As we come to the end of another strong NFL season, this has been a year of ups & downs for the league across the board. Many amazing highs, some tough lows, but a chance for the NFL to look over a variety of issues going on around the league & what could be improved upon for the upcoming offseason & for the 2014 NFL season. The DraftKingsMaster will take a look back at a fun NFL season as well as preview some of the big events to look forward to in 2014.
Aaron Hernandez Goes To Jail On Charges of First-Degree Murder.
The New England Patriots did not start their season in a positive light as in the summer, Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez was arrested & charged with first-degree murder, among a variety of other charges, in the death of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.
The Patriots were looking to Hernandez & All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski to spearhead a passing attack for Tom Brady that would also include newest addition Danny Amendola, the man who was the carbon copy of WR Wes Welker, who left in the offseason to join the Denver Broncos.
The Hernandez case is still pending as more information comes out by the day & the case should go to trial sometime this year or next.
That situation brought up the talk of guns in the NFL after investigators found some in the home of Hernandez & it questioned if many NFL players had guns in their homes or had to carry with them on a regular basis. When that situation blew over, we actually moved on to football.
Peyton Manning Throws 7 TD Passes on the First Night of the NFL Season, After Lighting Delay.
Once we got into the season, we had a taste of what the NFL season was going to be like all in the first night. On the first Thursday of the season, the Denver Broncos hosted the defending SuperBowl champion Baltimore Ravens at Mile High.
Typically, the SuperBowl champion hosts the opening night game of the season, however, the Baltimore Orioles had a home game scheduled that night & with both teams sharing the parking & the Orioles having their game scheduled first, the NFL had to move the game to Denver. Peyton Manning had a ton to prove in this game. After losing a crucial game to the Ravens last year in the AFC Divisional Playoff last year, many people were wondering if Manning had it in him still. If he could actually hang in & be one of the best quarterbacks in the league the way he had been the last few years with the Indianapolis Colts. With this year’s SuperBowl in New Jersey & New York, the NFL knew there would be a chance to make history with an outdoor, cold weather SuperBowl, the first time ever in modern times that a SuperBowl was held in a northern, open-air stadium. So it was only fitting that the first game of the season, on NBC, in front of a worldwide TV audience, that the game would be delayed by lighting & thunderstorms in the city of Denver. Once the game finally got going after about a 50-minute delay, Manning decided to go all Madden NFL 25 on the Ravens, throwing for 7 TD passes in a decisive victory. That game showed that Manning was absolutely back, fully healed & that he had more weapons than any other team in the league. He was going to use Wes Welker as a dominant force in the offense, and the world was introduced into a new force at tight end in Julius Thomas. The rest of the season, Manning would absolutely be a beast, throwing for 55 TD passes & over 5,400 yards – both league records.
Richie Incognito, Jonathan Martin Shed Light on Bullying In The NFL
In October, a wacky story came about regarding the Miami Dolphins & two members of their offensive line, Richie Incognito & Jonathan Martin. The issue was that Martin felt that he was being picked on by Incognito & other members of the Miami Dolphins, thus not being able to take the stress, freaking out, & leaving the team for the rest of the season.
It became a massive story in that it opened up the NFL culture to the public for the first time. It showed what happened in regards to hazing in the lockerroom, being open about what is said to people on a regular basis, and how players interact with each other.
For about two weeks, the Incognito/Martin situation was the cover story on a variety of news outlets, not only ESPN & Fox Sports 1.
The league fought back from this, both of the players were off of the team & the Dolphins were able to actually able to make a run at the playoffs before being eliminated in the last weekend of the season.
The Dallas Cowboys, Dez Bryant Implode……..Again
Ok, stop me if you have heard this story before………Dallas Cowboys have tons of talent, should be a deep playoff contender, keep making mistakes to lose games.
Yup, thought you saw that movie before.
Throughout the season, the Dallas Cowboys were absolutely all over the place as a team. They were up & down based on the week & no matter what happened, there was always a story going on.
However, during two particular weeks of the regular season, we saw who the Dallas Cowboys, known as “America’s Team” really was. In a game against the Detroit Lions, where the Cowboys were clearly ahead & had the chance to put the game away, choked away the lead to the Lions after a Matthew Stafford one-yard touchdown run, Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant implodes emotionally on the sidelines, going on an animated rant to his teammates that was caught on TV & made the public wonder if Bryant was emotionally stable enough to be a leader on the team.
All of this after Bryant decided to declare to the world that he was as good as, if not better than Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, widely regarded as the best receiver in the game.
However, after that tirade, the next week, the Dallas Cowboys played the Green Bay Packers at home & the Cowboys had a 23-point lead at halftime, only to lose the game in the 4th quarter, & for the second time in 2 weeks, Bryant would implode again, leaving the field, saying it was because he didn’t want to have the world seeing him cry in public.
The Cowboys would end up losing the NFC East Title game to the Philadelphia Eagles in the last week of the season. Dez Bryant still had a good season, but if he is going to be a strong candidate to be just like the greatest #88 in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, Michael Irvin, Bryant has to be a better man as well as a player.
Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers Show NFC Dominance
The Seattle Seahawks & Carolina Panthers rose to the top of the NFC this season with tough defense as well as timely plays from their quarterbacks Russell Wilson & Cam Newton, respectively.
For the Seahawks, the team went 7-1 at home, & showed that the team has an amazing home field advantage at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, with having the 12th Man advantage. The crowd proved to be a complete mismatch for visiting teams and undoubtedly helped motivate the Seahawks to have the #1 defense in the NFL & come close to breaking noise records on a variety of occasions.
The Seahawks were led by Wilson, as well as RB Marshawn Lynch & All-Pro CB Richard Sherman, who led the NFL in interceptions with 8; The Seahawks defense as a whole led the league in takeaways on their way to a birth in SuperBowl 48 this Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
The Panthers went on a tear this season, winning 8 straight games & seeing the maturation of Cam Newton, who truly came into his own as a leader on the team. The Panthers, much like the Seahawks, leaned on the strength of their defense to win games, which fits Head Coach’s Ron Rivera personality & expertise.
The Panthers received a bye into the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs before losing to the San Francisco 49ers. The team, however, took strong steps in becoming a contender for many years to come.
There are so many other stories to cover this year as we get close to SuperBowl Sunday & the end of the NFL season, but we should look at what the 2014 NFL season can bring us.
Johnny Manziel Is Coming To The NFL.
The idea that former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is coming to the NFL is enough to get many fans of most likely a terrible team clamoring for a chance to have that excitement & playing style around their organization.
Manziel can play & he will show it at the next level most likely. If he ends up going to the Houston Texans, the Texans will instantly become one of the most exciting & most watched franchises immediately in the league.
Will Peyton Manning Return Next Season?
During the last few weeks, Peyton Manning has been questioning of he will be back next season. He has said that it will all come down to what the doctors say about his surgically-repaired neck. If Manning does return, it could very likely be the last season we see him on the football field & it should be appreciated and revered that we have had the opportunity to see one of the greatest players of this generation operate like a maestro at an orchestra.
The NFL Should Consider Moving the Rams to Los Angeles.
The NFL wants to have a franchise in Los Angeles, actually, the league wants to have 2 there, and the 2 that should be there are the Jacksonville Jaguars & St. Louis Rams. Rams owner Stan Kroenke has already purchased 60 acres of property in Los Angeles, and this coming season is the last year that the Rams organization is contractually bound to St. Louis with not having a stadium in the top 8 venues in the NFL. After this season, the lease becomes year to year & if the league & the Rams pushed it, the Rams could be seeing their last few years in St. Louis.
As for the Jaguars, they simply can’t sell out their own stadium or put a viable product on the field. Outside of Maurice Jones-Drew, the city doesn’t seem to support the Jaguars hard & the new owner, Shad Khan, seems to want to make a big splash with the franchise, which could mean a move to a bigger market where the team could get more visibility and become more of a destination for players.
There is much more coming into the 2014 season, & the DraftKingsMaster will have more previews for the NFL season soon, but for now, enjoy the upcoming SuperBowl 48 & follow the DraftKingsMaster on social media