NFL season underwhelming

Ken Kutska, Assistant A&E Editor

NFL’s 2011 season was marred with controversy, records, firings, atrociously penalized defense and a lot of offense.  This season, offense was so over the top that it was almost silly to watch.

Quarterbacks now are throwing more yards per season than I can remember. The next seven of the top ten QB’s threw for over 4,000 yards and each quarterback in the top 20 threw for over 3,000 yards. The 2011 season saw Saint’s QB Drew Brees throw for 5,476 yards, breaking Dan Marino’s 1984 single season passing record. Patriot’s Tom Brady and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford also threw for over 5,000 yards this season, an absolutely astonishing feat.

I thought this was the league where defense rules the universe.

I know the Giants defense played a huge part in their Super Bowl win but these numbers show how good offensive quarterbacks are now.

I also was under the impression there was supposed to be a running back on the field. Nowadays, players don’t only have to run but also catch the ball if they play position.  You also have to become a pass catching threat, which has become the cornerstone of the league.

I guess the misnomer “run first” is a thing of the past as the league evolves. The Jaguar’s Maurice Jones-Drew was 2011’s rushing leader with 1,606 yards, whereas most of the running backs struggled to reach 1,000 yards.

It may be because there’s more emphasis on stopping the run first, but since there are so many good QB’s in the league, it seems they’re trading one evil for another.

Not to mention all of the defensive restrictions.  At times, it seems the league tries to protect players too much.  I understand the NFL is trying to protect players from concussions, brain damage and other serious injuries but it doesn’t mean the NFL has to become a touch football league with absolutely no contact.  I think the NFL is more interested in protecting their money than providing an exciting game. It seems it’s all about the bottom dollar and that isn’t idoneous with entertainment.

Some of the NFL standards passed in recent years I get the new rules made to protect players from concussions and installing sideline tests and guidelines that restrict players from returning to the game.

Hits on defenseless receivers and helmet-to-helmet contacts should be watched because more and more players are having problems post-career.  They ultimately aren’t the same and I agree something should be done.  No one wants to see a player’s career ended on a concussion or serious injury.

There has to be a line, especially on instances involving the QB and questioning whether a hit is too late.

The league can’t outlaw defense from the league, but they’re doing a good job of trying.  I get players have to be protected because we have bigger, faster and stronger players in the game.

I think we’re going to see, as we have been in recent drafts, more defensive players being able to stop receivers and rush the QB.  Defensive linemen are getting skinnier and faster because they have to be. Players need to get after the QB and stop these unbelievably fast players that are coming into the league, while still being strong enough to hold the line.

Everyone in the league is looking for that next generation of great QB’s.  The re-focus on QB’s started with the success of Colts Peyton Manning, Brady and Brees. Now, the focus is shifting as unexpected and rookie QB’s are prevailing while others like Manning are getting season-ending injuries.

The young guns coming into the league are a hell of a lot more mature and leadership driven, because they have to be. Teams want starting QB’s to start right away and your intangibles are key to their development as a pro QB.

This year of football was definitely diverse with the unexpected 49ers going 13-3, the Colt’s tragic 2-14 season, the 9-7 Giants winning the Super Bowl and the Tebow phenomenon. I didn’t understand “Tebowing” and why people flock to these “in the moment” players who get hot and then turn it around by being horrid.

I can’t put my finger on it but this season seemed empty inside and didn’t have that overall ‘wow’ factor.  The 2011 season wasn’t one where I could say, “I’ll definitely remember that season for the rest of my life.” Maybe it’s because my team wasn’t in it, or not. I wanted more from this season in terms of excitement, but instead I felt bored on Sundays.