Volume 93, Issue x

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


Western hockey back on top

NFL season - a mix or surprises and boredom

Rounding up the 1999 holidays

Jordan retires, comes back and retires

NFL season - a mix or surprises and boredom

The National Football League playoffs started last weekend, ending what was the most surprising and at times, boring NFL season in recent years.

First, the surprises. The Green Bay Packers miss the playoffs and then fire head coach Ray Rhodes. Granted, Green Bay went 8-8, however Rhodes only had one year to implement his system which required more time than just one year to develop.

The next surprise was the San Francisco 49ers who, due to injuries and lack of defence, switched roles with the St. Louis Rams. The Rams – the proverbial joke of the National Football Conference – became contenders when the Niners turned into a team with a revolving door at quarterback and a defence who could not stop any offence from marching down the field.

The next big surprise was the amazing turn around of the Indianapolis Colts. They went from 3-13 last year to 13-3 this year. Peyton Manning showed why he is presently the best quarterback in the NFL and why he is the future superstar of the league. Edgerrin James illustrated the reason he was picked over New Orleans Saints runningback Ricky Williams in the draft. James is the complete package – not only can he run, but he's able to make the big catch when needed from the backfield. Over the next five years, the Colts will be the team to beat in the American Football Conference East division.

The final surprise of the season was the benching of Buffalo Bills quarterback Doug Flutie in favour of the taller Rob Johnson. Although Johnson played a strong game versus the Tennessee Titans, the benching of Flutie by head coach Wade Phillips was a slap in the face of the diminutive quarterback. Phillips showed he had little respect for the manner in which Flutie both guided his team to the playoffs last year and how he allowed his team to go 11-5 this year.

A less stimulating aspect of the NFL season was the amount of teams with 8-8 records or worse. Aside from those in the playoffs, this NFL season saw many teams with either strong offences or defences, but rarely did they have both.

While the playoff teams were sometimes able to have a little of each, the majority of NFL teams were mediocre, which made for some really boring football. The season proved there are way too many teams in the league and not enough talent to go around – can you name the quarterback for the Saints?

The playoffs potentially could bring new life into the NFL which will hopefully culminate in an exciting Super Bowl. However, like the season, the playoffs will see few classic matchups and more of the same old thing – boring, predictable football.

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