And then there were four; a very brief year in review

And then there were four. This Sunday the Green Bay Packers will face off against the Chicago Bears while the New York Jets will try to defy the odds yet again and take down the Pittsburgh Steelers. To say it has been an interesting year would be an understatement. The 2010 NFL season has brought us some very “interesting” moments. It started with genitalia gate, otherwise known as the Favre follies, or Sterger’s 15 minutes. Yes, Favre made the headlines again this past season, for better or for worse. Well, who are we kidding, it was for worse. But that is now done, as is Favre’s career as he officially put it in writing. He wasn’t the only story though.

As injuries continued to mount, the league instituted a zero-tolerance policy for what it deemed to be dangerous hits. Studies showing the devastating affects of concussions prompted the change, and the need to protect players caused referees to throw their flags whenever a linebacker sneezed in the vicinity of a quarterback. The interesting thing about the fines instituted is that the very players they are designed to protect complained about the fact that the fines are destroying the game. Refs no longer give the defender the benefit of the doubt. If it seems that intent is there, a flag is thrown and a fine instituted. Linebacker James Harrison of the Steelers is a repeat offender; however it doesn’t appear that it will stop him or anyone else from doing what many say is their job.

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan could have an entire novel written about him and his exploits this season. Prior to the game against the Patriots, Sports Illustrated’s website featured a prominent photo of him posing the question of whether he is a football savant, or as the title of the story stated, a Buffoon. I suppose we have our answer. Ryan, in my opinion, is a welcome shot of color for a sport which espouses character coaches. The highlight of Rex Ryan’s year with the Jets is without a doubt the “alleged” foot fetish video he starred in with his wife that neither he nor the Jets front office would deny. Simply priceless; but alas, the Jets season will end this Sunday as I doubt they will be able to conjure up the same magic they pulled out of their helmets against the Patriots again.

Quarterbacks seemed to be all the rage this year, or at least rookie quarterbacks. Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy and Jimmy Clausen all saw playing time. Bradford cemented his place as QB with a bright future.  Tebow has potential; this despite the fact all-time great quarterback John Elway made some enigmatic observations about him and his abilities. Clausen didn’t quite live up to expectations and the Carolina Panthers are rumored to be shopping for a quarterback in the draft. If they do take a QB, Clausen’s future might not be so rosy. And then there is Mark Sanchez. Though no longer a true rookie, he is still new enough that he can be considered one. Many claimed it was either luck or witchcraft that got him through the season, but I think this past weekend’s masterpiece against the Pats proves he has what it takes.

Yes, it was an interesting year, and it is not over yet. Two more weekends of football await us before being left with only Hockey and the NBA. As for this weekend, the Steelers roll the Jets 34-17 and the Packers surge late in the game to overtake the Bears 23-20 in a close battle. The Steelers will win this year’s Super Bowl.

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