My dear readers…it’s taken me a few days to crawl out of my hole, after the sad realization that football has ended and I am staring down the barrel of seven months without sacking out on the couch, cheering loudly. Couple that with one of the least competitive Super Bowls in history, and some of the least creative ads, and is it any wonder I’m cranky right now?
But let’s look on the bright side. Free agency is about to be in full swing. The combine is inching closer. Draft day is coming along soon. And for every team except the Seattle Seahawks, it’s a new season, and your team has a perfect record (yes, I’m talking to you, Browns fans).
I’ll give the full skinny on all of those majestic events referenced above in a minute, but first let’s talk about the end of the season.
Of course I’m a Peyton Manning fan…who isn’t these days…but after following him since his Tennessee days, I was disappointed not to see him get his second ring and ride off into the sunset, a perfect drop the mike end to a near-perfect season. If Ray Lewis can have it, why not Peyton?
But alas, that’s not the way it went down. To say Denver was flat is an understatement. All aspects of the Broncos’ game – from offense, to defense, to special teams – were atrocious from the moment the very first snap zoomed over Manning’s head. Credit to Seattle for being the better team, but why was Denver so terrible?
Conspiracy theories of a “thrown game” are running amok online, as well as thoughts of the team being ill, or at least ill-prepared by their coaches. The world may never know, but the result was a Super Bowl that played out as #worstever on social media. Besides the obvious passionate fans on both sides, most people just want a good game on Super Bowl Sunday. And that it was not! Still, it was the highest-rated television event ever, and also produced the most Tweets in history.
The ads were also lackluster. You can see me in my other role as “marketing expert” here on Fox News breaking down the best and worst.
But the main sentiment I think most people have is that the most creative minds in the world are working on these ads, and this is it? Really, car companies? Really, Go Daddy? Even Budweiser, who produced the highest-rated ads, continued with their same formula of Clydesdales and cute animals. Endearing, yes, but not exactly Apple’s 1984. Overall, I was not blown away by creative talent this year and was hoping for better.
But…Bruno Mars. Girl, he’s amazing. Just the way he is.
Back to being cranky. Now, I’ll give you my thoughts on Seattle as World Champions. I’m a Pete Carroll fan from his USC days, and have always liked his coaching style. I think Seattle deserved this win and clearly was the best team (although I WILL point out my Colts beat both the Hawks and the Broncos this year! Whoop whoop!). However, what gnaws at me a bit is this…I have been a Colts fan for many many years. Over the last 13 years, the Colts have made the playoffs 11 times, won their division most years, been in two Super Bowls, won one, produced countless Pro Bowlers and overall have been a major contender each year. However, I can’t think of many instances where they’ve trash-talked opponents, belittled opponents after the game, came up with nicknames for their offense or defense, over-celebrated, or behaved like they haven’t been there before. Probably not a popular opinion, and certainly not what the media grooves on or covers. But I love my team and the class they bring to each and every game. I wish the Seahawks would follow the lead of their very classy and humble quarterback. Russell Wilson is far and away my favorite Seahawk…wish there were more of him and fewer Golden Tate’s on the team. Yes, I get it. They back it up. But maybe just let your play speak for itself and stop speaking up so much!
Again, I’m crotchety this week. That or I’m becoming my parents!
As far as football, this is the time of year where hope springs eternal. Your team has a shot! So does mine! So do all of em! So, let’s talk free agency. What is free agency anyway? In the NFL, free agents are divided into two types – restricted and unrestricted. Restricted free agents are players who have played three seasons or more and whose contract is expired. These players can negotiate a contract with any other team, but their current team has the right to match any offer. If they don’t match, they are paid an extra compensation in draft picks. Unrestricted free agents have four or more seasons and an expired contract, and can sign with any other team with no restrictions. Teams can also designate one unrestricted free agent with a Franchise Tag, which means they get to keep that player for a year, but have to pay them either 120% of their previous salary, or the average of the top five players at their position, whichever is higher.
Free agency begins on March 11 at 4p EST, and restricted free agents can sign until April 19. Unrestricted free agents have until July 22, or the first day of training camp.
What’s the combine and why should I care? The NFL Combine is a weeklong showcase held annually in Indianapolis, where the nation’s top college players come together and perform a series of mental and physical tests. This event is by invitation only and is critically important for NFL teams in determining what players to draft. Even more important, the Feb. 19-25 event features shirtless “man candy” photos of all of the athletes. It’s just like the swimsuit competition in a beauty pageant. Sexist? More like turnabout is fair play. Don’t worry, I’ll post pics.
Draft day is where the best college players are chosen in order determined by the teams’ record last year. So you’re welcome, Houston Texans. Enjoy the first pick. This year’s draft has been pushed back to May and we will have lots to say on that soon. I simply can’t stay away from football for too long. You can check out the important off season dates here.
All in all, it’s been an incredible and majestic year in football. I daresay that the playoff and Super Bowl results this year will be shaping the league for years to come. Are we seeing the end of the days of the pocket passers and offensive juggernauts? I believe a whole different style of offense will slowly take over the league, and one day we will all reminisce about Peyton, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and the lot, while “surprise” late round draft picks emerge as amazing players, leading up-and-coming teams into the playoffs. Historic times, as I always say.
I’m so thankful for all of you faithful readers who joined me this year. I’ll be covering all of the exciting offseason events that affect your team, and I’m already dreaming about next season. Hope you are too, because as of right now, it’s anyone’s to take!