The Paw Print
Just like every other NFL season, this year had memorable moments. Let’s take a look back at all of the events that made this season a year to remember.
NFL Lockout: In all honesty, no one knew if there would be a 2011 NFL season. When the NFL owners and the NFL Players Association could not come to an agreement, the NFL went into a lockout that lasted for 132 days. During that time, the NFL Players Association decertified and many players filed lawsuits. The lockout lasted until July 25.
Peyton Manning: In his fourteenth season of his career, the 11 time Pro Bowl selection and 1 time Super Bowl champion was unable to play due to a neck injury. Without their star QB under center, the Indianapolis Colts fell to 2-14 on the season and secured the first overall draft pick for next season. The Colts went on to fire head coach Jim Caldwell.
The Packers: Coming off a Super Bowl victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Green Bay Packers, led by Aaron Rodgers, helped themselves to a 14-0 start. They finally fell in week 15 to the Kansas City Chiefs, 19-14. Securing a bye in the first round of the playoffs, they went on to lose in the second round 37-20 to the New York Giants, who would go on to win the Super Bowl.
Al Davis: Hall of Famer and Raiders owner Al Davis died at age 82.
The Denver Broncos: A 1-4 start from Kyle Orton left Denver Broncos fans clamoring for a change at the quarterback position. Finally, Tim Tebow took over the program. Stirring up worshipers and disbelievers alike, Tebow led the Broncos to an 8-8 record and a playoff berth. Under tremendous scrutiny, the Broncos pulled off a 29-23 victory on an 80 yard pass play from Tim Tebow to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime. Tebow threw for 316 yards in the game. The Broncos went on to lose to New England 45-10.
Tebowing: After openly expressing his religion, the media thrust Tim Tebow’s praying pose into the spotlight in a social craze called Tebowing. Tebowing (verb) is to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different. The craze has even sparked a web site dedicated to Tebowing, with fans and celebrities from around the world posting their most creative Tebowing picture. Check out the website at tebowing.com. On Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Tim Tebow said “‘I gotta believe I’m probably not the first athlete to get on a knee and pray. Just throwing that out there.”
Suck For Luck: The term that circled the NFL and the media regarding a team’s desire to lose games in order to lock in the first pick of the NFL draft. Having the first pick would allow a team to select the highly coveted Andrew Luck, quarterback at Stanford.
Drew Brees: Drew Brees broke the NFL record for single-season passing yards that was previously held by Dan Marino. In a 45-16 win over the Falcons, Brees reached 5,087 yards to surpass Marino in the record books.
Super Bowl XLVI: The New England Patriots and New York Football Giants squared off at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for a rematch of Super Bowl XLII. According to NBC Sports, 111.3 million viewers tuned into the game, making it the most-watched television program in US history. The game featured two high-powered offenses led by Hall of Fame caliber quarterbacks. The Giants pulled out on top 21-17, due in part to Eli Manning’s ability to keep cool under pressure, and a skillful catch by wide receiver Mario Manningham on the game-winning drive. The Giants were crowned world champions and went on to celebrate in Disney World.