Sunday, February 11, 2007

2006 Season Review

With the AFC doing in the NFC one last time in the Pro Bowl, the 2006 NFL season is officially closed. How did I do on my preseason predictions? I did okay, if by okay you mean didn't get anything right. But at least I wasn't a complete dumbass and pick the Dolphins to win the Super Bowl like ESPN Magazine and Sports Illustrated.

Super Bowl
My Pick: Steelers over Panthers
Reality: Colts over Bears
I really dropped the ball here since neither the Steelers or Panthers made the playoffs, and I didn't think the Bears would.

Coach of the Year
My Pick: Nick Saban, Miami Dolphins
Reality: Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Let's just say given how much of a disappointment the Dolphins were this year, Saban was way off. And of course now he will be ineligeable for the award next year while coaching the Crimson Tide.

MVP
My Pick: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Reality: LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers
Tomlinson put together one of the finest years, not just for a running back, but player in NFL history. His 31 touchdowns broke last year's MVP Shaun Alexander's one-year-old record. Without him the Chargers would have been nowhere. My pick of Brady wasn't that dumb though.

Offensive Player of the Year
My Pick: Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs
Reality: LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers
I admit I bought into the hype surrounding Johnson, even though I was skeptical he could achieve the predictions. He still rushed for almost 1800 yards and 17 touchdowns which may have been good enough a lot of years. But with the crazy numbers Tomlinslon put up, no way.

Defensive Player of the Year
My Pick: Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
Reality: Jason Taylor, Miami Dolphins
Polamalu was hurt a decent portion of the year so his production dipped from 2005. Taylor, one of the league's most reliable veterans, put together a nice year with 13.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, and two interceptions that were both returned for touchdowns. He may have beneffited from Shawn Merriman's four-game suspension for steroids.

Offensive Rookie of the Year
My Pick: Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts
Reality: Vince Young, Tennessee Titans
I essentially saw Addai as the rookie with the best chance to make an impact on a good team, which is why I picked him. But Young came on like gangbusters and kept the Titans inexplicably in the playoff hunt. He even made the Pro Bowl.

Defensive Rookie of the Year
MY Pick: Bobby Carpenter, Dallas Cowboys
Reality: DeMeco Ryans, Houston Texans
I don't feel bad getting this wrong considering I really had no idea who would win. I just picked a high draft pick going to a good team. Houston got the defensive rookie, though it wasn't no. 1 overall Mario Williams.

Comeback Player of the Year
My Pick: Duante Culpepper, Miami Dolphins
Reality: Chad Pennington, New York Jets
Culpepper never really did come back. But Pennington got his team in as the most surprising playoff team in the league.

Division Winners
My Picks: Patriots, Steelers, Colts and Broncos (AFC). Cowboys, Vikings, Panthers and Seahawks (NFC).
Reality: Patriots, Ravens, Colts and Chargers (AFC). Eagles, Bears, Saints and Seahawks (NFC).
I wrote there were three no-brainer winners. And sure enough those are the only three I got right. With the exception of the Vikings, I don't think any of my other picks were dumb ones.

Wild Cards
My Picks: Bengals and Dolphins (AFC). Giants and Buccaneers (NFC).
Reality: Chiefs and Jets (AFC). Giants and Cowboys (NFC).
What can I say? I got them wrong.

And that's the season. In 2007 the Steelers, Cowboys, Raiders, Dolphins, Falcons and Cardinals will have new head coaches. As a Steeler fan I am of course most interested in, and rooting for, the success of Mike Tomlin. He steps into big shoes following two Super Bowl winning coaches. We'll get our first look at Tomlin on the Steelers sideline Aug. 5 when they play the Saints in the Hall of Fame Game.

I already can't wait for September.

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