The NFL has been everything we have expected it to be this season, even after a long drawn out lockout that the owners and players worked out. This season has been filled with the usual hard hitting, late game heroics and come from behind victories. For some teams, there have been many highs and as for others, there have been many lows. Many thought the season could be lost with the looming lockout that was threatening the NFL season, but unlike the NBA lockout, the players and owners came to a comparable compromise that has permitted us, the fans, to be enjoying the game we love to watch.
Once the lockout was lifted and the off season officially began, it was like the flag had been waved to start the Daytona 500 because the NFL teams were pulling out all the stops to land prized free agents to fill the voids needed by their team to win that trip to Indianapolis to be playing in the Super Bowl. Few teams came away with some key acquisitions via free agency or by trades, but no one team made a bigger splash in the free agency pool than the Philadelphia Eagles landing more prized free agents than a Cracker Jack Box factory. With all the moves that were made more than a disco dance off, some had dubbed the Eagles “The Dream Team,” but what they forgot to tell the Eagles is that games are played on the field not on paper as they have played themselves to a subpar 2-4 record.
If somebody would have said the Colts would be without future first ballot Hall of Famer Quarterback Peyton Manning, and off to an 0-6 record since signing Manning 15 years ago they would have asked you how hard did you bump your head, and you know nothing about the game of football. Flash forward to six weeks into the NFL season and the Colts are 0-6 and Peyton Manning is watching the game he loves to play from the sidelines following his third neck surgery in 18 months. The Atlanta Falcons didn’t make much of any noise in the free agent frenzy, but they made the loudest noise in the NFL Draft by trading up several places to draft highly regarded receiver Julio Jones by trading most of their 2011 draft picks and some of their 2012 draft picks as well.
While Julio has proven to be a key addition in the Dirty Birds offense, he has been sidelined the last two weeks with a hamstring injury and the Falcons have limped into 3rd place as the Bucs and Saints battle for NFC South Supremacy atop the division.
There have been many surprising things that have happened on the field on Sundays, from the Buffalo Bills (4-2) off to their best start since Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas played in the backfield. The Detroit Lions have to be the biggest surprise in the NFL who were 5-0 before going into last week contest against the NFC West division leader 49ers (5-1), and even though the Lions lost their first game leaving the Packers (6-0) as the only undefeated NFL team the talk of the game was what transpired after the game with the Lion head coach running down the 49ers coach after what he felt the “handshake” he was given was inappropriate of that from the coach. Cam Newton the #1 overall draft pick by theCarolina Panthers has been a surprise to few, but the ones who watched him guide the Auburn Tigers to an undefeated BCS Championship last year in college knows what he is capable of, so it’s no surprise to them that he is playing the quarterback position more of a season veteran than that of a rookie.
Even though with everything good that has happened on the field since the season began the NFL has been left sadden with the lost of an NFL Legend and Pioneer of the game with the passing of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis. Al Davis was as many would call him “The Man, The Myth, The Legend” for he is responsible for the AFL merger into the NFL. The league held a moment of silence for every game the following Sunday to show respect, and his beloved Oakland Raiders took the field where they held their own against the Houston Texans as they drove down the field for a potential game winning touchdown only to be intercepted in the end zone. After the game an emotional Raiders coach Hue Jacksonsaid a phrase made famous by the late great Al Davis that he would say on Any Given Sunday “Just Win Baby Win.”