That’s because there will be no meaningful football until September, and with the added uncertainty of the CBA, the layoff could be even longer.
So while there’s still plenty of playoff football left, now’s a good time to look back over the season and ponder what the biggest NFL story of 2010 was.
Dominance from the Patriots
The Patriots have Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, and as long as that’s the case, they’ll be contenders. But if someone told you in August that the Pats would finish the season with 14 wins, you’d probably write them off as an idiotic homer who knew nothing about sports. However, that’s exactly where the Pats are, as they appear to be the clear-cut Super Bowl favorites.
While people might have predicted a 10- or 12-win season, nobody saw dominance like this coming.
Michael Vick’s resurgence
The craziest part of Michael Vick’s 2010 season isn’t that he’s performing well after serving a prison sentence, it’s that he’s playing better than he ever did before his two-year hiatus.
Vick threw just 13 passes in ’09, so not much was expected of him this year, which he began as Kevin Kolb‘s backup. That didn’t last long, as Vick ended up throwing for 3,000 yards, 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions. If it weren’t for Brady, Vick would be getting ready to accept his MVP trophy. Instead, he’s preparing his Eagles for a playoff game.
Crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits
The NFL hears the complaints that concussions and head trauma are devastating the lives of former players, and the league is making an earnest effort to limit such damage. Fines have been dished out on a near-weekly basis, some for obvious offenses (Brandon Meriweather on Todd Heap) and others for not-so-obvious ones (Dunta Robinson on DeSean Jackson).
While some flags have flown and irked millions of fans, the league is willing to take the hit in that department if the end game is player safety.
The Vikings should have gone to the Super Bowl last year, if not for the boneheaded pick thrown by Brett Favre. This year, just about everything went wrong.
From Favre’s offseason drama, to the bizarre Randy Moss addition and subsequent release, to the firing of head coach Brad Childress, to the collapse of their stadium roof, the Vikings had a rough season. And it ended with a concussed Favre watching the Vikings lose to the Detroit Lions. To say the 2010 season was a disappointment may be the understatement of the century.
The brutal NFC West
The NFC West was bad this season — historically bad — and for the first time ever, a team with a losing record will be playing in the playoffs. Not only that, but that team is hosting that playoff game. Clearly, something’s wrong.
By virtue of a horrifically ugly win on Sunday night, the Seahawks earned the division crown and the playoff berth. Now, the defending Super Bowl champion Saints will be forced to travel across the country on a short week in a win-or-go-home playoff game. The situation may lead to changes in the playoff system if the public outcry is strong enough.