Well, if the NFL has ever been a league of, by and for quarterbacks, 2013 was the most quarterbacky of years yet.

peyton-manning

Yeah, Peyton Manning as MVP is a no-brainer. 55 touchdowns, and it could easily have been 58 or even 60 the way the Broncos were going when they pulled Peyton out at the end of the first half. Single season records in points, yards and leading the team to the #1 seed in the AFC.

This will probably be a year that Peyton fans point to as why he is so superior to Tom Brady. While Peyton broke all kinds of records, Brady had one of his worst statistical seasons of his career. And yet the Broncos ended up only one game ahead of the Patriots, who have the #2 seed and very, very nearly stole the #1 seed from Denver when Denver laid an egg vs. the Chargers. Had Gronk not been lost for the season, the Patriots probably win that game and get the edge on Denver. Brady has said that this season is one of the most rewarding for him personally in spite of the difficulties because they have managed to win in spite of probably the worst injury and personnel situation of any team in the NFL. Perhaps the Patriots put it all on the line in Denver in three weeks. We’ll see.

I had said at the start of the season that the Cowboys would go as Romo goes. That’s pretty much exactly what happened. Romo played well, ending up in the top 10 QB ratings as he usually does. As with most seasons Romo’s problems were not so much the quantity of mistakes or poor decisions, but the spectacularly bad timing of them. Romo’s heroics pulled victories out of a handful of games, but his boneheaded plays pulled defeat out of about an equal number of games. I still think Romo has some of the best physical skills in the game and I love his pure instinctual play, but the fact remains that the Cowboys will not succeed until they either get a new QB or Romo figures out that he can’t win every game by chunking the ball up for grabs at the critical moment when games are won or lost. Since he hasn’t seemed to figure that out yet, I’m more or less reaching the conclusion that he never will.

Sophomore seasons are usually tough for QBs. This year we had several second year QBs who played quite well, led by Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and Nick Foles. (I think this is Foles’ second year). But then you had Robert Griffin III. I’ve rarely seen a QB fly so high and fall so fast. I had high hopes for RGIII, but this season I lost count of the number of times that his ego ran away with him and created a job and career destroying cancer in the Redskins locker room. I’ve never been a fan of Mike Shanahan, I consider him to be the most overrated coach in the history of the game. But even he deserved better than to have his owner essentially elevate one player above the entire team, including the coaching staff. I hope we see a more humble and contrite RG III next year, and I suspect Shanahan will land in another NFL city soon enough. His (undeserved) reputation is enough to get some owners salivating at the prospect of replacing their current cast of incompetents.

I really didn’t watch that much football this year. I know that several QBs missed a lot of playing time due to injury and that most teams seem to find it extremely difficult to win even a few games with their backup QBs these days. I suppose that’s almost entirely a salary cap thing, you just can’t pay two top ranked QB salaries, and even if you can, no top ranked QB wants to sit on the bench when there are teams who need a top QB, and there are a lot of teams who clearly do need a top QB.

I am only moderately interested in the playoff matchups that are coming up. I would like to see Denver vs New England and I have a feeling that Philadelphia is going to be a tough out for any team that plays them, but otherwise my overall reaction to the playoffs is “meh”. Perhaps we’ll see the Seattle/Denver matchup all the experts predicted since day one, and if we do, I think that will be a closer, lower-scoring game than people expect.

Overall this has been one of the least interesting NFL seasons I can remember. And I don’t really see anything developing for the near future that is likely to improve my enjoyment of the game.