WR Torrey Smith celebrates a Super Bowl victory

The 2012-2013 NFL season has come to a close, the Ravens are Super Bowl champions and Ray Lewis goes out on top once again. This season has truly been one of the strangest and most memorable NFL seasons to date, let’s take a look at why.

BountyGate

Gregg Williams

Before the season even began one of the biggest stories of the year hit. Nearly the entire Saints coaching staff and several of their current and former players faced heavy penalties for the teams alleged “pay-for-play” program. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is still suspended by the league, but has a job waiting for him with the Rams if he is reinstated by Roger Goodell. Sean Peyton missed the entire season also due to suspension; Jonathon Vilma spent most of his season in courtrooms fighting his suspension.

Even with all of these sanctions most people believed the Saints would still make the playoffs. After all they did still have Drew Brees at quarterback and you couldn’t ask for a better person to lead a team after a scandal like this. It wasn’t to be though as they started off the year 0-4 including a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, who ended the season with the worst overall record in the league, at home in the SuperDome. The Saints ended the year 7-9, their worst mark since they lost the same amount of games in 2007, the year before their Super Bowl.

Replacement Refs

Once the season kicked off, our old pal Roger Goodell had yet another problem when he couldn’t work a deal with the NFL referees. I was of the belief that the refs called in to replace Ed Hoculi and his ilk wouldn’t really make that much of a difference. I wasn’t expecting them to be absolutely incompetent, but that’s exactly what they were. For me it started on Sunday Night Football week 3, Patriots vs. Ravens. Up to that point the worst officiated game I had ever seen was Super Bowl XL where the Steelers stole a Lombardi from Seattle, but this game blew that one away. The calls, on both teams by the way, were just some of the worst phantom penalties I have ever had the displeasure of seeing. (By the way I still don’t think that field goal was good)

Touchdown? Interception? Bueller?

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Of course the pivotal moment of the replacement ref era came the next night, on the biggest stage, Monday Night Football. Seattle was driving as time expired, trying to beat Green Bay Packers. Rookie QB Russell Wilson threw up a prayer as the clock hit 0:00 to Golden Tate; the play was ultimately ruled a touchdown for Seattle and they walked out with a win, but it has to have the biggest asterisk next to it in the history of pro sports. You can look at that play anyway you want, M.D. Jennings intercepted that ball and the Packers should have won that game. It was the saddest excuse for officiating since….well the previous night. The only good thing you can say about that whole debacle is it brought back the real refs faster, and boy was it good to see Mike Carey and Ed Hoculi back on the field again so we could get mad at them for their bad calls.

Guys! Guys! Guys! We don’t have to deal with Ray Lewis anymore…wait

Oh Please!

I don’t like Ray Lewis; I never have and probably never will. I find his whole shtick extremely tiresome and quite honestly I think the whole thing is phony. In a lot of ways I find Lewis even more off-putting than Tim Tebow (and those who know me know how I feel about that man). So while I was happy to hear this would “be his last ride” *vomit*, it was bittersweet to see him end his career with a Super Bowl win.

But my real problem is that we really aren’t done with this guy. Soon after announcing this would be his final season, Lewis signed a contract with ESPN; so now I’ll have to see his face and hear his nonsensical speeches every damn week on NFL Countdown *vomit again*. (Aren’t you proud I talked about Ray Lewis without mentioning how he is a murderer…whoops)

The Jets are still the Jets

I thought I’d end on a light note that everyone can enjoy. In the 2009 and 2010 seasons the Jets made it to the AFC championship game. Everyone and their brother said it was their time; they were gearing up to dethrone the Patriots as the team in the AFC East. This year it all came crashing down on them, and it was glorious to witness.

The no-ring circus was especially entertaining this season

It really was over when they made the Tebow trade; we all should have known that was the end of the Jets (well I knew but whatever). But they still have to play the games and boy were those some awful games the Jets played, especially at home. Shut out at home by the 49ers, a pathetic 7-6 win over Arizona at home, and a loss to Miami in New Jersey by 21 points. The Jets are not a good football team and it starts with the ownership; Woody Johnson simply does not care about winning football games. He only cares about getting more headlines than the Giants, even if it means stinking beyond belief. The Jets ended a pathetic 6-10 year with a three game losing streak and were 3-5 in MetLife. It’s quite clear the Patriots will continue to have a stranglehold on the AFC East for a while. Here’s hoping the Jets blow their high draft pick and pass up another Warren Sapp. (I didn’t even mention the butt fumble did I…)

In Conclusion

The NFL is a year-round sport. We will have a bit of a break from NFL news for the next few weeks but the offseason is waiting in the wings right now to flood the market again once free agency begins. Then there is the draft, my favorite time of year. The combine, pro days, interviews, workouts, Mayock’s inane jabber, Kiper’s hair; it all just fills me with such hope and joy for yet another wonderful NFL season to come.

For my pre-offseason prediction, I’ll forever remain the homer. The Patriots are going back next year, and won’t it be sweet to win that 4th Lombardi in the house of the Giants and Jets, oh it sure will.

As for now though, well, March Madness is coming up soon…oh and baseball I guess.

Follow me on Twitter: @bill_slane

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