, don't expect too much out of them in the near future.
I'm not going to knock Mike Shanahan in this, but I will say I think the edge he held when he coached Denver to two Super Bowl wins seems to have dulled since Elway took his leave from football.
There were so many games this season the Redskins should have won, but instead gave away in the second half. I don't know about you, but I wasn't impressed with Donovan McNabb's performance this season. Although they've stamped him with their franchise tag, I'm wondering how well he's going to perform in seasons to come.
Now the weight rests not only on Shanahan's shoulders, but also on whether or not McNabb can live up to his contract.
Dallas' season was rocky to say the least.
At the beginning of the season, there was real talk as to whether the Cowboys would be the first team in Super Bowl history to play the big game on their own turf. Then came the injury to Tony Romo, and their drive to the playoffs ended there.
They could certainly be a threat in the coming seasons, but there are still some shaky elements within the organization, and I believe those will show through, at least for the time being.
The San Diego Chargers did this season what they seem to do every season—make a last-minute charge toward the playoffs.
Except this year, they didn't manage to get in and choked as they've done in years' past.
What this past season did show us was that the AFC West is no longer dominated by San Diego, with Kansas City charging into the playoffs and the Raiders sweeping the Chargers for the season.
So where does that leave San Diego?
Well they certainly won't fall out of contention as long as Philip Rivers is under center, but for whatever reason, Rivers just isn't a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Next season, the Chargers will have to step up their game significantly in order to take back the division. They can be sure that Kansas City won't be putting on the brakes any time soon.
I can almost already see the comments at the bottom of this article.
The Indianapolis Colts struggled this season to get anything going, and it really came down to one thing—the sheer will of Peyton Manning.
Almost single-handedly, he managed to push his team into the playoffs above Jacksonville, only to lose to the Jets in the Wild Card round.
Now there are a lot of unanswered questions.
In my mind, the No. 1 question Jim Caldwell needs to ask of his team, is how is it the Colts have made it to the playoffs eight times, only to walk away with one Lombardi trophy.
From 2000-2010, the Colts were able to dominate their division, but were only able to convert one of those playoff runs into a Super Bowl win. This past season, the cracks in their armor were finally showing.
Now it's true, the Colts suffered serious injuries during the regular season that followed them into the playoffs, and it's true that they still hold one of the top two quarterbacks in the NFL.
But a record of eight playoff appearances to one Super Bowl win in the last 10 years is nothing to smile about. The Colts can expect the fight for the AFC South to continue to be harder and harder each season.
To be honest, I wasn't sure whether to put them on here or not.
Last season, they really showed they could perform as a team and win some meaningful games. There were even glimpses of their past glory. Tom Cable, despite his ogre-like appearance, seemed to have a real grasp on the team, and if nothing else, their sweeping of the Chargers sent a message.
Then there's Al Davis and his seriously questionable decision to fire Cable and replace him with Hue Jackson.
In Al's words, "The fire in Hue will set a flame that will burn for a long time in the hearts and minds of the Raider football team and the Raider Nation."
Really Al? Really??