NFL Season in Review



The Super Bowl has come and gone. Joe Flacco proved he is an elite quarterback, San Francisco has stopped complaining about the lack of penalties against the Ravens, the Superdome is reassessing its electrical structure and Ray Lewis is already traveling cross-country as a motivational speaker. But just because the Super Bowl is over, it doesn’t mean it’s time to forget about an eventful, suspenseful and for some, forgetful 2012-2013 NFL season (Yes, New Orleans, this season still counts even though you didn’t have Sean Payton).

The people who’d like to forget the season the most have to be the replacement referees. Before we get to the onslaught of criticisms, let’s be fair: these were Division II, Division III and high school referees being thrown into the highest level of football around. That’s not easy.

Now, to the criticisms. The games were slow. The referees didn’t know many nuances of the rulebook. There were blatantly missed calls. All of these setbacks were manageable for the NFL, however, because people kept tuning in to watch and there was no unified backlash at

the league. 

The reaction changed in one 24-hour period from September 23 to 24. The Sunday Night game pitted the Ravens against the Patriots (a rematch and foreshadowing of the AFC Championship). The Ravens won on a field goal that probably shouldn’t have counted. Justin Tucker’s game winning field goal went over the goal posts and was precariously close to being no good, but the officials ruled otherwise. There was backlash, but most people were willing to give the

officials a break.

The next day, when the replacement referees ruled that Russell Wilson’s Hail Mary was actually answered and was not an interception by Packers’ defensive back M.D. Jennings, the NFL knew the time for change had come. The replacement referee era is one we’d like to forget.

A memorable era that is just beginning is that of the quarterback class of the 2012 Draft. Wilson, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III all dazzled in their freshman seasons in the NFL. Luck had the least help on his team but was nonetheless throwing the ball at an imprecise rate per game. Nevertheless, he turned around the Colts and led them to a playoff birth. RG3 was remarkable running the read-option with another surprising rookie, Alfred Morris. Their playoff run ended at the hands of a third rookie, Wilson. After a few slow weeks, Wilson began to improve and develop as a player. During weeks 14 to 16, when the Seahawks put up 58, 50 and 42 points consecutively, Wilson started to find his rhythm. He led a comeback against the Redskins in the wild card round, which was almost upstaged by the comeback that he led in the divisional round against the Falcons until it barely fell short. The rookie quarterbacks this season truly

surprised us.

Speaking of surprises, there were many teams that surprised and disappointed fans. To start, the most disappointing team had to be the Kansas City Chiefs. Granted, they didn’t have very high hopes, but it doesn’t seem too outlandish to expect that they would have a lead during a game before week ten. Even those expectations were too high for them. On Monday, November 12, the Chiefs finally took a lead in a game. The only game the Chiefs won before that was over New Orleans during Week 3, when they scored a game-ending field goal in overtime. 

The Falcons proved to be another surprise of the 2012 season. They won their first eight games of the season, captured the top seed in the NFC and got the monkey off their back by

winning a playoff game. Unfortunately, they lost to the 49ers in the NFC Championship, but it was a good building block for

next season.

No season recap would be complete without assessing some of the best and worst moments of the season. There were highs, such as Ray Rice scurrying for a first down on fourth and 29 late in the fourth quarter to lead his Ravens to a victory over the Chargers. There were also lows, such as the Jets surrendering 21 points to the Patriots in less than a minute in their Thanksgiving Day matchup. If you’re having trouble remembering this moment, just search Mark Sanchez’s butt-fumble on Youtube and you’ll quickly remember. What about when Matt Schaub was sacked so hard by Bronco Joe Mays that a piece of his ear fell off? Don’t

Youtube that one.

Other memorable moments include Andrew Luck’s touchdown to beat the Lions as time expired, Doug Martin single-handedly outscoring many fantasy football teams in consecutive weeks, the Rams and the 49ers finishing their week ten matchup in a tie while making playoff scenarios seem much more complicated and Greg McElroy emerging as the only quarterback for the Jets.

It truly was a fun season: surprises, disappointments, exciting moments and more. Even with so many moments feeling new and exciting, many things stayed the same. Mark Sanchez hasn’t learned whether he’s supposed to pass to his team or the other team yet. Peyton Manning can’t consistently win in the playoffs. Dallas is the most talked about .500 team ever. Finally, the Giants are still the

biggest enigma in the NFL.

Wait, did I just make it through a season wrap-up without mentioning

Tim Tebow?