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Chris graduated from Georgia State University in 2009 with degrees in Journalism and Creative Writing. He has spent a lot of time working with the media. From engineering radio broadcast for most of Atlanta’s major sports teams to shooting high school football games behind a camera, Chris has a lot of media experience. Besides that, he loves soccer, detective shows, and a buffet list of 'nerdy' things that would embarrass his wife.

12 Disappointments of the 2014 NFL Season

Johnny Football

The Johnny Football show is finally ready to make its debut in 2014. (Image Credit: Thomas Ondrey/The Plain Dealer)

As another NFL season reaches its finale during the holidays, we’re all reminded of how misguided our predictions were back in the fall. For all of the entertainment it provides, the League is equally as adept when it comes to providing let downs or surprises. Whether you just knew that Tampa Bay was going to make it back to the promise land or bet the farm that Johnny Football would be the best QB of this year’s rookie class, we’ve all been caught off-guard by some of 2014s developments. So without further ado, here are the 12 disappointments of the 2014 NFL season.

1. The Worst Division in History

The NFC South

The rest of the NFC must be chomping at the bit to play one of these teams in the playoffs. (Image Credit: USA Today)

Sure, every division sends a representative to the postseason, but not every division deserves to. Normally we say that it’s great to have so many teams in contention to win the division around this time of the year (like the NFC West last year). However, the listless Panthers, underachieving Saints, “generous” Buccaneers and incompetent Falcons haven’t put on many thrilling contest except against one another. Whoever manages to come on top is guaranteed a spot in playoffs and a home game in the first round. Meanwhile, a team with twice as many wins will likely be sitting at home while one of these teams get blown out.

2. Some QBs Get No Love

I’m not sure what it is about sports analysts exuding a presence of superiority, but even if you own multiple rings or are in the Hall of Fame, you have to give credit where credit is due. I heard too many “experts” deem QBs like Alex Smith and even Russell Wilson average passers or game managers just because they weren’t putting up Peyton (outside of cold weather games) or Brady numbers in the air at the beginning of the year. While their teams do boast pretty tremendous defenses, it’s ignorant to claim that these QBs haven’t contributed to their teams’ success. The term “career backups” has been thrown around plenty too. Sometimes the “experts” forget that Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady were “backups” at one time in their careers, and Drew Brees was let go by the Chargers before finding success with the Saints. Let’s just judge everyone after the end of the season.

3. Oakland Flails Again

What happens when you put a ton of money into aging defensive players, veteran RBs and Matt Schaub? Just another day in Raider Nation. While the season didn’t go as planned for those inside the Oakland front office, the Raiders may have a bright future if they can get Derek Carr better protection and get Latavius Murray some space to run. Khalil Mack also looks more like a number 1 overall pick than Clowney. Even with two improbable wins under their belt this year, the organization needs a lot more retooling, including a coach who can get the most out of his players. It wouldn’t hurt to cut ties with some of the dead weight either. Fact: Darren McFadden has almost played for Oakland (going on 7 years) as long as Brian Westbrook played for the Eagles (8 years). Just think about that.

4. Bye-Bye Jim

Jim Harbaugh San Francisco 49ers

No matter how the Niners finish, they may have a new coach next year. (Image Credit: Cary Edmondson/USA Today Sports)

 No matter what your level of success, it’s hard to thrive when you’re not wanted. The rumor mill has been churning with stories of Jim Harbaugh and the 49er ownership looking to part company at the end of the season. For a coach to come in and turn the already present talent (from Mike Singletary’s reign) into 3-time NFC Championship finalists it’s a real feat. No one can be sure what has gone on behind the scenes, but it’s hard to not see the writing is already on the wall. He’s a good coach though, and shouldn’t be out of work long.

5. TOO MUCH CONTROVERSY

Whether it’s the numerous domestic abuse scandals, overkill on punishments or just the day-to-day of the commissioner himself, the NFL didn’t do much good for its image and branding this year.

6. Owners Not Payin’

Exhibit A.) Steve Smith. I’m sure Cam would love to have the former Panthers #89 in the slot opposite Kelvin Benjamin. But hey, Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant (who has now been cut) were available at a great rate…

Exhibit B.) Darren Sproles. Someone definitely dropped the ball on this one. The Saints could have used him during the first four weeks of the season.

Exhibit C.) Emmanuel Sanders. Imagine what Big Ben’s life would be like with him, Antonio Brown, a healthy Heath Miller, Martavius Bryant and Marcus Wheaton. Better yet, if the Steelers make the playoffs and end up facing the Broncos, imagine their shambolic defense attempting to mark Sanders.

7. Confidence-A-Frayin’

The state of the rookie QB has taken a step back this year, with Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater, Zach Mettenberger. None of these QBs can boast a very high passer rating, nor can they claim to be apart of winnings teams. Confidence is a powerful thing and if the organizations don’t get the rest of their squads right, then these young careers will never flourish…

8. “Franchise” Throwers Dwindling

Sam Bradford Rams

Remember the last time Sam Bradford played? (Image Credit: Bob Donnan/USA Today

…Which brings us here. It’s amazing how fast the League can change. QBs that were once seen as the “faces of the franchise” are now, more or less, just a bunch of signal callers with inflated contracts. Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford and Jay Cutler are just some of the quarterbacks who haven’t lived up to the lofty expectations cast onto them by the contracts they’ve signed. Others like Geno Smith and EJ Manuel never really got started.

9. Old Faces Toiling

While Steven Jackson never really got the credit he deserved for being the only source of offense for the Rams back in the day, he should have retired before joining Atlanta. This year was supposed to be the year that the big back helped the Falcons’ “high-octane” offense make it back to the NFC Championship game. He’s averaging less than 4 yards per carry.

10.  Penalties Are Spoiling

You only have to read this article from Mike Pereira of Fox Sports to see the dramatic increase in penalties called this season. While player safety is important in the case of illegal hits and concussions, a lot of these penalties are making the games hard to watch and making it almost impossible to be a defensive back in the NFL.

11. Competing Misunderstood

Meanwhile, there are plays like the ones that Dominic Raiola of the Detroit Lions made in week 12 that are completely legal and go unpunished by the NFL.

12. Battle-Damaged Goods

Tony Romo

One more hit could be the last of Romo’s career. (Image Credit: AP Images)

While we often complain about players not toughing it out when they have a injury, forgetting completely that in the end it is all just a game, a lot of the athletes that play week in and week out are actually playing through small injuries. Whether it’s Tony Romo’s back, Jimmy Graham’s shoulder or whatever was plaguing Cam Newton earlier this year, it’s not easy to play through the pain. After every season, you’ll hear about an athlete getting surgery or having a procedure done to fix an issue that was nagging them all season long. I know first hand how playing through an injury can lead to long-term issues. Question: are the GMs and owners not taking the necessary steps to give themselves cover for their stars’ absences?

 Shall we all sing together?

The 12 Disappointments the NFL gave to me…Battle-Damaged Goods, Competing Misunderstood, Penalties Are Spoiling, Old Faces Toiling, “Franchise” Throwers Dwindling, Confidence-A-Frayin’, Owners Not Payin’, TOO MUCH CONTROVERSY, Bye Bye Jim, Oakland Flails Again, Some QBs Get No Love and The Worst Division in History!

Happy Holidays!

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One Comment on “12 Disappointments of the 2014 NFL Season”

  1. Andrew Rogers December 12, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    I agree with all of this. The NFC South has been an absolute nightmare this season. I’m a diehard Saints fan, but even I agree with you on the whole “maybe no one from this division should make the playoffs” but then again, the year the Giants were in the worst division, they won it all so… who knows? But it’s crazy that the uber competitive AFC North may only have one (possibly two) teams in the playoffs.

    I’m also highly in agreement with your assertion that penalties are ruining games too often in the league. I hate when a good game is ruined by a stupid, highly debatable call. I’ve always been a fan of laissez-faire officiating. Let them play and only call the most blatant stuff.

    I also agree with you about the media not giving credit where credit is due, but they’ve always been like that. They worship Brady and Peyton and if anyone else does well, it has nothing to do with the quarterback and everything to do with the receives/defense/coaching, etc. It’s frustrating. And I get it, Brady and Peyton are consistent performers, but let’s not pretend that Seattle and KC would be the same without Wilson and Smith. Anyway, that’s my rant. Good article for a wild, unpredictable season! Looking forward to the post season.

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