Posts Tagged ‘T.O.’

The Most Surprising and Disappointing Players of 2010

It has not even been two weeks since Super Bowl XLV and we are already feeling lost.  Sure, basketball is entertaining, but NOTHING beats the thrill and excitement of the gridiron.  As we look back, we are highlighting some of the players whom we personally found to be the biggest surprises and disappointments of the 2010 season.  Before long it will be time to move on and talk about the possible impending NFL lockout, the 2011 draft and other player, coach and team issues.  But for now, let us bask just a bit more in last season and some of its hot and not-so-hot players!

Biggest Player Surprises

Arian Foster

Houston RB Arian Foster ranked 1st in rushing in the NFL during the regular season, running for over 1600 yards and 16 TDs.  Foster also had over 600 receiving yards and 2 TDs, which ranked 1st for running backs in the NFL.  Foster has come a long way.  I remember being at the 2007 Outback Bowl in Tampa when Penn State played the Tennessee Volunteers.  Foster was playing for the Vols. and with the score tied in the fourth quarter, Foster fumbled the ball near the goal line.  A Nittany Lion returned it 88 yards for a TD and PSU ultimately went on to win 20-10.   That notorious fumble gave him a reputation for inconsistent ball handling, and in 2009, Foster entered the league as an undrafted rookie.  That season he started in just one game.  But he started off 2010 in a blaze of glory.  In the first game vs. the Colts, Foster had 231 yards rushing and 3 TDs.  It was the 2nd best rushing performance on opening day in NFL history, falling just 19 yards short of O.J. Simpson’s 1973 opening day performance.

T.O.

Terrell Owens ended his season early with the Cincinnati Bengals due to a torn meniscus.  T.O.’s season was a pleasant surprise.  He had 72 catches for almost 1000 yards and 9 TDs.  T.O’s supreme confidence and his constant desire to talk about himself and his athletic abilities have created a large number of haters and skeptics.  Like him or not, he had a surprising comeback season.  Unfortunately, the Bengals had an abysmal 4-12 season and failed to make the playoffs.  Since T.O. is a free agent, it is anyone’s guess what team he will end up on.

LaDainian Tomlinson

31 year old Tomlinson had a resurgent 2010 season with the NY Jets.  Many considered him past his prime and believed he would serve as the backup to Jets RB Shonn Greene.   But Tomlinson got more carries than Greene and rushed for over 900 yards and 6 TDs.  These may not be mind blowing stats.  But given the pre-season predictions regarding L.T., he certainly surprised many fans, critics and media members with his important contributions to the Jets.

Michael Vick

Ahhh..one last chance to talk about our favorite player!  You really didn’t think we would keep Michael Vick off this list, did you?!  If you’re a regular reader, you already know how deep our love for Vick runs.  We have always been believers, but many considered Vick a non-factor for the 2010 season.  Pundits predicted the Eagles would use him in limited “gimmick” plays for short yardage.  But when Kevin Kolb got injured, Vick seized the opportunity and showed he had not missed a step from his playing days before being incarcerated.  In fact, Vick’s hard work and off field preparations were evident and he played better than ever.  He rightfully earned the starting position and threw for over 3000 yards, 21 TDs and had a passer rating of 100.2.  He rushed for nearly 700 yards and 9 TDs.  At 30 years of age, Vick’s comeback was one best surprise of the season!

Biggest Player Disappointments

Chris Johnson

In 2009, Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson tore up the NFL as he rushed for 2006 yards.  Football enthusiasts had high hopes for Johnson this past season.  In fact, he was the number one draft pick in most fantasy football leagues.  Prior to the start of the season, Johnson himself predicted he would rush for 2500 yards.  It was a bold prediction to make and he fell considerably short.  Johnson rushed for over 1300 yards and 11 TDs, ranking 4th in rushing overall in the NFL for the regular season.  These are impressive numbers, but given pre-season hype and expectations, we can’t help but be a bit disappointed.

Brett Favre

We have always loved Brett Favre.  His place in NFL history can never be taken away.  This past season, though, was a difficult one to watch as Favre dealt with struggles both on and off the field.  His scandal with a former NY Jets employee, coupled with his injuries and on the field play – 11 TDs and 19 INTS – were unfortunate ways for the “gunslinger” to leave the NFL.  Favre’s streak for consecutive starts was ended this season as well.  After 297 consecutive starts over 19 seasons, the 41 year old legend finally succumbed to an injury to his throwing shoulder that he simply could not overcome.  We will forever love and respect Favre.  It seems jumping on the “anti-Favre” bandwagon has become fashionable.  But we refuse to ignore the incredible legacy he built both on and off the field, despite the way this particular season unfolded.

Randy Moss

Another player people love to hate is the never dull Randy Moss.  Sure, he may be brash and outspoken.  But Moss still possesses the raw athletic ability, speed and capacity to out jump even the most talented cornerbacks.  We contend that he can find success with an NFL team in the future, but it needs to be with a team that uses him correctly and can handle his personality.  But his selection to 7 Pro Bowls was not a fluke.  Moss has talent that cannot be denied.  This season, he was the center of a number of controversies and was traded by both the Patriots and the Vikings.  He played his remaining games with the Tennessee Titans, but they have announced that his future with them is uncertain.  Given the right circumstances, we believe Randy Moss can shine once again.  Unfortunately, he did not shine this season, which is quite sad for those of us who still believe in his talent.

Our list of surprises and disappointments is, of course, incomplete.  There were many players that, like a phoenix, seemingly emerged from the ashes and had brilliant seasons.  Others simply crashed and burned.  This unpredictability is what makes each season so captivating.  While players’ surprising and/or disappointing performances can frustrate our most carefully planned fantasy teams (we speak from personal experience!), we would not trade it for the world!

T.O. May G-O???

If the rumors are true, the Cincinnati Bengals may say goodbye to wide receiver Terrell Owens at the end of this season.  T.O. was placed on Injured Reserve after undergoing knee surgery on Monday, ending his 2010 season. 

T.O. signed a one year, 2 million dollar contract with the Bengals.  He has had one of his best seasons in years, with 9 touchdowns and 72 receptions for nearly 1000 yards.  But despite Owens playing well, the Bengals have had a miserable 3-11 season. 

It is likely that Owens’ public criticism of the coaching staff is what may ultimately keep him from returning to the Bengals.  Recently, on his T. Ocho Show, Owens said

“I think there’s underachieving from the top down.  You start with the owner, you start with the coaches. And obviously we as players, we are a product of what the coaches are coaching us throughout the course of the week.  Of course, we have to go out there and play the game. But in order for us to do what we’re allowed to do at the best of our abilities, the coaches have to put the players in the best position.”

Earlier in the season T.O. also criticized the play calling.  But with the Bengals abysmal performance this season, the points he is making are valid.  While T.O. may not have chosen the most appropriate way to express his views, I think most Bengals fans agree with him.

Owens is one of the few bright spots in what has been a very dark season.  Dismissing him seems like a foolish decision and is quite indicative of the turmoil that is present in the Bengals organization.  Sure, Owens can be outspoken and a bit too blunt at times, but since he is personally performing well, it seems quite ludicrous to release him simply because he had said what everyone else already believes.

Just as I was about to buy a #81 Bengals jersey, it looks as though I should wait to see where T.O. ends up next season.  Since my closet already has Owens’ jerseys from the Eagles, Cowboys and Bills, adding a Bengals jersey seems frivolous.  Perhaps next season I can get yet another T.O. jersey – maybe one from the Rams?

Draft Day Disaster

This past August I joined a fantasy football league.  After years of watching from the sideline and not quite comprehending how fantasy football actually works, I decided to strap on a helmet and give it a try.  Little did I know that I would actually need that helmet!  This is serious game play and is definitely not for the weak-hearted.

Our league has twelve teams, made up of ten college guys and just two girls.  Having never been part of a fantasy league, I scoured online fantasy draft pick information from all the leading “experts”.  On my desk sits an entire folder devoted to my pre-season research, along with every fantasy football draft magazine I could lay my hands on this summer.  My laptop has files of assembled information, including spreadsheets with categories like PPR (Points per Reception), rankings by position and bye weeks. Suddenly the letters SOS no longer meant an emergency cry for help, but something much more critical – Strength of Schedule.

Next came the dilemma of naming my team.  Did I want a fierce, intimidating name to scare the opposition into retreat?  Or a funny name that made my team the envy of those who wished they could be so clever?  Searching the web, I found a huge variety of “female” fantasy football names, many of which were just too crude to consider.  I wanted a name to represent me, yet have a football connection.  Finally, an epiphany!  My team would be called The Blonde Side.  It would pay tribute to one of my favorite football movies of all time, “The Blind Side”, while allowing me to make my team stand out from my male competition.  Oh, and it also embodied my natural (ahem) blonde hair color.

On draft day, we all assembled in the team manager’s tiny college apartment.  One of the guys had graduated the previous spring and so “attended” the draft through Skype.  We chose ESPN to host our league.  I was assigned the next to last pick, but was undaunted since I felt I had a great strategy in place.  I had my list of desired players and was certain I would be able to get at least some of them.

From research and talking to friends who had played in fantasy leagues for years, I decided to load up on running backs and wide receivers in the early rounds and not even think about my quarterback to the later rounds.  As a HUGE Peyton Manning fan, I desperately wanted him as my first pick, but decided to put my emotions aside and allow my diligently prepared plan of attack to play out. Other favorites, like T.O. and Ladainian Tomlinson would have to wait as well.  Instead, I would listen to the expert advice I had gathered and ignore the gut instincts that were telling me to make completely different choices.

As the draft began, I was shocked at how quickly the guys made their picks.  By the time it was my turn, the top ranked player remaining on my list was RB Frank Gore from the San Francisco 49er’s and I quickly grabbed him.  Next, I chose WR Reggie Wayne of the Colts and felt pretty secure about my choices.  But by the time the third round came around, my list of prospects had dwindled and I was suddenly scrambling to make a pick.  I scoured my spreadsheets, notes and brain for my next pick as the 2 minute draft clock ticked down.  Ochocinco, I shouted out, when I realized T.O. had already been snagged.

The rest of the draft is a blur as I frantically tried to choose my next player in round after round.  The other players, more seasoned and experienced, seemed to glide through their picks with ease.  Why did I feel so incompetent and disorganized?  After all, I had books and spreadsheets and files of information that should have made draft day a breeze!

By the end of the draft, my roster was complete – a complete mess, that is.  I had two players from my original list of prospects and the rest was a jumble of players I had haphazardly thrown together.  How did this happen?  I honestly am not sure, but part of my problem was that I ignored my women’s intuition AND fell victim to peer pressure!

So what did I learn from my draft day disaster?  Well, lots of things actually.

  • First, do your research.  It is important to know who the top prospects are and to understand how your league’s scoring system works.
  • Make sure you have information on the less known players.  Despite my spreadsheets, I was not as prepared as I should have been in this area and ended up making choices on players whom I barely had any knowledge about.
  • Don’t be intimidated by the boys.  I think of myself as a pretty independent person, with strong opinions, yet time after time was swayed into picking a player based on what others were saying at the moment.  I was a rookie and assumed the veterans knew more than me.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol during the draft!  Depending on how your league organizes draft day, it can end up being a party atmosphere.  As prepared and serious as I started out, I must confess that one too many Jager Bomb’s may have wreaked havoc on my roster.
  • Most importantly, listen to your gut instinct!  As women, we all know that inner voice that whispers (and sometimes shouts) out to us.  I don’t care what anyone says, that little voice is right 9 times out of 10!

So that pretty much sums up my draft day disaster.  As for the season thus far?  Well, let’s just say that there have been a few fumbles and missed tackles along the way.  In the next few months, I will share The Blonde Side’s victories and defeats in hopes of helping other ladies in their future fantasy football endeavors.  So like Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford, I view this season as a rookie learning experience. Hopefully next season will bring far less thrown interceptions and better play calling ability that will allow me to dominate my male competition!

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