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

 

Our Thoughts – 2014 NFL Week 3 Recap

The Snap Football Blog NFL Recap Week 3

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know I’m late getting this posted. It’s all my fault. Val had all her ducks in a row and was ready to go. My ducks, on the other hand, were waddling around all over the damn place. Quack, quack.

Here’s what we thought about a ducky week 3…

Atlanta (56), Tampa Bay (14) – Poor Lovie Smith (Bucs HC). Kinda sad how beat up the Bucs are considering it’s only week 3. Josh McCown (Bucs QB) got hurt and last year’s starter Mike Glennon came in to finish the game. The Falcons looked so good, but the Bucs were just so bad. Devin Hester (Falcons WR) and Deion Sanders had an emotional man moment after the game, as a result of Hester breaking Sanders’ all-time touchdown return record.  (M)

San Diego (22), Buffalo (10) – Bills lost their first game of the year. Philip Rivers (Chargers QB) was on fire! He connected with his receivers on six plays of more than 20 yards and finished with a season-high passer rating of 131.4 (Learning moment: A passer rating is a calculation that reflects quarterback performance. It utilizes a scale of 0 to 158.3. We’ll have more on this in a future post.) Unfortunately, San Diego is now having running back issues. Danny Woodhead (Chargers RB, looks like a hobbit) was carted off the field and subsequently placed on season-ending IR. Ryan Matthews (Chargers RB) was already out and is not expected back for another 4 weeks. (V)

Cincinnati (33), Tennessee (7) – Titans were never in this one. Cincy’s defense was just too good and the Titans hurt themselves with missed field goals and a safety (2pts as a result of a ball carrier being tackled in their own end zone) during a punt attempt. Hue Jackson (Bengals OC) has the Bengals offense humming. Mohamed Sanu (Bengals WR), the kid who threw and caught 50+yd passes in the last game, threw a touchdown to Andy Dalton (Bengals QB). Yes, a wide receiver threw a touchdown to a quarterback. A.J. Green (Bengals WR) was back from injury and looked good with more than 100 yards receiving. (V)

Baltimore (23), Cleveland (21) – The poor, poor Browns. The game came down to the last few minutes for the third week in the row, but Baltimore managed to eek out a win with a field goal. Dennis Pitta (Ravens TE) reinjured his hip and is out for the rest of the reason. This game was all about the running backs. Baltimore’s run game looked good without their original starters (Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce). Cleveland’s run game also looked good. (V)

Detroit (19), Green Bay (7) – Lions defense keep Rodgers and the Packers in check. The Pack couldn’t get a run game going. Their offensive line didn’t do their job. Rodgers couldn’t find open receivers and got flustered. You could say it was a rough day for them. Matt Stafford (Lions QB) didn’t have a great game (he had 3 turnovers), but the in the end, the Lions defense stepped it up and got the win.

Detroit linebacker Stephen Tulloch tore his ACL and is out for the season after celebrating a sack of Aaron Rodgers (Packers QB) with a discount double-check.

When asked about the incident, Tulloch responded, “Unfortunately, I got up in celebration and it happened. But I ain’t embarrassed by nothing. We all celebrate when we make a play.” Following the statement, numerous English teachers had heart palpitations. (M)

Indianapolis (44), Jacksonville (17) – The poor, poor Jaguars. Chad Henne (Jaguars QB) was pulled from the game to be replaced by rookie QB Blake Bortles, who will start next week. I wish the kid luck because I would not want to be standing behind that o-line. Brace yourself, my friend. Jags defense couldn’t stop Andrew Luck (Colts QB) and the score would have been worse if the Colts didn’t have a few red zone (the 20 yards before the end zone) issues. (M)

New England (16), Oakland (9) – This game was actually pretty boring. Pats offense needs to be locked in a room and forced to sing kumbaya until they get their stuff together because 16 points isn’t going to cut it against better teams.

Here’s a fun fact for the week, courtesy of Field Yates – Did you know the Patriots last 2 interceptions have come from players who combine to weigh 615 pounds?

Here’s another fun fact – Every single point in the game was scored by a “-kowski.” That would be Sebastian Janikowski (Raiders Kicker), Stephen Gostkowski (Pats Kicker), and Rob Gronkowski (Pats TE).  (M)

New Orleans (20), Minnesota (9) – Poor, poor Matt Cassel (Vikings QB). He fractured his foot and is now out for the rest of the season. Step on up, Mr. Teddy Bridgewater, the rookie who will be the Vikings’ starter next week. Good news for the Vikings is that their defense held the Saints relatively in check. The Saints really missed Mark Ingram (RB), who broke his hand. (V)

New York Giants (30), Houston (17) – After sucking the last two weeks, the Giants finally got their act together. Victor Cruz (Giants WR) and Rashad Jennings (Giants RB) made some big plays. Alfred Blue (Texans RB) stepped it up, filling in for the injured Arian Foster (Texans RB). Sometimes Ryan Fitzpatrick (Texans QB) looks good, sometimes he doesn’t. This week, he did not. For your weekly dose of J.J. Watt, word on the street is that he’s the only reason the Giants didn’t score more points. (V)

Philadelphia (37), Washington (34) – What a game! Captain Kirk (Kirk Cousins, Washington QB) threw for 427 yards, which is a lot, and showed some really good decision-making. If he keeps it up, there will be drama when/if RG3 comes back. It wasn’t Captain Kirk’s fault they lost. You can blame Washington’s special teams for that. Desean Jackson (Washington WR), who played in Philly last year, put up some good numbers and also got in a small tussle. There was another tussle that resulted in a player from each team getting ejected. Foles (Eagles QB) looked better, and Jeremy Maclin (Eagles WR) had a great game, after missing last season with an ACL injury. Eagles rookie WR Jordan Matthews looked bangin’ and has been picked up in fantasy leagues everywhere. (V)

Dallas (34), St. Louis (31) – Cowboys came back from a 21-0 deficit to win. The Rams had lots of chances to win, but made a stupid decision on a 4th down and had a drop in the end zone. DeMarco Murray (Cowboys RB) leads the league in rushing, as this was his third game that he went over 100 yards. For a third-string quarterback, Austin Davis isn’t doing too poorly for the Rams. (M)

Arizona (23), San Francisco (14) – Cardinals remain undefeated and sit atop the NFC West. 9ers started off strong, but couldn’t finish the game. Kaepernick (49ers QB) missed the injured Vernon Davis (TE). Here’s a fun fact – The Niners have been outscored 52-3 in the second half this season. Here’s another fun fact – Arizona blocked their 17th field goal since 2008 in this game. They’re apparently really good at blocking field goals. (V)

Kansas City (34), Miami (15) – Chiefs’ first win of the season. This is impressive considering they didn’t have RB Jamaal Charles. Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins QB) couldn’t hold his own at home and struggled with the deep ball. Don’t worry, Ryan – you’re still doing a better job than I would! (M)

Seattle (26), Denver (20) – It’s a shame the Super Bowl didn’t look more like the last quarter of this game. The Broncos managed to tie the game with less than 20 seconds left, forcing overtime. Denver’s run game didn’t exist. Their defense was good. It allowed the Broncos to have a chance at even coming back, but they just couldn’t make the stops in overtime. Peyton was apparently throwing some “ducks” again. Quack, quack. (V)

Pittsburgh (37), Carolina (19) – What team was wearing black and gold in this game? Couldn’t have been the same Steelers that got their butts handed to them in Baltimore last week. The Steelers put up 37 points on the road against one of the best defenses. Cam Newton (Panther QB) took a lot of hits, which is not good coming off ankle surgery and a rib injury from the preseason. He was replaced by Derek Anderson when the game was out of reach.

Did you hear that James Harrison (Steelers LB) came out of retirement to help the injured Steelers’ defense? The one smiling in the selfie is Coach Tomlin. The one who looks like he wants to bring the pain is James Harrison. (M)

Chicago (27), New York Jets (19) – If you were to Google image “shoot yourself in the foot,” a picture of the Jets should come up. Granted, there were some bad calls against them in the game, but you can’t really expect me to feel sorry for them. (M)

– Val and Michelle