In one calendar year, a lot happened in sports. Villanova won the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on a buzzer beater. The Cleveland Cavaliers were the first team to ever come back and win after trailing 3-1 in the NBA Finals. The Chicago Cubs snapped a 108-year World Series drought and won Game 7 in extra innings. The College Football Playoff ended in a last second touchdown. To wrap it all up, the Super Bowl went into overtime for the first time ever.
All that history in less than 365 days.
The New England Patriots and Tom Brady just won their fifth Super Bowl ring. Brady now has more Super Bowl wins than any starting quarterback in NFL history after being down 28-3 in the third quarter and leading an improbable comeback.
Despite the crazy Super Bowl finish, a lot of what happened in the NFL was overshadowed because of a crazy year in sports and news.
The Super Bowl LI MVP Brady was suspended for the first four games this season because he allegedly took the air out of some footballs two years ago.
The San Diego Chargers are now the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Raiders are suddenly a playoff team with an MVP candidate quarterback in Derek Carr and they might be moving the franchise to Las Vegas.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was washed up for the first 10 games of the season and then was all of a sudden an MVP candidate. #RunTheTable.
Every NFL season is filled with a handful of storylines, but this NFL season was different. The season started with controversy and bad ratings due to a crazy election cycle, so football season didn’t fill the airwaves and internet how the NFL hoped.
The 2016-17 season was a wild one for the NFL.
The Cleveland Browns were almost the second team ever to go 0-16 but shocked the soon-to-be Los Angeles Chargers in a game that neither team wanted to win. It was a game Browns players literally called their “Super Bowl” after winning.
The Browns were so bad this year, winning one game was comparable to winning the Super Bowl — let that sink in.
Neither team that was in the Super Bowl last year even made the playoffs. The Broncos went 9-7 after winning a title while two teams — the Chiefs and Raiders — from their division went to the playoffs. Meanwhile the Panthers continued the whirlwind of NFC South success by finishing last in the division and going 6-10.
The NFC East continued to be a free-for-all in 2016. The Eagles started the season 4-2 behind rookie Carson Wentz and “Wentz-mania” engulfed Philadelphia’s fanbase, but finished the season 7-9 and last in the division. Meanwhile the Cowboys rode the success of two other rookies — Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott — to the best record in the NFC at 13-3.
The Cowboys spent the entire season with a rookie under center and Tony Romo on the sidelines. Romo was usurped by a late round pick the same way Drew Bledsoe was replaced by Tom Brady in 2001.
The Houston Texans spent a season without JJ Watt in the lineup and still finished with the No. 1 defense in the NFL. If they had a quarterback who wasn’t as mediocre as Brock Osweiler, they would be a Super Bowl contender.
In the NFC North, the Vikings started the season 5-0 with Sam Bradford at quarterback and Adrian Peterson on injured reserve; meanwhile, the Lions held the lead in the division for most of the season but couldn’t hold on and lost three straight games to finish the season 9-7 and snag a wild card spot. The Packers were considered out of the playoff hunt after losing four straight in the middle of the season but won six in a row to “run the table” as Aaron Rodgers guaranteed and won the NFC North for the fifth time in six years.
The 2016-17 season was full of stories, but the 2017-18 season starts on Feb. 28 with the NFL combine and goes into full swing on April 27 with the NFL draft in Philadelphia. The NFL cycle will keep on turning and storylines will keep on coming.