By Nick Rapier
Want to know something you may have already forgotten about over the recent months? Remember those guys dressed up like zebras running around the field while NFL players ran and threw for touchdowns? The replacement refs sucked, there is no disputing that. What I find interesting is the ability of the NFL to make us completely forget about the abysmal officiating that started this season. The reason being is that this season has been host to a multitude of fascinating moments as well as unpredictable upsets, confusing contenders, and a record seeking runner/receiver tandem. Things we don’t expect captivate us, and it is for this reason, that this season in the NFL has been particularly remarkable.
Forgive me for even alluding to the New York Jets quarterback that has not played much this year, but did anyone foresee such a shortage of playing time for him this season? What about the Falcons and Texans, who had them at both 13-2 and 12-3 respectively after 15 games? Granted the Falcons have been a formidable team in years passed, but not 13-2. Peyton didn’t miss a beat with the Broncos, but I doubt any of our readers expected the Colts to be sitting at 10-5 with a good chance of making the playoffs. What is even more shocking is that Andrew Luck, who has had a stellar rookie season, may not have even had the best season for a rookie quarterback. RG3 has his Redskins in a tie atop the NFC East while baffling defenses on a weekly basis with a Passer Rating of 104.2 (2nd to only Aaron Rodgers, who isn’t too bad). What about the season that J.J. Watt has had in Houston with 19.5 sacks so far? Doug Martin has been a pleasant rookie surprise for the Bucs. The list goes on and on because this season has already produced story after story. Week in and week out we have been wowed by incredible performances, but none have been as consistently spectacular as the weekly dominance by Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson.
Both the Viking and the Lion have chances to cement their names in the record books by having perhaps one of the best seasons of all time for their respective positions. Peterson needs 294 yards in his last 2 games to break Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record of 2,105 yards. This record has stood since 1984 (28 years for those who are not mathematically gifted). Johnson needed only 183 yards to break Jerry Rice’s single season receiving record of 1,848 yards. This record has not been touched since 1995 (17 years for those same individuals). While Calvin had an easy path over 2 weeks to indeed break Jerry Rice’s record (and he did it in one), it would not surprise me if we see more than one longstanding record tumble.That being said, AP has been a monster man beast this season, and to sell his chances short would be ignorant. I’m fairly sure most of us believed Dickerson’s and Rice’s respective records to be safe as this season commenced. Not only was that incorrect, but it seems as if both may finish the season slotted in the 2nd position of the record books.
Both of these titans of today’s game are a threat to own the gridiron on any given Sunday (yes, or possibly Monday or Thursday). Fortunately for Vikings Peterson has lived up to his nickname “All Day” this season, but his dominance does not end when the sun goes down. This dude runs over linebackers and plows corners all night as well. Maybe a more accurate nickname would be “All.” One thing we can all agree on is that if Megatron was cast in the Transformers movies, little Shia LaBeouf would not have stood a chance. Who can guard this guy in the NFL? The only time he can even be slowed down is when they double or triple team him. We have been blessed with a fantastic NFL season thus far, and I can only hope the playoffs are equally as exhilarating. With only a week remaining in the regular season several questions remain. Will AP break the record? Who makes the playoffs (Super Bowl)? It looks as if the Chiefs and Jaguars are the class of the league, so look for them to both make it to the Super Bowl. That being said… not really. Replacement refs? Never heard of ‘em.