Taking a quick recap of the NFL Season, let me start with my pre-season picks. I hit on 8 of 12 playoff teams, missing on Baltimore, Dallas, and the 2 biggest surprises in the NFL, the Jets and Saints. I chose the Colts to beat the Giants in the Super Bowl. Considering that many had the Dolphins or Steelers versus the Panthers, I would put my pre-season picks up against any of the experts.
Here were a few of my specific thoughts going into the season.
I've never been a Culpepper fan and as crazy as it sounds, I think they would be just as good with Joey Harrington behind center. (clairvoyant?)
The Jets might be the worst team in the NFL. (well, maybe not so much)
The best division in the AFC, there is not much difference between the top 3 squads. It will be interesting to see how Jake Plummer plays knowing that the Broncos have their QB of the future (Cutler) waiting on the bench. The past 2 seasons, Drew Brees did well in the same situation and now we will see if Rivers can succeed. The 2 best running backs in the NFL, LT and Larry Johnson will keep both of their teams in the playoff chase. The Chiefs will be better on defense, with the addition of a healthy Ty Law and a head coach who understands ball control. Schottenheimer has struggled in the playoffs, but his teams can never be counted out in the regular season. The Raiders replaced one NFL failed coach, with another one, Art Shell.
(T)his is the year (Eli) Manning becomes the best QB in the division. (oops)
I think the loss of offensive coordinator Payton will cause problems. Bledsoe is no longer a quality signal caller. (not bad)
Considering that the Falcons new quarterback coach oversaw backup Matt Schaub at Virginia, he would be a better fit for the team than Vick. Yeah, you heard that right. Bad situation as how can you bench your star? (lingering problem)
At this point, Griese is a better QB than Grossman, so expect a QB controversy. (lingering problem)
While the Cards are being hyped, I have a hard time seeing how one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL is going to protect the most immobile QB, Kurt Warner. (nailed)
The Super Bowl turned out pretty much the way I thought it would, as the Colts were a far superior team. The only thing that kept the Bears in the game was the opening kickoff TD, which gave them a chance to play with the lead. The Colts exposed what I had been talking about for awhile, which is without Tommie Harris and Mike Brown, the Bears defense is no better than average.
When Bob Sanders is healthy, the only way to beat the Colts is to have a superior defense which plays the 3-4. The Patriots blew their chance against them, after getting up big. The best team in the NFL this season was the Chargers, but because of an incredibly dumb play by a defensive back who intercepted, then fumbled the ball back to New England, didn't make to the AFC Championship. The Colts didn't match-up well against the Chargers, especially in San Diego. Marty Schottenheimer, remember that Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning were told they would never win it all, either. So Marty, yeah you Marty. Keep your head up because you can do it in 2008! Come on people, it's possible...right?
Have seen a couple people compare the Colts to the baseball Cardinals. You know, flawed champs who got hot at the right time. The Colts were one of the Top 4 teams in the NFL all season. They played in the far superior conference, the AFC. The Cardinals were barely a .500 squad, who had the worst record in a historically bad National League. Outside of finally winning a championship after having being better in past years, the Colts and Cardinals have little in common.
Quite possibly my best prediction of the football season was touting Prince. His Super Bowl show was one of the most memorable live music performances in TV history. While the constant downpour he played in took away some of the dance moves he would generally deliver, the weather did create a scenic look like his own version of U-2 at Red Rocks. Who else besides Prince could augment his Purple Rain classics with snippets of Proud Mary, Best of You, and All Along the Watchtower? How would you like to have to follow that one next year?