With another season down in the books, we witnessed a lot and the NFL seems to get better year by year. Here are some things that caught my eye this year. Just a recap. Enjoy.
1. Head coaches are just as important as any player- We always speak about how one player can make an impact but coaches are just as important too, right? This couldn’t be anymore accurate in regards to the Saints who were without Sean Payton for the entire 2012 season as he was suspended for his role in the Saints bountygate scandal. Without him, you saw a huge difference with this football team. Sean has been a very important piece to the puzzle since he arrived in New Orleans and his absence was immediately seen once you saw the Saints take the field. Brees had a good year but still looked lost at times during the season. Next year, you’ll see a huge difference as he returns.
2. Adrian is still Adrian- Remember Christmas eve 2011? Adrian Peterson blows out his knee and none of us thought he’d be the same player after tearing something in his knee, boy a bunch of people were wrong. All Day had the season of a lifetime. 2,097 yards, 9 yards away from breaking Eric Dickerson’s record, 6 yards per carry and 13 rushing touchdowns. He ran with a purpose and the way he played this year, you’d think nothing was ever wrong with his knee. A lot of people can learn from his season and the moral of all this is to never listen to your doubters.
3. Peyton is the Peyton of old- Just like Adrian Peterson, there were a lot of questions surrounding Peyton Manning as well. A lot of people stated he may never step on a football field again after 4 neck surgeries within 19 months. He struggled some during the early portions of the season but eventually found his rhythm which would turn into 11 straight wins for the Broncos and the one seed in the AFC playoffs. Peyton put together an MVP season tossing 37 TD passes and has the Broncos headed in the right direction.
4. Decisions are decisions- Jim Harbaugh made the decision to keep Colin Kaepernick as his starting QB despite the fact that Alex Smith was healthy again and many questions were asked about this decision. It obviously paid off because the 49ers ended up winning the NFC and got to the Super Bowl. John Harbaugh made the choice to part ways with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and replaced him with Quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell. That decision ended up paying off in the long run as well, look at what ended up happening for the Ravens.
5. The year of the referee- The season started with replacement refs which didn’t sit well with the players, coaches and most importantly the fans. The regular refs were in a lockout until they ended up reaching a new deal. How could we forget the incidents of the replacement refs? Bill Belichick was fined $50k for grabbing a ref on the arm after what he thought was a bad call on a field goal. The biggest incident was the Monday night game in Seattle. MD Jennings clearly had a pick but it was called a touchdown in Seattle’s favor.
6. Three young QB’s have a bright future- Andrew Luck, RG3 and Russell Wilson all led their teams to the playoffs after all three teams failed to qualify the year before. Luck and RG3 lived up to the hype but nobody saw Russell Wilson coming and having the season he did. He was a great steal for the Seahawks and all three of these guys have tremendous careers ahead of them in the NFL.