50 Most Awesome NFL Images of 2011
As the old saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." But for this slideshow, it'll be under 100.
Football is a game of shattering collisions and superior athleticism. That combination certainly makes for some fascinating images.
There are many great ones to choose from, but we gave it our best shot. Here are the 50 best images over the course of the 2011 NFL season so far.
Upon the two sides agreeing on a deal to end the lockout in late July, Patriots owner Robert Kraft (who recently lost his wife) and Colts center Jeff Saturday embrace.
The NFL gets nearly all of America to watch their final game. Now, they're getting a bunch of viewers tuning in for the first game.
Fans at Lambeau Field cheer on their defending Super Bowl champs prior to their tilt with the New Orleans Saints.
Soak It in
Darius Butler treats the Bank of America Stadium field like a Slip 'N Slide during a soggy game between the Panthers and Jaguars in the rainforest known as Charlotte, NC.
I Whip My Hair
Things got pretty hairy (figuratively) for the Indianapolis Colts this season minus Peyton Manning. Phillip Wheeler made warm-ups hairy (literally) prior to a Week 2 meeting against the Cleveland Browns.
Wilfork's Newest Talent
Vince Wilfork has made the Pro Bowl three times due to his ability to cause disruption against an opposing offensive line.
Well, add snagging interceptions to his repertoire. The defensive tackle got his first pick against the Chargers. Just weeks later, he got another.
Dallas wide receiver Miles Austin levitates his way into the end zone to cap off a 25-yard touchdown connection from Tony Romo.
Talk to the Hand
Washington Redskins kick returner Brandon Banks executes a perfect stiff arm against the New York Jets. Unfortunately the team he plays for had little overall execution as the 'Skins are just 4-8.
Faces in the Crowd
There's no better touchdown celebration than the Lambeau Leap. Greg Jennings continues this Packers tradition after he scored in the season's opening game against New Orleans.
Kevin Kolb's first season in Arizona has been rocky at best, filled with injuries and poor performances. A hit like the one by Brian Orakpo in Week 2 may make him forget about it.
Standing as One
On the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Jets players and coaches joined members of the New York City police force and fire rescue in holding the American flag during an emotional opening ceremony.
Missed It by That Much
Pierre Garcon was within inches of a diving reception. The Colts, meanwhile, are a long way from success.
Jake Locker made the most of his opportunity. When Matt Hasselbeck left the Titans' Week 14 contest versus the Saints with an injury, the rookie from Washington played admirably (albeit in defeat).
He threw for 282 yards and accounted for two touchdowns. One of those came on an acrobatic maneuver in which he stretched the ball just inside the pylon.
Jermaine Gresham keeps his eyes (and hands) on the ball during a reception against the Steelers. Gresham's Bengals dropped the ball in both opportunities to beat Pittsburgh this season, which could ultimately cost them a playoff berth.
Free for All
The Chicago Bears offense has been relegated to gaining success by chance as much as by design. However, this bouncing ball eventually went the way of the Chiefs.
Leap of Faith
It was no risk for the Carolina Panthers to select Cam Newton as the No. 1 overall pick. The Heisman Trophy winner takes the aerial route around Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall.
Bathing in Glory
Jim Harbaugh made a big splash in his first year as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. The soon-to-be Coach of the Year clinched the NFC West title with a 26-0 win over St. Louis on Dec. 4.
Catch Him If You Can
It's not much easier to bring down Tim Tebow when your helmet's off. Jared Allen and the Vikings were done in by the Broncos in overtime.
Put a Stomp to It
The NFL's newest bad boy, Ndamukong Suh, had his worst moment on Thanksgiving Day. Detroit's prized defensive lineman stepped on the arm of Evan Dietrich-Smith. It resulted in an ejection and a two-game suspension.
Let's Be Blount
Tampa Bay running back LeGarrette Blount's 2011 season has been one of ups and downs in terms of his performance on the field. A "high" came at the expense of Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams.
It's a good thing this former basketball star at the University of Miami decided to play football. The Saints tight end has 80 receptions and eight touchdowns so far in 2011, making for just another weapon in New Orleans' high-powered offensive attack.
All for Naught
Brian Dawkins' defense couldn't stop Chiefs receiver Jon Baldwin from making an unreal catch of a long pass. One problem...it was called back due to a penalty.
Aaron Rodgers gets blindsided in San Diego. More times than not, it has been the opposing defense that felt the pain of Rodgers' presence on the field.
Either Shaun Suisham is bored waiting for his time to kick or he's been captured by Spiderman.
Kyle Boller threw three interceptions in one half during a 28-0 loss against Kansas City. One of those resulted in a 59-yard return to pay dirt by Chiefs safety Kendrick Lewis.
Alive and Kickin'
LaMarr Woodley jumps for joy following a sack in Arizona. The Steelers could be celebrating a trip to the postseason if they can rack up a few more victories.
Hats off to Vick
Michael Vick's return as the Eagles' starting quarterback ended up as an easy win, but didn't go without some excitement.
For a player that scrambles with the frequency of Vick, it's best that he has some protection for his melon.
Best Foot Forward
This isn't karate, Kellen.
The son of the Hall of Fame tight end tries to fend off Desmond Bishop with an unorthodox maneuver.
The Lions have built a reputation of being a team that lives on the edge. But Stephen Tulloch may have gone a bit too far when he imitated Tim Tebow's well-known way of prayer.
Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor prevents Anquan Boldin from making a catch with a nasty hit. Seattle went on to upset Baltimore, 22-17, on Nov. 13.
Bow to the Master
Giants fans are giving thanks to the amazing pass rushing skills of their defense. Justin Tuck hasn't had much contribution (due to injury), but he was able to celebrate following a sack against Green Bay.
Who's the Boss?
The Packers' Rob Francois short-circuited a potential hook-up between Carson Palmer and Kevin Boss. It wouldn't have mattered either way, as the Raiders were blown out of Green Bay.
Back with a Bang
After a two-year prison sentence, Plaxico Burress returned the NFL as a member of the New York Jets. Amid the raindrops at Metlife Stadium, Burress hauled in a TD pass in a preseason game versus Cincinnati.
Cam Newton has gone above and beyond what anyone anticipated for his rookie season. He passed Steve Grogan for the most rushing TDs by a quarterback in a single season in a recent meeting with Tampa Bay.
Up and over
Offense was hard to come by in the matchup between the Browns and Seahawks.
Defense and hitting was the name of the game. One of the best hits occurred when Seattle's Richard Sherman upended Cleveland tight end Evan Moore.
Many NFL fans can take their passion a bit too far. The good news is that it's not hard to figure out where his allegiance lies.
This shows how many people think the Indianapolis Colts can win a game in 2011.
Where There's Smoke...
A fire has burned inside safety Brian Dawkins for 16 pro seasons...and hasn't been diffused since his prime playing days in Philadelphia.
It's been rough for Caleb Hanie in his effort to take over as the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears. Richard Seymour made it a bit rougher.
Head's on Straight
Da'Norris Searcy may have his helmet on the wrong way, but he's doing the right thing by signing autographs for fans after practice during training camp.
Defense on Offense
Jay Cutler has had trouble avoiding sacks ever since he got to Chicago. Teammate J'Marcus Webb seems to be making it harder with an apparent tackle of the Bears QB.
Dwayne Bowe had things under control for the majority of the Chiefs' victory against Indianapolis. No. 82 logged seven receptions and a pair of TDs, including one in spectacular juggling fashion.
Bengals defensive back Adam Jones went the unconventional way to bring down Ravens wideout Torrey Smith.
Roddy White has had plenty to smile about lately. The Falcons receiver has scored three touchdowns since Nov. 27. What's more, his club has jumped into the playoff race.
More Than America's Team?
It's been said that Texas Stadium had a hole in the roof so that God could watch his favorite team play. From this photo, maybe the Almighty as an end zone view.
No Stopping Him
Terence Newman shouldn't feel bad. Nobody can cover Calvin Johnson.
The TD grab ultimately helped the Lions beat the Cowboys. Earlier in the game, Megatron made a scoring reception against three Dallas defenders.
In Your Face
Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis delivers a facial to Texans linebacker Brooks Reed. Houston now can see the playoffs, as they clinched a berth last Sunday.
Harbaugh vs. Schwartz
The most talked about postgame handshake in years came when Jim Schwartz took a dislike to Jim Harbaugh's exuberance following a victory. The two then jawed back and forth before having to be restrained by their own players.
From animosity to generosity. Jim embraces brother John after the Ravens defeated the 49ers on Thanksgiving evening in Baltimore.
Dolphins linebacker Cameron Wake rudely greets Oakland QB Carson Palmer during Miami's blowout victory.
In just a few short weeks, the Raiders went from the leaders of the AFC West in November to a fading pretender in December.
In Tebow They Trust
Tim Tebow has a moment to collect his thoughts before playing the Chicago Bears on Dec. 11. With seven wins in eight games, Bronco fans have had their prayers answered, too.