While my writing here at The Whiteboard has focused on TV and video games, my favorite hobby is football. With the NFL season coming to a close this past weekend, I thought I would post some takeaways from this past season in both college and pro football.
A Big Change in Philadelphia: The Eagles are my team and it was a tough year for me and my fellow Philly fans. I live in South Jersey and find Eagles fans to be largely irrational and kind of annoying. Maybe this is how it is everywhere… I’m not sure. After another rough season, Andy Reid was fired. I really do think it was time for a change. But I don’t agree with Eagles fans who will make you think that Andy Reid was the worst thing to ever happen to our team. Hopefully over time him and Donovan McNabb will be looked at in a better light. They both had their share of issues. Reid’s pass-heavy offense wasn’t always the best fit for our personnel and he was terrible with clock management. McNabb’s passing could be erratic and he had that nerve/conditioning issue… or whatever it was. But we’ve never been as good as we were during their time together here. And I really appreciate them both for what they did for the team.
I do think it was best for both us and Andy to break things off. After a while, you just need a fresh start. My wishlist for a new coach was that he have a commitment to the run and that he get a quality Defensive Coordinator with NFL experience. So how do I feel about Chip Kelly? Well I like Chip. I was very interested in seeing him in the NFL. And at the same time, I am nervous with his NFL trial being on our team. I have heard quite a few people say his offense won’t work in the NFL, but I think we will see him adapt his scheme to the NFL fine. The good news is he does have a run-first system, so hopefully McCoy and Brown will be getting the kind of work their talent deserves. As for my D Coordinator wish, that issue is still up in the air. We will just have to wait for that one to shake out.
The Read Option Makes an Impact in the NFL: I love the option offense. The triple option in particular was my favorite play when I was younger, but I really loved Nebraska’s I-formation take on the option offense. I was taken by the spread-option look with its zone-read in the early part of this century. I liked Rich Rodriguez’s version of it at West Virginia, but it was Vince Young’s mastery of this offense in 2005 that pushed it over to being my favorite offense. So I was thrilled to see it impact the NFL in such a large fashion throughout this past season. It was especially satisfying after years of hearing that the option would never work in the NFL. RG3 and Colin Kaepernick running it out of the pistol offense, another formation I grew to love from the college game in recent years, was a particular joy to watch this season. It will be interesting to see if it continues to make an impact next season in a similar way or if it is one of those things that teams catch up to. I am obviously hoping for the former.
Peterson’s Amazing Year: I can’t even put into words how impressive Adrian Peterson’s season was. I mean the speed at which he returned from injury was amazing. But he also had his best year ever and one of the best in NFL history for a running back, all without much of a passing game to take attention away from him. The MVP was well-deserved and he probably deserved Comeback Player of the Year too, but Peyton getting an award for his impressive return makes sense too. While on the topic of awards, I think they picked the right guy in Robert Griffin III for Rookie of the Year, but that was a tough choice too.
Nick Saban is the Worst: I don’t like when teams win a lot. I mean if it is one of my teams, of course I love it. But some other team… no thanks. It just gets annoying. So not only has Alabama won too much in recent years, they are led by Nick Saban who by all accounts is completely unlikable. I hate him and Bama so much at this point, I was actually rooting for Notre Dame in the championship. I mean a lot of good that did me, but the point is I can’t stand this team/coach combo anymore. And they should continue to be in the mix for years. It will be brutal.
Florida State’s Season: My Seminoles had a good year and we have continued to take steps in the right direction since Jimbo Fisher took over. It was still frustrating at times. No more than during that loss against NC State. I can’t help but wonder what might have been if we had shown up even a bit in the second half of that game. Rolling into the Florida game undefeated would have been really interesting especially given all the late season losses by other undefeated teams. Oh well. We shall see what happens next year. Hopefully we continue to move forward even with a new QB at the helm.
That Final Game: The Super Bowl was insane. I predicted a seven point win for the Niners going in (27-20) and was rooting for them as well (I think at least partially because of my aforementioned love of the option plays they were running). So I was disappointed to see them seemingly get run out of the stadium early on. To be honest, I don’t hate the Ravens, them winning is okay with me. But the Niners I saw this season were a better team than this. And hey, who doesn’t want a competitive Super Bowl. And then the power outage happened. As the Niners came back, I wanted them to win that much more just for the craziness of it all. I found the way they handled the end of that final drive of theirs to be pretty questionable, but what a blast that second half was to watch. A great way to end the season. I miss football already.