Wednesday, December 29, 2010

10 Refreshing Changes in the NFL

The NFL is often praised for its impressive parity. It still seems, however, that year after year we see the same teams in the playoffs and the same teams bringing up the rear of divisions. There are a lot of familiar faces atop divisions again this year, but still, not everything is the same. This year brought some refreshing changes. Here are my 10 favorite things about the 2010 NFL season.

1. The Kansas City Chiefs win the AFC West - It's the first time since 2003. The Chiefs finished last or tied for last every year since 2006, and now here they are atop the division.

2. The Chargers miss the playoffs - Staying in the same division, the San Diego Chargers will be at home come January. Until this year, the Chargers had represented the division every season since the Broncos did it in 2005.

3. A rookie quarterback plays well on a bad team - I didn't think it could be done either. Say what you will about the NFC West and how badly it sucks and how those teams should be relegated to the UFL...but Sam Bradford has, against all odds, been quite impressive.

4. Peyton Manning is a mortal - Sure he's still playing very well, but the typical demi-god is struggling by the hall-of-fame standards that he set for himself. Manning has 31 TD passes, but an uncharacteristically high 17 INTs.

5. Brett Favre misses a game - It's about time. Jerk.

6. The Raiders don't get eliminated from playoff contention...until week 16 - It's the longest they've been relevant since the Rich Gannon days.

7. The Cowboys suck - Maybe now they won't get a primetime game every weekend.

8. The Browns are turning it around - For real this time. Sure, they've had their struggles this season, but quality wins against the Saints and Patriots show quite a bit of promise for Cleveland.

9. The Falcons have officially 100% recovered from the Mike Vick debacle - Matt Ryan can't scramble like Vick can, but he sure can throw. And he's currently at the helm of the best team in the NFC. 

10. The Lions win a bunch of games - Including back to back road games! And they've been winning, or at least staying competitive, without their starting quarterback. Who knows, this team could make a playoff push next season. Chins up, Detroit.

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