Friday, December 28, 2007

I hate seeing football season end...

I don't generally talk about sports here, but with football season drawing to a close, my mind is going back to the year that was. All in all, I've enjoyed this season of football (both NFL and NCAA) more than any other I can think of off the top of my head (although the Packers last Super Bowl season was fairly memorable...). First off, let's look at the college game this year.

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.


Jim Peet said...

My feeble Superbowl prediction:

New England represents the AFC: can't see anyone stopping them.

Dallas will lose along the way (perhaps the Pack will beat them at home in the NFC championship game) and the Pack will represent the NFC.

Superbowl matchup: New England and Green Bay.

My hope is that Brett and gang will beat N.E. in the big game.

Nice picture of you and your wife in the posting.


Ellis Murphree said...

That's the Super Bowl I'd like to see and the end result I'd like...we'll see.

I've got to make one correction to this article: Mizzou isn't in a BCS Bowl...Oklahoma is the other Big XII team that drew a BCS bid. Kansas' selection over Mizzou drew a lot of criticism and hard feeling from the Mizzou fans, so I don't want any of those Tiger fans who might read this blog to think I was poking fun at them.......that's kind of a funny statement now that I think about it.....A Missouri fan actually being able to read?!?!? :)

Aaron said...

Very interesting post! I must say I agree with most of your observations. For certain, I'd agree that the year in NCAA football was the most exciting anyone has ever seen. Honestly, I strongly disagree with the choice of Ohio State in the national championship (and no, that's not because I utterly abhor that team, being a Wisconsin fan). I feel it entirely unjust that Georgia, Virginia Tech or Hawaii didn't get into that game (even though Hawaii would most likely lose to LSU, they certainly made a case for being a great team by having a PERFECT season).

In regard to the NFL, I'd agree that this season turned out to be far more exciting than anticipated. Clearly, the biggest reason for this is the completely unexpected 13-3 season for the Green Bay Packers - NO ONE was calling for this. Favre had arguably the best year of his career, and the Packers played well in all aspects of the game. Of course, the two losses to the Bears cast a bit of a shadow on the season - though, I'd agree with you: the first game was a gift, the Packers played way better than the Bears all game, but blew it when it counted and actually lost; the second game was a joke because of the playing conditions, and most of their mistakes came on special teams.

As far as your predictions are concerned, I believe it most likely that the Packers will be playing Dallas in the NFC championship game. I think that the Packers could easily beat Dallas, since it was so close last time (they were resting their starters, refs made some awful calls in favor of the Cowboys). I do think the Redskins have a chance to win the Divisional playoff game, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Also, as much as it seems inevitable that the Patriots will be going to the Super Bowl, I personally think Indianapolis is more than capable of pulling off an upset. Especially when you see how close New England came to losing those two games this year. Indianapolis is the most underrated team in the NFL this year - it seems like everyone is ignoring them because of the amazing Patriots.

So, those are my comments, wordy as they are. Congrats on being able to go to your first Packers game (what a game too, eh?)! Go Pack!

Anonymous said...

So what, football sucks no matter what you rant about.

Ellis Murphree said...

You must be a Bears fan....