The 2014-2015 NFL Season Wrap-Up

Overall, this year has to go down as a disappointment for NFL fans except for maybe a small region in upper north-east America.

Positives:
Great Super Bowl matchup in terms of competitiveness.
NFL finally addressing domestic violence issues.
Draft Day film by Kevin Costner (I’m searching here, looking for anything.)

Uhhhh….let’s see. Anything else?

Negatives
Ray Rice video
Ray Rice botched investigation/cover-up by NFL Commissioner
Adrian Peterson trial/suspension
Deflate gate
Fake Crowd Noise
Seattle Seahawks giving interviews
Seattle Seahawks not giving interviews
Seattle Seahawks classless end zone celebrations
New England coach, QB, and owner in full defense mode
Multiple players being charged with domestic violence AFTER new Player Conduct Policy
Josh Gordon, Johnny Manziel and the joke that is Cleveland Browns football
NFLPA defending Ray Rick and Adrian Peterson
NFLPA sues NFL for Player Conduct Policy

We could include the little bit of Football Karma that ended the season:
Detroit loses against Dallas by ridiculous call then non-call.
Dallas loses against Green Bay by ridiculous catch then non-catch.
Green Bay loses against Seattle by ridiculous meltdown in 4th quarter.
Seattle loses against New England by ridiculous play call in 4th quarter.

Super Bowl Thoughts
Epic game ruined by the last 20 seconds.

Start with Belicheck NOT calling time-out. If Seattle has a brain and runs the ball, it’s over for New England and we’d be talking about the Patriots ending the game with two time-outs in their pocket.

Next – worst play-call ever in Super Bowl history. Perhaps NFL history. Call play-action, zone-read, run-pass option, fade pass to corner of end zone, dive play off-tackle, or anything other than a straight slant with no play-action. The moment the ball was snapped, it was an easy read and pick. Beast Mode ran into flat, outside WR cut in – there was only one place the ball was going and the corner read it. Stupid call. STUPID.

Next – offsides by Seattle with New England on half-yard line. Make them snap the ball. Chance for safety or fumble. Undisciplined, stupid football here as well.

Next – going after New England on next snap for multiple personal fouls. Net result? New England moves the ball from their half-yard line to the 20 without ever snapping the ball. Game over.

The only consolation I take is that I didn’t have to listen to Seahawk players give us those stupid, “us against the world” interviews. As much as I respect Russell Wilson, his teammates balance out the equation.

New England Cheaters
I have two opinions on this and they may seem at odds with each other.

I do think New England has a culture of cheating. After experiencing the embarrassment of Josh McDaniels in Denver and what he brought to Denver, I can only imagine he learned that from the Patriots. It was McDaniels that got busted for video-taping the practice and walk-thru of an opposing team while he was coach at Denver. That was AFTER Spygate. Bowlen didn’t hesitate – he fired McDaniels as soon as he finished his punishment from NFL. McDaniels ended up back in New England.

It’s not hard to imagine that everything that has been said and surmised about the New England Patriots is true – that Belicheck pushes the boundaries and perhaps beyond them to find any and all competitive advantages. From ball pressure to videotaping, name your poison. Should they be punished for it? Yes. Absolutely.

Does it take away from their achievements since Brady has been their quarterback? If you ask the St. Louis Ram team of 2001, the answer is absolutely yes. Maybe that is true – but the overall effect I imagine is negligible. Almost every coach has said as much – yes, videotaping is cheating. Yes, deflating the footballs gives an advantage. But is it a game-changer that completely explains the dominance and consistency of the Patriots? Probably not.

Denver Fans
The outright dominance of the start of the season only set us all up for the precipice of despair that started with the St. Louis Rams game.

Here are my not-so-random thoughts on Denver:

1. I’m good with letting John Fox go. He consistently came up short in-game management situations and the team was as predictable as the sunrise in big games. I’m good with Elway cleaning house. It’s about Super Bowls or at the least, being in the hunt for Super Bowls. This team was not in the hunt. IT should have been. But it wasn’t.

In the NFL, coaching makes a larger difference than any other professional sport. See New England. Who else has Brady had around him? Talent-wise, I can name 4 other teams that have more talent than New England (Seattle, Green Bay, Dallas, and Denver) but none of those teams can compete with the coaching (or cheating) of New England.

2. Kubiak is a good hire. As is Philips as the Defensive Coordinator. They are good hires for two major reasons. First, if Manning stays Kubiak can add a zone-blocking scheme to extend Manning’s career AND he will make Manning sit when he’s injured. No more ‘I’ll play through it’ stuff. Second, if Manning goes, Kubiak worked miracles in Houston without a QB and Elway will eventually find him a QB if Brock Osweiler doesn’t work out.

3. I hope Manning comes back under this condition. When he gets bruised up and hurt this year, he sits his rear-end down. Regular season wins mean next to nothing in terms of his legacy. Get healthy for the off-season.

4. It was inexcusable the behavior of Denver fans booing Manning during the Indy playoff game. It was a bad game. Manning looked like a shell of the player he was at the start of the season. I get all of that. But booing the guy that resurrected Bronco football after the train wreck of Josh McDaniels? Denver fans are better than that.

The Survival Of Roger Goodell
He’s managed to tweak two of his strongest owners in the last two weeks – Robert Kraft of New England and Arthur Blank of the Atlanta Falcons. I can’t see the owners removing him from office but he’s completely blown pretty much everything he has touched this season.

And the NFLPA looks worse than him by challenging the Player Conduct Policy. I get they want a voice at the table and they have a beef about guaranteed contracts and media availability but this…fighting a policy that is tougher on domestic violence and crime and drugs?? This is stupid public relations and they seriously need to change their tactics and strategy moving forward. They can’t win on this front. They negotiated away the right to make a conduct policy in the CBA. Now they are suing for the right back??

Ahhh but now we enter the desert land of professional sports…

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