The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. These are two terms that can be used to describe this NFL season; you were hot or cold, yes or no, in or out, up or down; I think you get it now, I hope. Anyway, this season was full of shock, surprise, excitement, and memories. We started this NFL season in New York City where the Super Bowl champion New York Giants were ready to prove that they didn’t get lucky against the Pats in Super Bowl XLII but that they deserved to win. They started off the regular season great win a win against the underachieving Washignton Redskins and ended up clinching the NFC 1st round bye as the number one team in the conference but all the magic was swept away in the NFC Divisional Playoffs when the surprising Philadelphia Eagles rose to their potential and defeated them in a shocker at home. The Philadelphia Eagles would end up playing in the NFC Championship against the Arizona Cardinals. WAIT? Arizona?!!??? “Playoffs, playoffs, we’re talking about playoffs, we can’t even win a game” as Jim Mora would say if he were coaching the Cardinals. But they did win a game, enough games to clinch their division in what was believed to be one of the worst if not the worst division in the league in the NFC West. Although they didn’t attract that many fans on their bandwagon after getting thumped during the regular season against the New England Patriots, the Cardinals believed they had something to prove and that they had the experienced quarterback and the knowledgeable wide receivers necessary to go all the way and win it all, and they almost did.
After coming up with a win at home against the Eagles in a game fans were sure that Philadelphia would win, the Cardinals waited to see who they would be playing the Super Bowl. The Pittsburgh Steelers were a team that basically had the same nucleus from their Super Bowl season in 2004, but they had not played to their maximum. But with the Patriots not making it to the playoffs despite an 11-5 record and the Colts being eliminated in an overtime triumph by the Chargers, the Pittsburgh Steelers knew that this had to be their year to shine. They would clinch a 2nd place finish in the AFC after being defeated by the rookie sensation Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans (who would clinch the number 1 spot) during the regular season, but despite the disappointment of not clinching home field advantage the Steelers still knew that if they could make one huge run in January they could be the 3rd AFC North team to go all the way since the 2000 Ravens. They would go on to defeat the San Diego Chargers and play the Baltimore Ravens who pulled off a controversial upset against the Titans, this would mean that the Steelers would be able to stay at home and play for a chance to go to Tampa. The home field did end up having a huge advantage and the Steelers would move on to the big game.
The atmosphere in the air was high and emotions were flaring but in the end after many key defensive plays from the number 1 defense in the league the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to pull it off and become the first team in NFL history to win 6 championships in all of its franchise’s history. There were also many other key stories this year like the Brett Farve saga, the Plaxico Burress case, the collapse of the Dallas Cowboys, the rise of a minor league football team in Detroit after being a professional football team for over 80 years and so many other stories but none of those stories was as important as the stories on the field. The way the Cardinals were able to shock the world and go all the way with overrated and washed up players, how the Steelers were able to go back to their dominance of the league, how the Ravens and Falcons were able to make the playoffs with rookie studs and how different players who are not as popular as the Mannings and the Bradys of the world were able to step their game up and play some stud football like Matt Cassell, Larry Fitzgerald, James Harrison, Ed Reed, Michael Turner, Haloti Ngata and many, many others. You see in order to be successful in this league you must be responsible on and off the field and if you are able to do that you earn respect in my book, and the players and teams that were mentioned above were able to do that and make this season a memorable season for the ages.
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