NFL Snark Rankings: Playoff Edition
What a ride the 2014 NFL season took us on!
We went from opening night in Seattle, a couple trips across the pond to Jolly Old England, and finally, to the Arizona desert, where Super Bowl XLIX turned out to be one for the ages.
Throw in Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Roger Goodell, Ballghazi, Josh Gordon, Johnny Manziel, Wes Welker at the Kentucky Derby, Marshawn Lynch's pat answers, fake crowd noise in Atlanta, Browns GM texting coaches on the sideline, RGIII, and there was more material for the Snark Rankings than this author could handle.
Somehow, I survived all 17 weeks, which finds us here, presenting one last critique of the season, as the playoffs came to an excruciating end, especially for Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson.
The 12 playoff teams got a fresh canvas from which to work, making Bob Ross smile. None of those teams even sniffed the Snark Rankings during the regular season, but now they have an opportunity to present their case.
One team rose to the top, posting the worst offensive output in playoff history. What did you expect with a fourth-string QB?
1. Arizona Cardinals – That dream of becoming the first team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium came to a crashing thud on a field in North Carolina, as the Cardinals lost to the 6-8-1 Carolina Panthers in the Wild Card round. Arizona QB Ryan Lindley threw for a grand total of 82 yards. The Panthers torched the Cardinals' stout run defense. They carved Arizona up for 188 yards, with RB Jonathan Stewart doing most of the damage. Only a late fourth-quarter safety put this game within shouting distance. Somehow, this team finished the year 11-5, and Bruce Arians was named Coach of the Year. It was like a tale of two seasons.
2. Seattle Seahawks – When people are saying that their playsaster was the worst call in football history, it’s hard not to give them the top ranking, considering they had the Super Bowl in their grasp and threw it away. See what I did there? At least I didn't have to worry about Malcolm Butler jumping the sentence.
It’s going to be a tough pill to swallow this off-season, but the Seahawks are already favorites to win Super Bowl L -- really, how dumb do Roman numerals look now? -- which would be sweet redemption, winning a title on the XLIXers home field.
No love lost between those fan bases; San Francisco is the closest NFL team to Seattle, making it easy for the 12’s to travel en masse. Still, the talk of what could’ve been will dominate the off-season, along with the contract extensions for Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson. Somebody get Pete Carroll an Xbox for Christmas, please.
3. Green Bay Packers – The Pack literally gave away the NFC championship game, much like the Seahawks gave away the Super Bowl. And come to think of it, much like the Cowboys gave away the divisional game, slightly different than their getting a bit of help to take away the game from the Lions. Hakuna matata that.
Damn! That is Hamlet with fur!
There are at least five plays Green Bay can look at and say Can we take a mulligan?
- Kicking a field goal from the Seahawks one yard line would be a good place to start.
- Safety Morgan Burnett just falling down after picking off Russell Wilson for the fourth time would be second.
- Allowing Russell Wilson to play fliers-up on a two-point conversion is third.
- Not securing an onside kick is probably the biggest gaffe. Pictures of Packers WR Jordy Nelson standing there waiting to catch the ball only to have backup TE Brandon Bostick will be burned into Cheeseheads' memories for some time to come.
The Pack will be back, as MVP Aaron Rodgers reiterates his desire for fans to R-E-L-A-X. Speaking of, what will he do in that respect all off-season?
4. Cincinnati Bengals – Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it? The Bengals haven't won a playoff game since 1991, when they deadened Bo Jackson’s hip. Serves them right!
Andy Dalton doesn't look like a franchise QB, either. Good thing for him his sig's already on the dotted line for a huge extension. Despite that, he's now lost four straight playoff games and was just 18-35 for 155 yards and no TD passes doing it. Granted, WR AJ Green was out with an injury, but that’s no excuse against the Colts pass defense. The Bengals got torched by Andrew Luck and TY Hilton. Now they know what AFC South teams feel like.
5. Denver Broncos – Here’s another tale of two seasons, as the Bucking Broncs looked unstoppable for the first three months of the campaign, and then Peyton Manning forgot how to throw a pass. Or maybe the rumblings are right: he can't do it without a cane or a walker anymore.
A home loss to the Colts in the divisional round led to head coach John Fox getting bucked himself. It was tempting to give this spot to the Colts, since they got trounced by the Patriots in the AFC title game, but we all know why that happened.
Denver’s fate rests with Peyton’s decision to come back for one more season. The rest of the team is set in stone, which is exactly what Manning looked like for the last month. Will former Bronco QB Gary Kubiak be able to help Peyton find the fountain of youth? Better hope so; otherwise, it’s a season of Brock Osweiler under center. Wonder what Elway has left in the tank?
Well, there you have it, pigskin fans, another riveting season in the books.
But don’t worry. It’s a relatively short off-season, with Mock Draft 2.0 just being released today by ESPN Insider Todd McShay. I’m sure the Seahawks are looking at the 31st pick, thinking that will get them over the goal line.
Hand the ball off to Marshawn, dammit! He can get you across the goal line and adjust his jock strap at the same time. Dude’s talented!
Oh yeah, and halftime sucked, so in keeping with its balls-free theme, here's a special Snark Rankings bonus: