It seemed like there was a different number 1 or number 2 team every single week, which made for the most exciting and dynamic season there has ever been. Being a Kansas Jayhawks fan, I generally don't have much to cheer about until basketball season, but this year saw the very surprising KU squad get within 9 points of the number 1 ranking going into the last week of the regular season, and they get to play in a BCS Bowl in January. Nobody predicted it - not even close - but it was a lot of fun to watch in this most unusual year. Equally exciting was to see another Big XII team get a BCS Bowl. I'm certainly not a Mizzou fan, but I always enjoy seeing the Big XII on top.
As if the NCAA season wasn't exciting enough, this NFL season has been a great a deal of fun to watch as well. First of all, the Bears returned to their pathetic form and played well only three times this season (their recent loss to the Vikings was probably their best game of the year). While some Bears fans are talking trash about their sweep of the mighty Pack this year, it should be noted that the first game was an absolute gift (anybody who isn't a brain-damaged Bears fan will agree ;) ) and the second game was all about the Packers absolutely pathetic special teams play and Favre's horrendous 3rd quarter. Orton looked OK, but the dude had nothing to lose. Chicago still doesn't have a QB that's capable of winning more than 2 consecutive games, so expect the next two seasons to look a lot like this one for duh bears.
More impressive than the Bears return to form this season was the resurgence of the Pack as one of the premier teams in the league. They went to Dallas with four key starters watching from the sidelines and still managed to stay in the ballgame against a team that was touted as being head-and-shoulders above the rest of the NFC. Look for this young, talented team to be one of the top-tier teams in the NFL for the next 4 or 5 years.
Speaking of top-tier teams, the New England Patriots have been nothing short of amazing this season. Forget about "spygate"...these guys are absolutely incredible and seem to be about three steps of everybody else in the NFL. They will go down in history as one of the best single season teams ever and will break nearly every single-season team and individual record there is to break this season. If they manage to continue this impressive run and win the Super Bowl they will no doubt be ranked as the best single-season team in history knocking off both the '72 Dolphins and the '85 Bears claim to that title. I've never been a Pat's fan, and I'm still not, but watching them play this year has been a real treat.
The other great streak that's been fun to watch in the NFL this year was the hapless Miami Dolphins. I think their better than at least 3 other teams out there (Jets, Falcons, and Chiefs - although the Lions, Bears, Cards and Niners also come to mind), but they just couldn't win games this year. I was really hoping to see them go winless just for the opportunity to see both perfection and the exact opposite happen during the same season!
Now, all that being said, I'm going to make a bold prediction regarding the playoffs and Super Bowl. I think the Redskins will beat Dallas this week and make the playoffs as the hottest team playing in the NFC right now. They will win their first playoff game and then pull off an upset in Dallas (the Cowboys are getting a little worse each week it seems) to get into the NFC Championship game against Green Bay. If the weather is lousy, I think we'll see the Redskins in the Super Bowl against......Indianapolis. Yep, Indi. As much as I want to see New England finish off the perfect season (unless they play the Pack in the Super Bowl), I think that Indi is going to pull off the upset and repeat as Super Bowl champs over the winner of the Green Bay/Washington game.
Either that, or New England will stomp Dallas in the big game (how's that for waffling?).
By the way, another great memory from this year was the fact that my wife and I were able to go to our first NFL game this season. We went to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and watched the Packers win one of their 13 games. It was a great time and the Chiefs fans we were sitting near were a lot of fun. The picture to the right was taken right after the Chiefs fans began to exit en masse and the one to the left was taken as the Pack began their last key defensive stand that resulted in a interception return for a TD.