Enjoying a memorable season
I don't know how it happened, but all of my favorite football teams are producing seasons to remember, and my favorite signal caller has made the New York Jets a playoff contender and an interesting team to watch this season.
ESPN has what I call a network crush on Brett Favre – kind of how most news networks seem to adore President-elect Barack Obama – but its analysts seem split on whether or not the Packers are better off with young Aaron Rodgers behind center this year. A couple of them said Rodgers has been more productive because he has less interceptions than Favre, but another insisted No. 4 would have the Packers at 9-1 instead of 5-5.
The Packers are my favorite all-time NFL team, and I think Rodgers has done an admirable job, considering his circumstances of being a first-year starter and being the immediate successor to a future Hall of Famer who is still playing in the league. I've also been impressed on his ability to play through injuries this season while not using them as an excuse for the team's .500 record, which I expect to improve as the season hits the home stretch. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at the division standings because Green Bay actually leads the NFC North, which includes the 5-5 Vikings and 5-5 Bears and the woeful 0-10 Lions.
Since Favre doesn't play defense, I don't think his presence at Lambeau this season would have the injury-riddled Packers undefeated or even 9-1. I do think he would have guided Green Bay to at least a 7-3 record, which is the Jets' AFC East-leading mark as they head into a must-see noon matchup at undefeated Tennessee Sunday.
I don't have any longtime ties to the Titans, but they are the local NFL team, so I'm rooting for them to do what New England couldn't do last year – go wire-to-wire during the regular season and win the Lombardi Trophy. I'm also happy to see Atlanta has rebounded from the Michael Vick mess and Bobby Petrino regime to become a team with a legitimate shot at the playoffs.
I'm also hoping Atlanta will be the site of another upset for top-ranked Alabama this season. Writers always look for symmetry, and what could be more fitting than the Crimson Tide starting the season with an upset of Clemson at the Georgia Dome and then capping it by claiming the SEC Championship and a berth in the BCS Championship Game over heavily favored Florida?