Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Day it All Changed in the NFL

With the recent loss of Tom Brady, many are speculating that this could be the end to their season. But is it Momentum or maybe is it Karma as I mentioned in my Week 1 News and Notes column. Maybe the lone loss in the Super Bowl was Karmic retribution for all of the "eff you" TDs, running up the score, and maybe it can all be traced back to one moment before the loss of Brady. Maybe the Patriots recent problems all started at a different time.

These thoughts have been going through my head so I've decided to create a list for all 32 teams of the precise moment that set them on the path to where they are right now. THE moment it all started going downhill (or uphill if applicable) and the reasons that they are now where they are.

AFC West:
Denver Broncos - May 2, 1999
One of the few teams that haven't really had a whole lotta bad. The Pinnacle of their Success was in 1999 at Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami. A couple months later, John Elways, rightfully so, stepped away from the game. The Broncos have struggled at times to find a QB to fill the shoes left by the Hall of Famer. They have not had the postseason success that one might wish for since winning back to back Big Games. The following season the Broncos went 6-10 and missed the playoffs but rebounded the following season and returned in 2000. They've spent the better part of the last 9+ seasons over .500 but are 1-4 in the playoffs and have missed the past 2 seasons.

Since Elway's retirement the Broncos have had their head above water and more 2,000 yard rushers than any other team, it seems like anyway. They've compiled a regular season record of 84-62 but have gone 1-4 in the postseason.

Kansas City Chiefs - February 2, 1983
Having previous fired the (12-2 in 1982) Head Coach Marv Levy the Chiefs decided to sign inexperienced 39 year old John Mackovic as their new head coach. 25 years is a long time, with a few bright spots but before this KC had had a few decent seasons and had won Super Bowl IV. But for whatever reason they fired Levy and signed Mackovic. In the draft that following April the Chiefs, in need of a QB, drafted Todd Blackledge and passed on Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Dan Marino as well as two time Pro Bowler Ken O'Brien. The Chiefs finished 6-10 and have been a perennial disappointment.

Since Hiring Mackovic the Chiefs are 212-190-2 with a 2-10 postseason record and have not been to the Super Bowl. I've said it before, I'll say it again...Mackovic sucks.

Oakland Raiders - February 17, 2002
The Raiders coming off of a successful season in which they very easily could have been in the Super Bowl (see Tuck Rule) were primed to come back for another season with Rich Gannon leading the charge. Things looked good for Gruden and Co. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers needed a new coach and offered a small fortune to take Gruden away from the Raiders. One month after that fateful loss to the Patriots the Raiders "traded" their Head Coach to the Bucs. In the end the Raiders made it to the Super Bowl in the 2002 season, but only out of Football God Spite, as the Bucs humiliated the Raiders 48-21.

Since that game the Raiders are 20-63 and their coach is rumored to be out. What did the Raiders get with the draft picks acquired in the Gruden Trade? Sam Williams, Kirk Morrison, and Arman Shields.

San Diego Chargers - January 20, 2008
It might be too early to tell for sure but on that day the Chargers were visiting Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. looking to take down the undefeated Pats and take vengeance after watching the Pats, unceremoniously dance on their helmet logo at midfield 1 year earlier. During that game SD QB Philip Rivers played on an injured ankle, but MVP candidate, former MVP, and team leader LdT sat out the last 3 quarters of the game with a sprained MCL as the cameras continued to show him pouting on the sideline with his black visor on his head, emotionless. The Pats won the Chargers went home. While I actually agree with LdT sitting (if the injury was as bad as it sounded at the time) his lack of emotion left his team flat. They lost the game by 9 and were never really in it.

Since that game the Chargers are 1-2 with last night's win and two last second losses. While they can claim lucky play in week 1 (Panthers TD catch with 00:00 on the clock) or bad call (recent fumble/inadvertent whistle screw up) the point is they still let the Panthers drive the field 68 yards on 11 plays over 2 minutes and 21 seconds while the Chargers sat back and let Delhomme go 8 for 11 for all 68 yards. Again, despite the bad call, they still let the Broncos go 80 yards over 12 plays in under 4 minutes allowing a TD and 2 Pt. Conversion.

AFC South:
Houston Texans - April 29, 2006
After losing the "Bush Bowl" at the end of the 2005 season most people thought that the Houston Texans, on the heels of their 4th straight losing season (out of 4 seasons) Houston needed a big play guy to take over their team. After an amazing Rose Bowl it really came down to 2 players. Would the Texans take Heisman winner and Highlight Film Freak Reggie Bush, or go with the Hometown boy from Texas, Vince Young, who single handedly beat Bush's USC team in the Rose Bowl for the National Championship. Tension mounted as the weeks passed and with the first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft the Texans committed to...Mario Williams Defensive End from North Carolina State. What? How could they pass on two amazing offensive weapons for a Defensive End. A Highly touted Defensive End, but a Defensive End nonetheless. Well they signed Williams to a lucrative 6 year $54 Million Dollar contract, rather than the ridiculous first round money they would have had to pay Bush or Young.

Since then the Texans, in no small part to Williams and the extra money available by not signing Bush or Young, are 14-20 but in Williams' 2nd year they managed their first season at or above .500 in franchise history. Meanwhile Reggie Bush is taunting and upsetting players all over the league and is only used sparingly and Vince Young is having his own off the field, and on the field problems. Williams has accumulated 117 tackles, 20.5 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles in his first 2+ seasons.

Indianapolis Colts - January 13, 2008
It's hard to find anything negative about the Colts over the last 9+ seasons. They've only missed the playoffs once and have the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year, a dangerous TE, a good Running back, good receivers, and the NFL's most marketable player who also happens to be a 3 time MVP (Peyton Manning). How can there really be a downside. Well on the 13th of January the Colts not once, but twice failed to convert on 4th downs and lost to the Billy Volek led Chargers to end their bid for back to back Super Bowls. That was the last game played at the RCA Dome where the Colts had the friendly crowd noise on their side.

Since that game Marvin Harrison has been allegedly involved, though not charged, in a shooting, Peyton Manning had a Bursa Sack infection, and hasn't been too impressive in his return. The Colts are 1-2 overall but 0-3 in Lucas Oil Stadium a.k.a. "The Luke" including a preseason loss to the Bills in Week 3.

Jacksonville Jaguars - August 31, 2007
They really haven't been around long enough to have a altering moment of negative proportions, yet. So, in one of the rare examples of a team who doesn't have a "moment it all went downhill" for the time being Jags fans can look back at that Labor Day weekend when the Jaguars announced David Garrard as their starter. In his first season as a starter replacing the oft ineffective Byron Leftwich the Jags went 11-5, a 3 game improvement on their 2006 8-8 campaign.

Since then the Jags are 12-7, but unfortunately the Jags haven't had the best start to a season and are 1-2 right now with Garrard's unimpressive numbers (547 yds, 1 TD/4 INTs) making this seem a bit too early, but the Jags also have an almost entirely new offensive line due to a few different issues including a life threatening shooting. We'll have to see how this season pans out but perhaps the Jags are just another downhill team which will lead us to look for new answers and reasons.

Tennessee Titans - January 30, 2000 00:06
1999 was a fun year for the Titans and their fans and their playoff run was exciting for everyone. The Magic that was the Music City Miracle had the entire state of Tennessee gleeful (and probably more than a few in Houston missing their old Oilers). The Super Bowl that year was one of, if not the most exciting of my entire life, and perhaps even the history of the Super Bowl. It was the Greatest Show on Turf facing off against the unlikely opponents fresh off of the Miracle. Coupled with the Kurt Warner story, the resurgence of the Rams and the success of the Transplanted Tennessee Titans it was a Super Bowl for the ages. With 6 seconds left and no time-outs the Titans were down 7 and Ten Yards from the End Zone. Dyson caught the ball on a cross route, rolled and stretched, but wound up less than a yard from crossing for the score.

Since then the Titans are 70-61 but have only made the playoffs once in the last 4 years. They flirted with playoff runs but never made it back to the Conference Championship. They're 3-0 this year but have had their share of issues relating to Vince Young.

AFC North:
Baltimore Ravens - February 28, 2007
The Ravens were coming off of a 13-3 season after 2 losing seasons and everything seemed promising. Until the Offseason. On the 28th and last day of February the Ravens cut Running Back Jamal Lewis with every intention of re-signing him at a fraction of the cost, but on March 7 he signed with rival Cleveland. They failed to Franchise star Linebacker Adalius Thomas who went to the Patriots. There were plenty of boneheaded bad moves by Ozzie Newsome and things went from bad to worse as the season progressed.

Since then the Ravens are 7-11 but 2-0 this year over subpar Cleveland and Nasti Natti. The Ravens have a shot at 8 wins and possibly a playoff in the very weak AFC North.

Cincinnati Bengals - January 8, 2006
In 2005 the Bungles became the Bengals and surprised everyone winning the division and 11 games, making the playoffs for the first time since Boomer Esiason led them there in 1990. USC Heisman winner Carson Palmer finally had his breakout season, Chris Henry was running the ball well, and they had Chad Ocho Cinco (formerly Johnson) and TJ Houshamadaddy catching the ball. On the second play of the game for their offense Palmer lobbed a beautiful 66 yard pass to Henry and was immediately cracked on the knee by Kimo von...a Steeler Defensive Lineman, and tore his ACL and MCL. The Bengals lost but vowed to return in 2006. Palmer made a quick (as ACL and MCL's are concerned) rehab and was back on the field in 2006, but not at the same level as 2005. Also, following the 2005 season and into the 2006 season the Bungles had 9 players arrested.

Since that game the Bungles have returned and are 15-20, have dealt with a different Palmer, a media focused receiver, player suspensions, jail time, and have had who knows how many arrests in the last 3+ years.

Cleveland Browns - January 7, 1995
You could go back to so many moments for Cleveland if you want to go back to Elway and "The Drive" or when Art Modell sent the team to Baltimore in the middle of the night. You could even go to the drafting of Tim "Ouch" or the countless other front office mistakes and errors, but they did have a fun 2007. So I decided on 1995. The Browns came into the game after a solid win over the Patriots including 3 INTs off of Drew Bledsoe. This looked to be a good year for the Browns but they faced off against the division winning Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers in the Divisional Playoffs. The Browns defense never got off the bus and they were down 17-0 after the first 3 Pitt Possessions. They never looked back and a couple years later Bill Belichick and Art Modell trucked the team to Baltimore to win a Super Bowl.

Since that game against the Steelers the Browns are 55-185 with 2 AFC Central/North 2nd place finishes and a whole lot of 4th place finishes. 2007 gave the Browns fans false hope as they have come into 2008 with 3 straight losses. Is Brady Quinn on the horizon?

Pittsburgh Steelers - June 12, 2006
The Steelers were riding high on the Hog (pun intended) coming off of a Super Bowl win on the shoulders of Big Ben. Then Big Ben and that same Hog they were riding high on wrecked in the middle of the offseason. Ben came back only to need an emergency appendectomy and miss a start. He also managed to get injured in what seemed like every game in his roughest season. The Steelers also lost Star LB Joey Porter in the offseason.

Since the crash the Steelers have still been moderately successful going 20-15 with a playoff appearance (2007 lost to the Jags). But they don't look too much like a Super Bowl team, though they should win the AFC North pretty easily.

AFC East:
Buffalo Bills - January 27, 1991
One of the longest suffering teams in the NFL the Bills turmoils can be traced to a high note, Super Bowl XXV, a High Note until Scott Norwood's "No Good, Wide Right" Field Goal at the end of the game clinched it for the Giants 20-19. The Bills went on to lose Super Bowl XXVI 37-24 to the Redskins, Super Bowl XXVII 52-17 to the Cowboys and a much closer XXVIII to the Cowboys 30-13. The Bills have not been back to the Super Bowl since going 0 for 4 and have been to the playoffs 4 Times ('95, '96, '98, '99) going 1-4 in those 4 trips. They have not been back since and might be moving to Canada. They've gone through numerous coaches, quarterbacks, running backs, and missed field goals over the last 17 years.

Since losing that 1st Super Bowl the Bills were 36 - 12 (6-3 Postseason) over the ensuing 3 seasons (each with another Super Bowl Loss) and a total 17 season combined span (1992-2008) their record is 159-132 with a 7-7 postseason record, but a 3-0 record this year.

Miami Dolphins - September 4, 2006
Nick Saban's 2nd year, the Return of Ricky Williams, Daunte Culpepper at the helm. 2006 is the year of the Fins. Sports Illustrated released their season picks and had the Fins winning the AFC East and representing the AFC in the Super Bowl in a close match-up against the Panthers. In the same issue, different article Culpepper was called the best Dolphins QB since Dan Marino and would serve as a "springboard to undreamed of success". Instead the Fins flailed and lost 3 of their first 4 and after 2 TDs/3 INTs, 3 Fumbles and being sacked nearly 10 times in the first 4 games Daunte was shown the bench and didn't attempt another pass the rest of the campaign.

Since that time the Dolphins are 8-27, have a new coach, a pair of oft-injured running backs, they've started 5 different quarterbacks, and Daunte has retired from football. The lone bright spot of that 2006 season? WR Wes Welker had 67 catches for 687 yds spent the next season pulling in 8 TDs and 112 catches for division rival New England in 2007. Of course Ronnie Browns 5 TD performance and the thrashing of the Pats has Miami fans thinking maybe there's a chance 2 years later.

New England Patriots - September 10, 2007
The New York Jets outed the Patriots for Cheating via the Spygate scandal. The Patriots, out of their Eff You mentality spent the rest of the season running up the score, Bill Belichick became even more hated, Tom Brady was shoved down our throat, and we all just sat and stared as the Patriots went 18-0 and went on to the Super Bowl against the Giants. The Giants beat the Pats, that Pats had a rough offseason and Tom Brady went down for the season and have Matt Cassel taking over at QB. It might be too early to tell but will the Pats begin spiraling downward? Not being able to stop the Dolphins looks like it. Take a look at Carson Palmer since he went out on an almost identical play with an almost identical injury.

Since that game against the Jets the Pats are 20-2. The lone loss being the Super Bowl. But they've also lost Tom Brady and who knows for how long? Who knows what percent Brady will be at upon his return. This Patriots team was built for the now and doesn't have much longer. Their getting older and this could be the thing that moves them down to the likes of the Vikes (sorry it rhymed and I can't help it). Keep an eye out.

New York Jets - September 23, 2001
In twisted terms of fate the Jets were partially responsible for the downfall of the Pats, and it seems the opposite could also be said. The 2001 Jets were coming off of a 9-7 season in which they were primed for a Postseason spot until dropping the last 3 games of the season. They had talent, and they had the edge and anger that comes with a disappointing season. They had a new Head Coach (Herm Edwards) but they came out in week 1 and lost but they rebounded in week 2 and defeated the Patriots. But in that game Jets LB Mo Lewis took out Patriots All-Pro QB Drew Bledsoe who wound up suffering internal injuries and sat out much of the 2001 season. His replacement Tom Brady came in and led the Pats to the history we've seen for them.

Since then the Jets have lost to the Pats 14 (of 17) games including on in the playoffs. They've also gone 54-60 in the regular season and are 2-4 in the playoffs. They've gone through 2 coaches since that time (Herm and Mangenius) and 6 starting QBs.

NFC West:
Arizona Cardinals - March 13, 1960
The Cardinals had been floundering for years in the shadow of the Chicago Bears and hadn't won a league championship since 1947. The upstart AFL was moving into the Midwest and the NFL wanted to counter with a team in St. Louis. Owner Violet Bidwell decided this would be a win for everyone. I could go into the vast depths of the Cardinals past but we'll just skip to the end.

Since moving from Chicago the Cardinals have gone through God knows how many coaches, quarterbacks, busts, stadiums, players, curses, etc. The only two things that remain constant, losing and the Bidwells. Since leaving Chicago they've amassed 0 Super Bowl Championships, 0 NFL Championships, 4 Hall of Famers (0 from their time in Phoenix), 4 trips to the playoffs (1-4 record) and 0 in the last decade. Their overall record could be described as a lot and a little or more specifically 309-500-9. Congrats to the Cardinals for their 500th loss since moving from Chicago.

St. Louis Rams - January 15, 2004
The first 4 years since moving over from LA the Rams were one of the Worst Shows on Turf. In 2000 that all changed and they became the Greatest Show on Turf going to 2 of 3 Super Bowls and going 1-1 in the Big Game (Spygate's origin?) Everyone credits Mike Martz and the explosive offense, with good reason, for the Rams rise to the top but not enough credit went to Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith who took the Rams from a league worst 29.4 PPG allowed in 2000 to a 17.1 PPG Allowed in 2001. Which took at 10-6 team and made them into a 14-2 team primed to win another Super Bowl (if not for Spygate). On January 15th the Chicago Bears hired away Lovie Smith and the Rams haven't been the same since.

Since then the Rams are 25-42 and have gotten rid of the aforementioned Mike Martz who has been an assistant in Detroit and San Francisco. The Rams went from 17th (20.5 PPG) in Lovie's last season there to 31st (27.4) in 2007. They went to the Playoffs once in the weakest division in the league.

San Francisco 49ers - January 15, 2003
The 49ers had been one of the most dominant teams for much of the 80s and 90s. They followed up a Hall of Fame Quarterback (Montana) with a Hall of Fame Quarterback (Young) and had a couple guys named Rice and Owens during parts of those stretches. In 2002 they went 10-6 and won the NFC West but lost in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs. Ten days after the season the Niners fired Head Coach Steve Mariucci and hired Dennis Erickson. Their next 5 seasons ended with them in 3rd or 4th place all 5 times and Erickson's tenure, as per usual was short.

Since firing Mooch because of some front office power struggle the Niners are 27-46 and have gone through 2 coaches. And that front office? They drafted Alex Smith 1st overall. They haven't been back to the playoffs since and have 5 losing seasons in the worst division in football.

Seattle Seahawks - January 4, 2004
The Seahawks have won 4 straight division titles. How could a low point be at the end of the first year they won the division? Well it's a weak division (have I mentioned that already somewhere above) so winning it isn't the hardest thing to do. So the Moment of decline came with Matt Hasselbeck proclamation, "We're taking the ball and we're gonna score" in Overtime against the Packers. He proceeded to throw a pick 6 for the Packers game winning TD.

Since then they've compiled a winning record and have even been to the Super Bowl, but since that moment they are 42-26 in the regular season, but are 4-5 in the playoffs and are 1-2 this year.

NFC North:
Chicago Bears - April 26, 2003
"And with the 22nd pick in the 2003 NFL Draft acquired from the New York Jets, the Chicago Bears select...Rex Grossman Quarterback, Florida". Of course it can't all be stuck on the shoulders of Rex Grossman, but due to the fact that he spent 3 seasons on the bench constantly injured and let the Bears without the "need" for a new QB. They thought they had one waiting in the wings and never bothered to go after other QBs in Free Agency and the Draft. The Bears could have gone after Big Ben, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, and Jason Campbell. Also, perhaps they would have drafted Rodgers or Campbell instead of Cedric Benson, yet another bad draft choice in Chicago Bears History.

Since that Pick the Bears are a deceiving 44-38 in the regular season (2-2 postseason). The numbers are deceiving as the Bears special teams and defense have pulled Grossman out of a few games and made up for his mistakes. Enter Kyle Orton.

Detroit Lions - January 9, 2001
The Detroit Lions, coming off of a 9-7 season, hire former player and Radio/TV Commentator Matt Millen to run the team. In his first 4 seasons as Team President the Lions went 11-48, at which point many figured Millen's contract was due to be terminated. And they were right, as he was signed to a 5 year extension and made him the 2nd highest paid GM in the NFL.

Since originally signing Millen the Lions are 26-84 and have finished last 4 times and 2nd to last 3 times. They have also made about "A Millen" bad draft and free agency choices (get it). Also, reports say that the Lions are trying out Former Bear and future inmate #45918235 Cedric Benson.

Green Bay Packers - August 7, 2008
Not often is getting rid of your Hall of Fame QB a good decision, but as I said in the past the Packers needed to go in a different direction. Now as a Bears fan I constantly said that I wanted them to keep Favre. Chicago is 7 of the last 8 against the Pack averaging over 2 Takeaways per game, off of Favre alone. So when the Packers finally got rid of their Hall of Fame QB, they finally got the "will he won't he" monkey off of their back. Instead of having to waver and wonder whether or not he would be back for another year and leaving the team to actually make plans and not have to change them.

Since getting rid of the Favre monkey they Packers are 2-1 and Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 796 yds 4 TDs/0 INTs and a rushing TD meanwhile Favre and the Jets are 1-2 and Favre has thrown for 646 yds 6 TDs and a glaring 3 INTs and a fumble in typical Favre fashion.

Minnesota Vikings - October 31, 2004
The 5-1 Minnesota Vikings came into that Halloween game against the Giants leading the NFC North. The Giants defense picked apart the Vikings and at halftime Moss (with 0 receptions in the game) came out for the game and wound up sitting the next 3. The Vikings went 1-2 during that stretch narrowly defeating the Lions 22-19. They finished the rest of that season with a 3-7 record and lost to the Eagles in the 2nd round of the Playoffs.

Since that game the Vikings are 27-34 in the regular season and 1-1 in the post season. Randy Moss was gone after the '04 campaign and Culpepper had one of his worst statistical seasons in '05. Hopefully for Nordic fans, Adrian Peterson will remain healthy and Gus Frerotte is the prodigal son.

NFC South:
Atlanta Falcons - May 22, 2001
The NFL Decided to realign their divisions and everyone was thrilled (except Cardinals fans since they were going to lose their Dallas Cowboys gate). The Teams were where they were supposed to be. The Cardinals left the NFC East for the NFC West. And the Falcons left the NFC West for the NFC South. The realignment went into effect in the 2002 season and over the ensuing 5 years, each team that finished last in the NFC South finished first the next year...which means that they aren't going to finish first the year after. Also going into the 2002 season the Atlanta Falcons lost the original Dirty Bird in Jamal Anderson to retirement due to injury.

Since the 2002 season the Falcons are 46-52-1 in the regular season and 2-2 in the playoffs, but they are 2-1 right now and they did finish last in 2007. Are they destined to continue the 5 year long worst to first division streak? Or will they blow it?

Carolina Panthers - Exempt
The only exempt team on the list. The Panthers have only been around a short time and for the most part are just under .500 with a couple of deep playoff runs. They're 632 in the playoffs and have been to the NFC Championship 3 times, and the Super Bowl once. They haven't won but they are 2-1 this season. Other than a few meager years in the late 90s/00s where they went 20-44 they have been largely successful in their short Tenure. The Panthers are safe. If they go one and win the Super Bowl or have moderate success this year perhaps we can look back on Delhomme's return.

New Orleans Saints - September 16, 1967
Who can forget the 'Aints and their paper bag covered fans. The Saints spent so many years below mediocrity it's hard to narrow it down to a specific date, time, person, or game. They have 14 seasons at .500 or better and 6 of those 14 were at .500. Meanwhile they also have 14 seasons with double digit losses. So where do we put the blame. They've only won 2 (out of only 8) playoff games in their history. Oh and that stretches back to 1967. I guess then we could place the blame for the Saints futility on the secret backroom politics of Pete Rozelle, who wanted his brainchild NFL-AFL Merger to happen. So he awarded a team to New Orleans. But it actually doesn't date that far back instead it is Game 1 of the New Orleans Saints storied Franchise history. In their Inaugural Game Rookie John Gilliam returned the Saints Opening Kickoff, the first in the Franchise history, for a Touchdown. And as we all know and preach, never return the opening kick for a Touchdown. Ask Devin Hester and Ted Gin Jr. how that worked out for them.

Since Gilliam returned that kick for a TD the Saints are 255-368-5 and 2-6 in the postseason. They've never been to the Super Bowl.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - March 13, 2003
Coming off of a Super Bowl win, the first in Franchise history the Bucs decided to cut their Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson. As far as I could find twice before a team lost/cut their MVP. Larry Brown in Dallas and Desmond Howard in Green Bay. What happened to those teams? Dallas lost in the 2nd round after going 10-6 and beginning their decline. Green Bay cut Desmond Howard and went on to lose the Super Bowl and fade into mediocrity. What did the Bucs think was going to happen?

Since releasing MVP Dexter Jackson the Bucs are 38-45 and 0-2 in the playoffs.

NFC East:
Dallas Cowboys - January 5, 1997
Sure the Cowboys have won the NFC East twice and have taken 2nd 3 times in that 11 year span. But that's not why this day was so bad for the Boys. The Cowboys were still celebrating their 1995 Super Bowl win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and thought there was no chance they wouldn't win it again. Especially going up against the Sophomore Carolina Panthers who were playing in their second ever season and first playoff run. Well the Panthers closed out the Cowboys which led to the disastrous 1997 Cowboy season and enter Chan Gailey.

Since that playoff loss to the Panthers the Cowboys are 89-90 and more importantly they are 0-5 in the playoffs. They are 3-0 this year but I guess it doesn't matter if they go 16-0 since chances are they'll drop the 1st game of the playoffs, again.

New York Giants - December 2, 2007
If the Giants had lost the Super Bowl (or not made it that far) last year than many people would be keying on the Rivers Manning Trade in the 2004 NFL Draft as the downhill moment. But Manning went Manning and went crazy, like he forgot he was Eli Manning and won the Super Bowl orchestrating a great drive to win the game against the undefeated Patriots. Instead the Giants are looking like the Real Deal and Peyton and Eli seemed to have switched jerseys and teams. In that game against the Bears Eli was having one of, if not the worst game of his career. A loss and he might have seen the bench for good. Eli had 2 INTs and a Fumble and the G-Men were getting beat by the Bears. Going into the 4th Quarter the Giants were down 16-7 and looking Bad. Then the Giants went 77 and 75 yards for a pair of TDs and the Win on the Road in frosty Soldier Field.

Since that game the Giants are 10-2 (8-0 on the road) and oh yeah, they beat the unbeatable Patriots, and Packers, and Cowboys to win the Super Bowl last year with Eli playing out of his mind.

Philadelphia Eagles - February 6, 2005
3 words. Super Bowl Hangover. The Eagles went to not one, not two, but THREE straight Conference champions losing each time just a game shy of the Super Bowl. Then in 2004 They finally went for the first time since 1980. They had McNabb and TO coming off of a broken leg. They lost to the Pats (video taping?) and suffered the Super Bowl Hangover that most Super Bowl losers have.

Since then they are 26-25 and 1-1 in their lone playoff appearance. They've had to deal with plenty of injuries and issues but have looked good so far in '08.

Washington Redskins - February 3, 1994
Ah the Skins, a soft spot in my heart (Craig Hughes and of course THE Trident Bar and Grill in Tucson/Uncle Nelly's Old Bay Cafe). How to pick a date when it all went downhill. How about following the terrible 4-12 Richie Petitbon season. Something had to be done and Norv Turner was the guy for the Skins. So they hired away the Cowboy Offensive Coordinator. All things looked grand for the Skins and they would return to the glory brought by retired Head Coach Joe Gibbs.

Since then Turner went Norv Turner and compiled a 46-59-1 record going to the playoffs only once. The Redskins since that day have recovered slightly but haven't returned to glory just yet. They are 99-124-1 overall since hiring Norv and his ensuing coaches and are 2-3 overall in three trips to the playoffs.


Matt Randle "el" said...

2 thoughts...

1st - Mike played for Mako-suck that year in KC...Mike hated him and his arrogant snotty ways, said he failed to connect with even one of his players. Years later when Mako-suck got the AZ job he called Mike and offered him the D-Line gig. Mike thought about it for a while and ultimately turned him down. I was furious with him...Mike explained to me then that he thought Mako-suck would be a disaster at the college level with the way today's players were, he wanted no part in what he felt was an all ready sinking ship..Dam was he a smart guy

2nd-Can you just leave my Cardinals alone, did you have to add that little jab about living in the Bears shadow...damn I thought we were friends.