Closing the Chapter on the 2015 NFL Season

2015 NFL Season Sumary

It’s in my nature to always have something to look forward to, which is why I immediately started a countdown to 2016 training camp after the Patriots lost to the Broncos in the AFC Championship. Don’t get me wrong – I was still experiencing rage and disappointment from the game (the type that only spoiled New England fans can really understand at the end of a season that doesn’t result in Tom Brady lifting the Lombardi), but I knew it was time to move on, even knowing that Peyton Manning still needed to face off against Cam Newton.

It doesn’t seem right to move onto 2016 without a recap of the some NFL season highlights. Here’s what we thought of 2015…

It was a good year for:

  • Cam Newton and the Panthers – They almost had a perfect season (15-1), but we’re guessing that a Super Bowl win would make everything good for this gutsy team from the NFC South. They spent the whole season with a chip on their shoulder, trying to ignore the haters who pointed to the difficulty (or lack thereof) of their schedule as the reason for their success. Cam is a front-runner for MVP.
  • Kirk Cousins – He won the starting QB position in Washington this year and gave us the best soundbite of the year with his fired-up, “You like that?!!”
  • The Houston Texans – This may seem like an odd choice because they were decimated by the Chiefs during wildcard weekend this year after winning the pathetic AFC South. However, they did give us one of the best Hard Knocks seasons yet and I think they deserve some praise for that.
  • Aaron Rodgers – The season may not have ended the way he wanted, but the guy had not one, but two spectacular Hail Mary catches this year. He’s an exciting player to watch.
  • The Bengals’ half-time monkey – Why doesn’t this happen at all football games? SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN!
  • Women in the NFL – We’ve still have much ground to cover when considering the involvement of women in the old boy’s club known as the NFL. However, seeing Jen Welter as an intern pre-season coach for the Cardinals and Sarah Thomas as the first full-time official felt like small victories and we’ll take what we can get. With the Bills promoting Kathryn Smith to become the first full-time assistant coach in the league earlier this month, hopefully this will be a sign of more female hires to come. Have we figured out the domestic violence issues linked to the sport? No, but hiring women into higher-profile positions and hearing rising sports world stars like Katie Nolan call people out seems like a good start.

 

It was a bad year for:

  • Injured players – Yes, everyone gets injured in the NFL. However, there were a lot of “big names” that went on injured reserve or missed a significant number of games due to injury, upsetting fans and fantasy football participants everywhere. A lot of these “big names” were quarterbacks, including Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton, and Joe Flacco. (Personally, all I can think about is how things would have been different if the Patriots didn’t have so many significant injuries. Sweet Jesus, it would have been great to see Roger hand the Lombardi over to Mr. Kraft and Brady.)
  • Officials – You couldn’t pay me enough to be an NFL official. The job is too stressful and the stakes are too high for something that is not full-time employment. The officials seemed to go through a rough patch in the middle of the 2015 season. Mistakes are understandable, but it was the size of the mistakes and how much of an effect they had on game outcomes that made them so newsworthy.
  • Catching – No one knew what exactly justified a catch this year. Expect this to be a topic addressed by the rules committee for 2016.
  • FanDuel and DraftKings – These two daily sports fantasy companies started out having a good year and then seven states declared that activities on these sites were a form of gambling. While there is certainly a lot of money to be had in the fantasy world, every day new hurdles seem to pop up and everyone wants their piece of the pie.
  • Rams fans in St. Louis – Can you imagine having your football team taken away from you? That’s what happened when Stan Kroenke and his mustache decided to follow the big money and move the team back to LA. Read these fan reactions and tell me you don’t feel bad for some of these people.

Other things worth mentioning:

  • Moving the extra-point line back – The NFL moved the PAT (point after touchdown) line from the 2-yd line to the 15-yd line this year. Kickers still made the majority of their PATs, but it did add an interesting twist to the game and we didn’t hate it.
  • Concussions – The NFL recently announced that diagnosed concussions rose 32% this season (including preseason and training camp), with a 58% increase when only considering regular-season games. The movie “Concussion” kept the topic in the headlines, highlighting this as a significant problem the NFL will have to contend with in the long term.
  • Shame on you – The Falcons lost a 2016 draft pick and president Rich McKay was suspended after the team was found guilty of pumping in sound noise during home games in 2013 and 2014. Browns GM Ray Farmer was suspended and the team was fined after a sideline texting scandal. The Browns and the Bills had to suspend coaches after alleged assault incidents.
  • Color rush uniforms – The NFL experimented with color rush uniforms and some of them were just hideous. We were not fans. Please don’t do that again.
  • Deflategate – Believe it or not, it’s not over yet, as the NFL’s appeal of Judge Berman’s ruling will be held on March 3. I think I speak for all of us when I say, just drop it Roger.

How will you remember the 2015 season? What do you think 2016 will bring us? Comment below to let us know.

– Michelle

 

What to Wear: Cold Weather Football Game

Scrolling through Pinterest one day, I came across a guide of what to wear to a football game. The guide included boots with 4-inch spike heels. *face palm*

If you are attending a football game, chances are you aren’t getting car service and whisked up to the VIP boxes upon your arrival. (If you are…Hi, my name is Michelle. Can we be friends?) That means that most of us don’t have the luxury of ignoring practicality and comfort when deciding our game day attire.

Today we’re bringing you The Snap’s guide of what to wear to a football game. Since weather is one of the most important factors to consider, this guide will just be for cold weather games. Packers, Bears, and Patriots fans who have tickets to December and January games – we’re talking to you.

What to Wear - Football Game - Cold Weather

(I realize that the Texans are not a cold-weather team, but I really wanted to use a J.J. Watt jersey for this guide and decided to stay with a Texans theme to make the graphic more aesthetically pleasing. I’ll apologize now if this rubs anyone the wrong way.)

**NOTE – Many of these items are from Kohl’s because it is hands-down our favorite place to shop. Kohl’s has some great 2015 Black Friday sales starting on Monday 11/23, so we are featuring these prices in case you see something you like and want to take advantage of sales this week.**

1. Knit beanie hat ($28) – Hats are a must to keep you warm. Thankfully, there are so many great NFL styles out there. Another great reason to choose a hat? If it’s damp and you know your hair will lose the battle against the elements, hats can mitigate bad hair days. (Kohl’s Black Friday – $19.60, Reg $28)

2. Jacket (varies) – There is nothing worse than getting to your seat in the stadium and having it be soaking wet and cold. This is why we love long jackets/parkas that keep your buns warm and dry. Removable hoods are also a really nice feature. Should you decide to forgo a bag, big pockets with zippers are a must to store all of your game day essentials. This jacket doesn’t feature them, but cuffs with thumb-holes are also awesome.  (Kohl’s Black Friday – $59.99, Reg $200)

3. Clear bag ($11.99) – If you choose to bring a bag and need to bring more stuff than a clutch can hold, we recommend investing in one of the clear NFL-approved bags. Yes, it sucks to spend more money, but it will save you the trouble of getting turned away at the gate if your bag violates the stadium bag policy.

4. Sunglasses (varies) – Just because it’s cold out, it doesn’t mean that you can avoid sun-glare if you are attending a day game. I (Michelle) rarely leave the house without a pair. Football games are no exception.

5. Jersey ($55 for boys) – If you’re wearing a jacket, no one can see the adorable shirt or sweatshirt that you’re wearing to rep your team. We like having at least one over-sized jersey that fits over our jackets. Depending on what size you wear, you may be able to get a large or x-large boys jersey and save a few bucks. The women’s jerseys are great, but they are so fitted, it can be difficult to put them over sweatshirts or jackets. (Kohl’s Black Friday – $34.99, Reg $55)

6. Cuddl Duds shirts ($32) – Layering is key and our absolute favorite layering shirts in the winter are Cuddl Duds. We cannot say enough about this brand. High-quality, warm, smooth, and comfortable, they come in a variety of styles and colors/prints. Many come with thumb holes (Can you tell we love thumb holes?) This may be TMI, but they make your boobs look great as well. (Kohl’s Black Friday – $15.99, Reg $32 – This is an EXCELLENT deal, as they usually don’t go any cheaper.)

7. Skinny jeans ($54.50) – Unless you’re in Green Bay and snow pants make the most sense, you can usually get away with jeans. We love a dark-wash skinny cut because they look flattering and you can tuck them into boots. If you need extra layers, Cuddl Duds also has some thin leggings you can pair up with your favorite skinnies.

8. L.L. Bean boots ($109) – The only thing worse than cold feet is cold wet feet. Depending on the stadium and weather, you may be walking through a slushy mess on your way from your tailgate into the stadium. Invest in waterproof boots and you will thank us later.

9. Gloves ($32) – If you’re going to be taking selfies and more importantly, checking your fantasy team stats, you’re going to need touchscreen gloves. (Kohl’s Black Friday – $24, Reg $32)

Did we miss anything? What’s your go-to game day look? Let us know in the comments below.

– Michelle

2014 Season Team Profiles: Houston Texans

2014 PRESEASON TEAM PROFILES (4)

Team Name: Houston Texans

Division: AFC South

Stadium: NRG Stadium (Houston, TX)

2013 Record: 2-14 (This stellar record earned them the first pick in the 2014 draft!)

Head Coach: Bill O’Brien (2014), spent five years in New England and then two years as Penn State’s head coach after the Sandusky scandal, also has an interesting personal story

Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick (2014), Harvard grad also known as the Amish Rifle for his sick beard, proposed to his wife in front of a McDonald’s

 

3 Offensive Players You Should Know:

Andre Johnson, Wide Receiver (80) – If there’s a receiving record for the Texans, Johnson probably owns it. This is Johnson’s 11th year with the Texans, despite rumblings of trade talks earlier this year. He’s a pretty darn good receiver who is probably pretty frustrated by their QB situation.

Arian Foster, Running Back (23) – Foster was an undrafted free agent signed by the Texans in 2009. He owns a bunch of Texans rushing records, and when he’s not injured, he makes a lot of fantasy owners very happy. On a more personal note, he likes to write poetry and he’s a vegan.

DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver (10) – Drafted in 2013, he had a prolific college career. He certainly has a bigger role this year than he did last year, but hasn’t had the opportunity to shine yet. His role should increase over time, especially if Andre Johnson leaves the team.

 

3 Defensive Players You Should Know:

J.J. Watt, Defensive End (99) – What. A. Beast. Every week we like to include What J.J. Watt Did in our weekly game recap. Watt is one of the most disruptive defensive players in the league right now and judging by the 6-year, $100 million contract he signed in September, the Texans recognize that. He’s making a case to earn the MVP title this year, something usually given to offensive players. He’s also a nice guy:

Jadeveon Clowney, Linebacker (90) – The first overall pick in the draft, people had ridiculously high expectations of Clowney coming into the season. USA Today called him “by far the most freakish physical specimen” in the draft. He tore his meniscus in the first regular game of the season and has missed seven games so far.

Brian Cushing, Inside Linebacker (56) – Drafted in 2009, he had a stellar rookie season and it’s been a roller coaster ride ever since. He missed four games in 2010 after testing positive for a banned substance, had an outstanding 2011 season, tore his ACL and missed most of the 2012 season, and then missed most of the 2013 season due to injury.

 

What Happened This Offseason:

– The Texans fired Gary Kubiak as head coach before the end of the 2013 season and hired Bill O’Brien as his replacement.

– There was lots of quarterback movement in Houston. They traded Matt Schaub to Oakland, traded with New England for Ryan Mallett, and then signed the Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has been their starter this season. Halfway through the season, there are rumors that Mallett could replace Fitzpatrick, who has had a mediocre performance so far in 2014.

– Running back extraordinaire Arian Foster was injured in 2013 and missed the second half of the season. He’s back this year.

 

Why You Should Cheer for Them: J.J. Watt. He’s one of the most dominant defensive players in the modern era and every week he seems to break some record or do something completely unexpected.

 

2014 Theme Song: So Fresh, So Clean (OutKast) – New coach. New quarterback. Fresh start. I would go as far as to say that the Texans are feeling so fresh and so clean.

 

The Last Word: It’s hard to expect miracles the first year you have a new coach and a new quarterback. It’s not a super strong division, which works in the team’s favor. You get the sense that they have the pieces for a really good team, it just might take some more time to put them together. The defense doesn’t seem to get the credit it deserves – it’s currently ranked in the bottom third of all defenses in the league. They lead the lead in some important stats, however, like takeaways (interceptions and forcing fumbles). If the offense would hold onto the ball better, their turnover differential would be near the top of the league.

 

– Michelle and Val