It’s that time of year again, where commonplace activities are miracles, and we wrestle Frank Costanza after bemoaning all the people and things that have disappointed us over the year. NFL fans, for the most part, have quite a bit of grief to air, and we’re going to be a mouthpiece for these grievances. Even fans of teams like the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos have something to lash out against, and we’re here to help you celebrate Festivus by listing out some of these grievances. For some teams, it was difficult to come up with something, but I tried my best. Also, think of the tone as something of a “whiny fan” for some of these, so insults directed at the likes of Greg Schiano and Cary Williams are purely for entertainment purposes.
New England Patriots
No team has been hit harder by injuries than the Patriots, and they added two more to their list when both Devin McCourty and Shane Vereen went down with injuries. McCourty has been one of the few pieces of duct tape left holding the injury-ravaged (Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork, and Tommy Kelly have all suffered season-ending injuries this year), so they can’t afford the elite free safety miss an extended period of time. The Patriots are the most resilient team in the league, having played through injuries to Mayo, Wilfork, Kelly, Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard, Sebastian Vollmer, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Vereen, Steve Gregory, Nate Solder, Kenbrell Thompkins, and Aaron Dobson. It’s incredible to think that they are 11-4 and have scored wins over the likes of the Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, and now the Baltimore Ravens in a blowout.
The Richie Incognito saga was absolutely brutal, and it’s caused an already poor Dolphins offensive line to become even worse. Thank goodness for Ryan Tannehill‘s ability to thrive under pressure, otherwise the Dolphins would have been screwed over by now. Lamar Miller is a talented back, but nobody can run behind those running lanes. The Dolphins are the best team out of the group vying for the final spot in the AFC playoffs, but they really laid an egg yesterday in an upset loss against the Buffalo Bills. I mean, they were friggin’ shut out. Oh well, at least the Patriots helped them out by pounding the Ravens into submission.
6-9 ain’t bad and is aesthetically an interesting record to look at, but c’mon, they have plenty to grieve. Sure Doug Marrone is a good coach and we’re headed in the right direction, but they had some bad luck with injuries this year. I mean, E.J. Manuel already has three knee injuries as a rookie. The Bills have one of the league’s most talented running back duos, but the blocking up front has been so bad that it almost doesn’t even matter. Manuel’s getting protected, but the Bills need some road-graders. Yeah, C.J. Spiller is missing Andy Levitre.
New York Jets
FOX Sports’s Jay Glazer reported that Rex Ryan informed his players that he will be fired upon the conclusion of the season. My reaction? ARE YOU FRIGGIN’ (note: I said something else, but I don’t want to get fired over vulgarities) KIDDING ME?
Seriously, Rex Ryan is by far the main reason why the Jets have been competitive this season. They have a new GM, new offensive coordinator, new defensive coordinator, and new quarterback. And yet, despite having a terrible secondary, no No. 1 WR, and a struggling rookie QB whose claim to fame is turning the ball over at a ridiculous rate, the Jets are still 7-8. The fact that they don’t have less than five wins is an accomplishment in its own. AND YOU WANT TO FIRE THIS MAN? If the Jets fire Ryan, then I will have lost all respect for Woody Johnson and most of the Jets organization. Fire Ryan and see what the future holds. Do they really think that they can get anyone better? If you want to fire anyone, then it’s better to fire Geno Smith or something.
Lost in the complaints of injuries is just how much bad luck the Colts have faced on the injury front. Guard Donald Thomas was a sleeper offseason signing and was supposed to help solidify the line, but he was lost for the season early on. Then uber-talented and uber-underrated tight end Dwayne Allen went down. Then the dagger came when Reggie Wayne tore his ACL in the upset win over the Denver Broncos, and it’s clear that Wayne’s injury has had a hugely negative impact on a Colts team that relies a ton on the passing game. On the bright side, T.Y. Hilton is a stud, Greg Toler is back to give the defense credibility, Robert Mathis is a monster, and the Colts topped the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday.
Just when it looked like Jake Locker was turning the corner and proving those who were high on him (like me) when he was drafted correct, he goes ahead and gets injured for the season. Now, the Titans aren’t so sure if Locker is their QB of the future, and they’re also thinking about getting rid of Chris Johnson.
Not having a franchise quarterback is a great grievance to air, and the Texans fan base probably has more grief than any other fan base in the country. For starters, this was supposed to be a sure-fire playoff team. Now it’s a No. 1 pick team. At least, the Texans can take Teddy Bridgewater there. The Texans are in a critical period here, because they need to make the right head coaching hire and can’t afford to screw that up. Do they keep Matt Schaub and bank on his track record? Do they like Case Keenum‘s upside enough? Sadly, I trust Schaub’s track record more than Keenum’s upside.
The biggest source of grief for the Jaguars might be the biggest source of relief, unless if the Texans pass up on Bridgewater with the first pick in the draft and decide to stick with Schaub/Keenum.
Andy Dalton, why can’t you just stick with being “Good Andy” for the rest of your career? Why can’t you play like you did yesterday all the time, instead of playing like you did in Weeks 9 and 10? Why? Is that so hard?
Mike Tomlin, what the heck man? Why did you have to do that whole sideline interference thing? Kevin Colbert can’t lose a draft pick and a chance to snag another potential breakout star, just because you weren’t smart enough to be aware of where you were on the field. Also, the Steelers offensive line stinks and the corners are reminiscent of traffic cones. How could you forget what Tom Brady did?
Worst. Run. Blocking. Ever. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce are two very talented backs, so why is it that they suck this year? I’ll tell you why, it’s because the Ravens have went into JV-mode with their run blocking. Rice and Pierce are healthy, but it’s not like it matters. Joe Flacco can’t do it all, especially when he’s on a bum knee. I bet the Ravens would be in a better position to make the playoffs record-wise had Dennis Pitta been healthy for the entire year. Better re-sign Eugene Monroe, I guess.
Brandon Weeden, how does it feel to be the most reviled man in Cleveland? Pretty good, huh? Thanks to you, Brian Hoyer got to live out his dream, before you probably put a bounty on him and got his ACL torn up against the Buffalo Bills. Josh Gordon? Let’s hope his career isn’t wasted by bad signal-callers. If you get drafted and suck, you’re making this list, too, Derek Carr.
It never ends, does it? Sure, the Broncos are the best team in the AFC. Sure, Peyton Manning slapped out Tom Brady’s record with maybe the greatest receiving corps in NFL history. But there’s still stuff to be mad at. For starters, DID YOU SEE VON MILLER’s INJURY? Miller is the second-most important player to the Broncos behind Peyton Manning, and he’s easily one of the best players in the game overall. The Broncos have dealt with some tough injuries on defense all year, but Miller’s would easily be the worst one yet. The Broncos defense is deep, but their depth is being tested to the limits right now.
Kansas City Chiefs
Worst receivers in the league. Period. When the Chiefs were 2-0, I wrote on this site that they are good enough to make the playoffs thanks to an elite group of starters on defense, but I viewed their receivers (not Alex Smith, he’s OK) as their biggest impediment. Look, when Dwayne Bowe is your No. 1 receiver and Donnie Avery is your No. 2 guy, then you have problems. They did absolutely nothing against the Colts defense, and Bowe and Avery are, for my money, the worst starting receiver duo in the league when it comes to actually getting open.
San Diego Chargers
King Dunlap and Dwight Freeney looked like resurgent stars and were top performers at their respective positions, but then injuries derailed (in the case of Freeney, “ended” is the correct word) their seasons (at least Dunlap is back and killing it again). The secondary has been a mess, thanks to Derek Cox, who has been an unexpected flop in his first year in San Diego. The future is bright and Philip Rivers is awesome (Mike McCoy, Tom Telesco, Keenan Allen, and Danny Woodhead, too), but there’s still something missing. You know, a defense.
We’re back to square one at quarterback, because we have no idea if Terrelle Pryor or Matt McGloin can be the guy. Heck, we don’t even know if Dennis Allen is going to be back next year. But one things for certain, those aren’t are biggest problems. I mean, if you think the Chargers have a bad defense, wait ’till you see ours. I mean, it’s like you selected some random kid watching Spongebob to assemble a defense, and this is what they chose. Tyvon Branch and Charles Woodson would have given us a solid safety duo, but Branch fractured his fibula very early in the season. And you know what else? We still couldn’t get roster flexibility out of it, since he wasn’t IR’d until last week. For shame.