Tag Archives: AFC

The Kansas City Chiefs Mt. Rushmore

Arrowhead Stadium has been recognized by the Guinness World Record book for being “the loudest outdoor stadium in the world.” Photo Credit: Chiefs.com

The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the charter AFL teams, when they were the Dallas Texans. In their 55 seasons, they’ve won 3 AFL Championships, 1 Super Bowl (IV), 8 Division titles, and made the playoffs 18 times (3 in the last 6 seasons).

Kansas City has one of the most rabid fans bases. Chiefs fans have helped the team have the 2nd highest attendance rate over the last decade, despite being in the sixth smallest media market amongst NFL teams. Those fans have helped make Arrowhead the loudest outdoor stadium in the world, accruing to the Guinness World Records. And several former Chiefs they have cheered on, also have some very impressive records. The following four are the ones I’ve chosen to be on Kansas City’s Mount Rushmore.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Len Dawson (1962-1975) played 19 seasons in the NFL, but his most notable years came with this franchise. He is the team’s career leader in wins (93), passing yards (28,507) and touchdown passes (237). Dawson won 3 AFL Championships (1962, 1966, 1969) and Super Bowl IV, taking home the games’ MVP award. Dawson is a 6-time AFL All-Star, Pro Bowl and 4-time All-AFL selection, and he won the AFL MVP in 1962.

Tony Gonzalez (1997-2008) arguably the greatest tight end in Pro Football history, is the Chiefs all-time leader in catches (916), receiving yards (10,940), receiving touchdowns (76) and holds several team records. As a 10-time Pro Bowl and 9-time All-Pro Selection in his time in Kansas City, before moving on to Atlanta for his final four seasons, Gonzalez holds twenty-five NFL records. He is a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, and is the first tight end to ever catch 1,000 passes, have the most pro bowl selections by a tight end, and is 2nd all-time in receptions, 5th all-time in receiving yards, and 6th all-time in receiving touchdowns. In 2010, NFL.com ranked him 45th on their “100 Greatest Players” list.

Derrick Thomas (1989-1999) was a sack artist and the most feared pass rusher in the NFL during his 11-year career. Thomas is the Chiefs all-time sack leader (126.5), 1st in recovered fumbles for touchdowns (4), safeties (3), forced fumbles (41), fumbles recovered (19), and 3rd in total tackles (601). The 9-time Pro Bowl and 6-time All-Pro selection is a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. He holds the NFL single game record for sacks (7). The Chiefs retired his jersey number 58, and he was posthumously elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

Hank Stram (1960-1974) is the franchise’s all-time leader in coaching victories (124) and led them to 3 AFL Championships (1962, 1966, 1969), the most in AFL history, and their only Super Bowl victory (IV). Stram is the first coach in the team’s history going back to when they were the Dallas Texans, before moving to Kansas City in 1963. Coach Stram never used an offensive/defensive coordinator or special teams coach in his time on the sideline. The 1968 AFL Coach of the Year winner is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

There you have it, “Chiefs Kingdom.” Let me know what you think.

The Cincinnati Bengals Mt. Rushmore

“The Jungle” in Cincinnati has been pretty wild for Bengals fans and their teams, and not always in a good way.

The last time we saw the Cincinnati Bengals in a meaningful game, they were self-destructing themselves into their seventh consecutive Wild Card playoff loss dating back to the 2005 playoffs. They went from being totally outplayed for three quarters, to coming back to take the lead in the 4th quarter and had the game all but sealed with a late interception, to fumbling while trying to chew the clock, followed by their erratic behavior that set up the game losing field goal. The roller coaster ride of a loss to hated AFC North division rival the Pittsburgh Steelers should come as no surprise. That’s been the theme of this franchise for the past 30 season.

In the 1980s they competed in two Super Bowls (XVI, XXIII) after two 12-4 seasons, and won 4 playoff games in the decade. That was followed by the 1990s, where they suffered 8 losing seasons, one 8-8 season (1996) and only made the playoffs once (1990). Then came the 2000s, where in the last 16 seasons, they’ve had 6 losing seasons, 3 seasons of 8-8, 7 winning seasons that led to 4 AFC North division titles, and 5 consecutive losses in the AFC Wild Card. So you can see why so many fans in “The Jungle” left Paul Brown Stadium distraught and in tears this past January.

All In all, their history isn’t so bad. The following four guys, were the bright spots in their roller coaster time in the “Queen City.”

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Paul Brown (1968-1975) is one of the few who can say he’s majorly instrumental in the history of two franchises. He retired from the Bengals with 55 wins and ushered the team to the NFL from the AFL. He won two division titles and made the playoffs 3 seasons in his 8-years as the head guy in the “Queen City.” He can be credited as having the greatest impact on creating the craze football has on the state of Ohio, due to his success in building iconic programs at the high school (Massilion High), collegiate (Ohio State) and professional levels. Even with the success of current head coach Marvin Lewis who is the team’s all-time winningest coach with 112 victories, no one person is more responsible for this team than Mr. Brown.

Anthony Munoz (1980-1992) is widely regarded as one of the greatest offensive lineman in NFL history, if not “THE” greatest. He is so revered he was rated the #12 player of all-time by NFL.com in 2010, the highest of any offensive lineman. The third overall pick by the Bengals in 1980 went on to be an 11-time Pro Bowl and 11-time 1st-Team All-Pro selection. Three times he was awarded the Offensive Lineman of the Year (1981, 1987, 1988) honor. Munoz played in two Super Bowls (XVI, XXIII) and is a member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade and NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time teams. In 1998 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first-year of eligibility.

Ken Anderson (1971-1986 player; 1993-2002 QB Coach) led the Bengals to their first AFC Championship in 1981. Anderson is Cincinnati’s all-time leader in career wins (91), games played (192), passing yards (32,838), pass touchdowns (197), completions (2,654) and attempts (4,475). The 4-time Pro Bowler and 3-time All-Pro, was the NFL MVP, NFL Offensive Player of the Year and NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1981. Anderson was ranked 6th all-time in passing yards for a career when he retired in 1986. His 93.5 postseason quarterback rating still ranks seventh in NFL History.

Chad Johnson (2001-2010) brought the flamboyance to the “Jungle” and helped make the team relevant again, despite the team only having two winning seasons with two playoff appearances, and detractors over his celebrating style. The 6-time Pro Bowl and 4-time All-Pro selection is the Bengals all-time leader in receptions (751), receiving yards (10,783), and receiving touchdowns (66). “Ochocinco” is a member of the Bengals 40th Anniversary Team.

There you have it Bengal fans. I want to hear from you now. Did I get it right? If not, what would your list look like? Maybe Boomer Esiason? Corey Dillion? Let me have it.

The Denver Broncos Mt. Rushmore

Broncos Country is home to the reigning Super Bowl champs.

The defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos are still riding miles high from this past season’s victorious ending.

The Super Bowl 50 win brought the “Orange Crush” it’s third Lombardi Trophy in team history. Overall in their 55 seasons of pro football, the Broncos have also won 8 AFC Championships, 15 Division titles, and made the playoffs 22 times.

The organization is as accomplished, or more than, many of the franchises that have been around twice as long as they have. And, the following four guys are most responsible for that.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

John Elway (1983-1999 as player; 2011-present as GM & VP of football operations) is by far the most recognized and beloved Bronco in team history. He’s the team’s all-time leader in wins (148), passing yards (51,475), which is 4th in NFL history, passing touchdowns (300), completions (4,123) and attempts (7,250). The 9-time Pro Bowl and 3-time All-Pro selection led Denver to 2 Super Bowl Championships (XXXII, XXXIII) and 5 AFC Championship titles, he’s added another Super Bowl (50) trophy and 2 more AFC Championship titles to his resume as the General Manager and Vice President of Football Operations with the franchise, although his place was solidified due to his playing career. The 1987 NFL MVP was MVP of Super Bowl XXXIII and is a member of the NFL’s 1990s All-Decade team, the Broncos Ring of Honor and has his jersey number 7 retired by the team. In 2004, Elway was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Terrell Davis (1995-2001) didn’t have the longest career in the NFL compared to many greats I’ve mentioned on other team’s Mount Rushmore, but his impact was extremely significant to Denver’s history. Plus, many make it clear to mention, Elway never won a Super Bowl without T.D. Davis is the Broncos all-time leader in rushing yards (7,607), rushing touchdowns (60) and rushing attempts (1,655). He helped the Broncos win 2 Super Bowl titles (XXXII, XXXIII) and was named MVP of Super Bowl XXXII. The 6th round draft pick won NFL MVP in 1998, the same season he surpassed the 2,000 yard rushing mark. #30 was a 3-time Pro Bowl and 3-time All-Pro selection, a member of the NFL 1990’s All-Decade and Broncos 50th Anniversary Teams. He is one of only six players to rush for more than a 1,000-yards (1,140) in the postseason, and he’s the only one to do it and play less than 12 seasons.

Mike Shanahan (1995-2008) is the Broncos all-time leader in wins by a coach with 138. He led the Broncos to their first 2 Super Bowl victories (XXXII, XXXIII) and the playoffs 7 times during his tenure. The team set the NFL record for most victories (46-10) in a three-year period until his leadership.

Karl Mecklenburg (1983-1994) is one of the stars of Denver’s original “Orange Crush” defense that helped the Broncos win 3 AFC Championships (1986, 1987, 1989). He finished his career as the second all-time leading sacker in team history, and was a 6-time Pro Bowl and 4-time All-Pro selection. Mecklenburg was inducted into the Broncos Ring of Honor in 2001.

There you have it Broncos Country. Did I get it right? If not, who should be here instead? Shannon Sharpe? Rod Smith? Tom Jackson? Or Champ Bailey? Let me hear from you.

The Buffalo Bills Mt. Rushmore

Western New York has seen their fair share of all-time greats. Photo Credit: Buffalobills.com

The team that represents western New York, and is beloved in parts of Canada, the Buffalo Bills have struggled in recent seasons. They haven’t made the playoffs since 1999, the last season in a decade that brought the franchise many of its greatest moments.

Despite the playoff drought, the Bills have won 2 League Championships (AFL), 4 AFC Championships, 10 Division Championships, and made the playoffs 17 times in their 55 season history. Even without a Super Bowl championship in four consecutive tries, outside of the fan bases of the teams they lost to, those Bills teams may be remembered more because of their perseverance and persistence to continue in pursuit of their goal.

Who ever said “no one remembers who came in second” must’ve said that before the Buffalo Bills of the 1990s. The players on those teams are all-time greats and were even celebrated in a recent documentary. And I’ll do the same, because a few of the key members on those Bills of the 90’s make the cut for my version of the BIlls Mount Rushmore.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Bruce Smith (1985-1999) The 2008 Bills Wall of Fame and 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrine finished his time in western New York with a franchise record 171 sacks and 941 tackles which puts him in 2nd place in team history. Smith was an 11-time Pro Bowler, 9-time 1st-team All-Pro, 2-time 2nd-team All-Pro, 2-time AP Defensive Player of the Year (1990, 1996), 4-time UPI AFC Defensive Player of the Year (1987,1988,1990,1996), 3-time Pro Football Writers Association Defensive Player of the Year (1990, 1993, 1996), 2-time NEA Defensive Player of the Year (1990, 1993), and a member of the NFL’s 1980’s and 1990’s All-Decade team. The Team will officially retire his jersey (#78) this season, making him only the second player to receive this honor.

Jim Kelly (1986-1996) is the first player in team history to have his jersey number retired (#12). Kelly was a 5-time Pro Bowler, 1991 1st-team All-Pro, 1992 2nd-team All-Pro, 4-time AFC Champion and the Bills all-time career leader in wins (101), passing yards(35,467), passing touchdowns (237), pass attempts (4,779) and completions (2,874). He’s currently the last QB to lead the franchise to a playoff win. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Bills Wall of Fame in 2001.

Marv Levy (1986-1997;GM 2006-2007) Coached the Bills to 4 consecutive AFC Championship titles. In 1988 and 1993 he was awarded the United Press International NFL Coach of the Year award. His 112 career wins is the most in Bills team history. He’s a member of the NFL’s 1990’s All-Decade team and was inducted into the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame in 1996.

Thurman Thomas (1988-1999) with all due respect to O.J. Simpson–the Bills first ever Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrine (1980)–is the more complete running back and was a key member of their 4-time AFC Championship teams. Thomas was a 2-time 1st-team All-Pro, 3-time 2nd-team All-Pro, and 5-time Pro Bowler and led the NFL in yards from scrimmage from 1989 to 1992. The Bills all-time leader in rushing yards (11,938), rushing touchdowns (65) and rush attempts (2,849) is a member of the NFL’s 1990’s All-Decade team, and a 2005 inductee into the Bills Wall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

So there it is. Let me know what you think Bills Mafia. Should Hall of Famers Andre Reed and O.J. Simpson be on the list? Or did I get it right?

The Baltimore Ravens Mt. Rushmore

The Ravens 21 year history had been better than most teams that have been around three times as long.

The Baltimore Ravens are the second youngest franchise in the NFL. In 2016 they’ll play their 21st season. Barely old enough to gamble, and finally get rid of that vertical driver’s license.

But, in that time span, they’ve done more than some franchise’s that have been playing since the early stages of pro football. Kind of like real life. The Ravens are sort of like Mark Zukerberg, or some other college dropout who created a website or smartphone app and became a millionaire, while your sixty-five year old uncle, who is the family clown, still can’t figure out how to adult while on marriage number three.

The Ravens have won two Super Bowls (XXXV, XLVII), 4 AFC North division titles, and made the playoffs 10 times. As you see, very well accomplished since they returned pro football back to “Charm City” after late team owner Art Modell moved them from Cleveland, Ohio. The Ravens have been known as a defensive first franchise their entire existence, and have had several all time greats to lead them. That’s why unlike most of the expansion franchise in my Mount Rushmore exercise, this one wasn’t as difficult to compile. So, here is my Mount Rushmore for the Baltimore Ravens. By the way, as a Steelers fan, it made me sick to do this because these guys have on more than one occasion made many a fall Sunday’s extremely frustrating.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Ray Lewis (1996-2012) is a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer–he’ll be eligible in 2018–and is the Ravens all-time career leader in tackles (1,562), and was the driving force behind the franchise two Super Bowl tiles (XXXV, XLVII), winning MVP of Super Bowl XXXV. Lewis is also the Ravens career leader in fumble recoveries (20), 2nd in forced fumbles (19) and interceptions (31). #52 in black and purple holds the NFL record for most Pro Bowls for a Linebacker with 13, is tied with Lawrence Taylor for most All-Pro selections for a Linebacker with 10, and collected the most tackles in a single postseason with 51. He was twice named NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2000, 2003), a 13-time Pro Bowler, 7-time 1st-team All-Pro, 3-time 2nd-team All-Pro, 3-time AFC Defensive Player of the year (2000, 2001, 2003), 2-time NFL Alumni Linebacker of the Year (1999, 2003), and a member of the NFL’s 2000’s All-Decade team. He was inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor in 2013.

Ed Reed (2002-2012), is the Ravens career leader in interceptions (61), defensive touchdowns (7), and holds the NFL records for most career interception return yards (1,590), longest interception return (108 yards) and tied for 1st with 9 career postseason interceptions. Reed is a 9-time Pro Bowl selection, 5-time 1st-team All-Pro, 3-time 2nd-team All-Pro, 2004 AP NFL & AFC Defensive Player of the Year, 2-time NFL Alumni Defensive Back of the Year, 3 times he led the NFL in interceptions and twice led in interception return yards. He’s a member of the NFL’s 2000 All-Decade team and was inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor in 2015.

Jonathan Ogden (1996-2007) was the first ever pick in the franchise history and a key member of the Super Bowl XXXV winning team protecting the blind side for mediocre QBs, while opening up holes for a record setting running back. He’s an 11-time Pro Bowler, 5-time 1st-team All-Pro, 4-time 2nd-team All-Pro, 2002 NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year, and a member of the 2000’s All-Decade team. Ogden was inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor in 2008, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Jamaal Lewis (2000-2006) is Baltimore’s all-time leader in rushing yards (7,801), rushing attempts (1,822) and rushing touchdowns (45), and he did that with very inconsistent quarterback play. Jamaal Lewis was the tone setter on offense the way Ray Lewis was for the defensive unit. Jamaal was the only offensive threat on the Ravens Super Bowl XXXV winning team, and for his entire 6 seasons he played there. He made the Pro Bowl in 2003, the same season in which he won NFL MVP, NFL Offensive Player of the Year, NFL Alumni Running Back of the Year and AFC Player of the Year. He’s a member of the 2000’s All-Decade team, and a member of the 2,000 rushing yards (2,066) in a single season club (2003). He was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor in 2012.

So there you have it Ravens fans. Let me know what you think. I want to hear your opinion.

2013 NFL Storylines to Watch

By weeks end, all 32 NFL teams will be back on the field in pursuit of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. With the anticipation mounting and the regular season still seven weeks away, here are the top storylines to ponder as you wait for kickoff.

Is This The Beginning Of The Demise Of The New England Patriots?

Courtesy: NOLA.com

Tom Brady has lost two of his top three targets from last season. Aaron Hernandez is in jail awaiting trial after being indicted on murder charges, Wes Welker is now one of Brady’s rival’s (Peyton Manning) key threats with the Denver Broncos. Don’t forget his top target Rob Gronkowski is on the mend from a broken forearm that has been broken twice and back surgery. Lastly, the entire organization seems to be underfire again after Hernandez’s legal troubles, as well as cornerback Alfonzo Dennard’s DUI arrest.

So who are the Patriots? We will learn this season. This will likely be the most scrutinized and challenging season since Spygate and the 2008 season when Brady tore up his knee on the first play of the season. However, until another team defeats them for the AFC East title they’ll always be the favorite, but their reign may end soon with the moves the Miami Dolphins have made bringing in wideout Mike Wallace from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe from the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. Can the Pats use some Tebow magic? I can’t believe I just said that, I won’t go there.

Will RG III, Be RG III?

Courtesy: ESPN.com

Sophomore slump isn’t even the biggest concern for last season’s Rookie of The Year. Coming off a gruesome knee injury in the NFC Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks, where both his ACL and LCL needed surgery in the offseason, many are wondering if Robert Griffin will make an Adrian Peterson comeback or be like other mere mortals who have taken close to a full year to return to form.

The NFC West, The NFC’s Best?

Courtesy: devianART.com

There was a time recently when this division was known by many as the NFC worst. The San Francisco 49ers will begin their season with Quarterback Colin Kaepernick having his first full training camp as the starter. The reigning NFC Champions are all in for not only a return to the Super Bowl, but winning it all. Shortly after losing to the Baltimore Ravens, they traded for wide receiver Anquan Boldin from the reigning Champs. At the time it was seen as just a shrewed move for insurance purposes, but after the leading receiver Michael Crabtree blew his ACL in the offseason, the Boldin move is now even more important. If they have any shot of getting to Super Bowl 48 in New York, Boldin will have to be Kaepernick’s go to guy like he was for Joe Flacco.

The Seattle Seahawks are much improved as well, adding triple threat wide receiver Percy Harvin to their arsenal after making a trade with the Minnesota Vikings. Quarterback Russell Wilson will come into the season with a full training camp as the starter after battling and beating out Matt Flynn last season. Wilson is expected to be better and lead an offense that is more high powered than last season’s when they surprisingly made it to the Divisional Playoff round.

The St. Louis Rams went 4-1-1 in the division. This will be their second year under Head Coach Jeff Fisher and are expected to be improved on offense, especially with the addition of do it all weapon Tavon Austin. The Rams will need to find an answer at running back after losing Stephen Jackson to the Atlanta Falcons.

The Arizona Cardinals shouldn’t be totally inept at the Quarterback position after bringing in former Pro Bowler Carson Palmer from the Oakland Raiders. Palmer should be able to jump start an offense that let their defense down after getting off to a 4-0 start in 2012. If he can regain any of his old form he had with the Cincinnati Bengals, he should be able to help wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald revitalize the offense.

The winner of this division could very well be the NFC representative in Super Bowl 48.

What Defending Champions?

Courtesy: Sports Illustrated/CNN

The Baltimore Ravens lost 9 starters from their Super Bowl winning team including Iconic leaders Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, as well as Danell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger; that’s just on defense. As mentioned previously, they traded wide receiver Anquan Boldin to their Super Bowl 47 opponent. Can we really call them the defending champions?! The AFC North which is widely regarded as the best division in the NFL looks to be headed for a down year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost key Receiver Mike Wallace to the Miami Dolphins, former Defensive Player of The Year James Harrison now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, also the Steelers top ranked Defense from a year ago is another year older which has been the knock on them for the past three seasons. Don’t be surprised if this division will have a throwback to the late 1980s and come down to the battle of Ohio for the title.

Will Matt Ryan And The Dirty Birds Fly North For The Winter?

Courtesy: Atlanta Journal Constitution.com

Matty Ice and the Atlanta Falcons were 30 minutes away from representing the NFC in Super Bowl 47 before they collapsed to the 49ers. The Falcons have talked Tony Gonzales into postponing his time on the Hall of Fame clock for enshrinement, to return for a 17th season and another shot at an elusive Super Bowl. Running back Stephen Jackson brings his 10,135 rushing yards from St. Louis to the ATL to help balance out one of the best aerial attacks in the NFL. After winning his first playoff game in 4 season, it all falls on Matt Ryan. Can he be like Joe Flacco and EARN his place on the list of NFL elite QBs?

Rookie Quarterbacks

There is no Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson in this class. There was only one QB taken in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL draft. After last season’s class rivaled the one of 2004 with Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, not many are expecting much from this group of signal callers. However, there will be plenty of intrigue from the group. Will Geno Smith end the Mark Sanchez era with the New York Jets? Will Buffalo’s EJ Mannuel justify being selected 16th overall by the Buffalo Bills? Most had him pegged as a third rounder, second rounder at best. If the Philadelphia Eagles struggle early in Head Coach Chip Kelly’s first season, will he pull Michael Vick and look to the future in Matt Barkley out of USC? Barkley was said to be headed towards being a #1 pick whenever he decided to leave So Cal before an injury and unexpected down senior season.

Dallas Cowboys

When is America’s team not a storyline? Tony Romo got paid this offseason to the tune of 6 years $108 million, $55 million guaranteed. The expectation is now he’ll have more of role in the offensive game plan. Jerry Jones raised eyebrows when he said Romo will have “Peyton Manning like” responsibilities. Can Romo in his 10th season, finally get over the hump and restore glory to one of the most glamorous positions in all of sports?

Records Are Made To Be Broken

Courtesy: NY Daily News

Last season Minnesota Vikings Running back Adrian Peterson did the unthinkable for everyone but him and returned from a gruesome knee injury at the end of the 2011 season to fall 9 yards short of Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record in 2012. AP is on record as saying he wants to rush for 2,500 yards this season, which will shatter Dickerson’s record of 2,106.

Courtesy: ESPN.com

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson overcame the EA Sports Madden cover jinx to break Jerry Rice’s single season receiving yards record that stood since 1988. Megatron is already predicting he’ll be the first to receive over 2,000 yards in a single season.

Good luck to both of them. Every Defensive coordinator will have 8 in the box against the Vikings and triple coverage against the Lions planned all season. Either way, i’ll be watching to see if they can come through on their predictions.

Ice Bowl, I Mean Super Bowl 48.

Courtesy: Football.ballparks.com

Most people are looking forward to the Super Bowl not because of who will be playing in it, but because of the elements the game could be played under. The big game will be played outside in a cold weather city for the first time when the AFC and NFC champions take the field in MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014. In 2013, the temperature in the New York, New Jersey area on was 19 degrees on the same day. Will 2014 bring the same? Will a successful game in Super Bowl 48 open doors for other cold weather cities with outdoor stadiums like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago or Philadelphia to get a Super Bowl in the future?

My Predictions

I reserve the right to change this after the preseason before the opening game of week one. I’m confident in these picks barring MAJOR injuries.

Regular Season Awards:

Most Valuable Player: Quarterback, Matt Ryan (ATL)

Rookie of The Year: Running back, Monte Ball (DEN)

Defensive Rookie of The Year: Linebacker, Jarvis Jones (PIT)

Defensive Player of The Year: Linebacker, DeMarcus Ware (DAL)

Coach of The Year: Pete Carroll (SEA)

Division Winners:

AFC East: Miami Dolphins

AFC North: Cincinnati Bengals

AFC South: Houston Texans

AFC West: Denver Broncos

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys

NFC North: Green Bay Packers

NFC South: Atlanta Falcons

NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

Conference Championship Games:

NFC: Atlanta Falcons Vs. Seattle Seahawks. Winner: Atlanta Falcons

AFC: Houston Texans Vs. Denver Broncos. Winner: Houston Texans

Super Bowl 48: Atlanta Falcons vs. Houston Texans; Champion: Atlanta Falcons

Getting Tony Gonzales to return and signing Stephen Jackson will keep the continuity of the most high powered offense in the NFL. This is what Matt Ryan needs in addition to getting the playoff monkey off his back to lead this team to its first Super Bowl title. 15 years after their first and only Super Bowl appearance, the Dirty Bird returns to dance at the 50 yard line in the New Meadowlands.