Quarterback Chad Pennington hands the ball off to teammate Ronnie Brown during a league game against the New York Jets game played in East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Matthew Bostick …………….
And while much of this has gone on the New York Jets now find themselves in the midst of another meltdown having their coach Eric Mangini fired and the internal rift now building between Hall of Fame bound quarterback Brett Favre and a number of his teammates. If ever a season was steeped and doomed for failure then the season undergone by the Jets was it. With much of went on within the division being entertaining to say the least it was felt that the division was wide open. The expectations that Favre would be asked to meet were far too great for a player on the downside of an all illustrious career.
Dolphins’ coach Tony Sparano seen here on the sidelines of a game played against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale , Arizona. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ross D Brown ………………….
Buffalo got off to a fast start but that would soon peter out as they fell by the wayside all too quickly. With Tom Brady of the New England Patriots suffering a season ending injury in the first game of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs. Many felt that the Patriots’ season would too fall off as well. With rookie quarterback Matt Cassel being asked to take over the reins from Brady. No one was quite sure what to expect from a player who hadn’t played the position since his days in high school and whose college career was basically playing second fiddle to Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart while at the University of Southern California.
Dolphins’ offensive line coach works with his players at their practice facility in Davie , Florida. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Matthew Glassman ………
Cassel would excel in the position and guide the team to an 11-5 season narrowly missing the playoffs by finishing second in the division behind the Miami Dolphins. That being said this season was all about the Miami Dolphins and their triumphant return to respectability under the coaching of Tony Sparano under the ever watchful eye of Bill Parcells the behind the scenes architect of the franchise’s resurgence. With their wildcat offense simply catching a number of teams by surprise it can be said was a season of firsts for this team and their quarterback Chad Pennington who was cast aside by the New York Jets. That bitter taste now on the palates of the Jets and their fans has got to be now all the more unbearable for the franchise as a whole.
With Pennington seemingly having a resurgent year and running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams playing in unison. The team became the fanfare and the ticket that almost everyone was willing to pay for and see. It also helped that the defense as well was willing to play above and beyond what anyone had expected of this team. One could remember the comedy of errors that beset this team last year as they became the laughing stock of the NFL. In every facet of the game the ineptitude shown was glaringly obvious for all to see.
Pennington and Ronnie Brown celebrate a touchdown agasinst the Seattle Seahawks. picture appears courtesy of ap/phot/ Matthew Slocum …………..
As for Tony Sparano this was definitely a year of obvious growth and change not just for the team but for the coach as well. But if anything it has been Parcells and the foundations he put in place that set about this remarkable change in the fortunes of the franchise and the mindset of the fans in Miami. They’re now of the opinion that they possess what it takes to go all the way to the Superbowl. And with the game being held instate in the city of Tampa this would indeed be a wonderful way for the team cap off a memorable year. But first they’ll have to get over the obstacle of facing the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the playoffs. A team that’s steeped in the tradition playing football with the resolve and who in safety Ed Reed and linebacker Ray Lewis they may well have two of the most feared players in all of the NFL.
And like the Dolphins themselves the Ravens are resurgent under rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. Much like his counterpart Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons who’s led his team also into the playoffs . Flacco has shown that he too possesses the same type of calm resolve shown in leading a team into the playoffs in their first year in the NFL. This year has certainly been one of surprises for many within the NFL and outside of the game as well.
Ravens’ offensive tackle Adam Terry discusses a play after the player had just scored a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC game . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Matt Hagen ………………..
If the Dolphins are to prove themselves against the Ravens then they’re going to have to take the game to Baltimore and not let up one iota. Inasmuch as we know that this game will be one of ebbs and flows. It will be predicated on how quickly they get out of the gate once the game starts. If they’re not able to dictate the pace then they could very well end up on the wrong side of a loss that would seal their fate and postseason aspirations. And failing like that would most definitely end their Cinderella story for sure. As we all know fairy tales for those of us who believe in them tend to always have a happy ending. Somehow for the Baltimore Ravens it’ll be their task to make sure that the dreams of the Dolphins and their fans doesn’t come true.
John Harbaugh coach of the Baltimore Ravens is all smiles on the sidelines as his team triumphs over the Philadelphia Eagles 36-7 in a thoroughly convincing win. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Rushen ………………..
John Harbaugh’s team has played with a resolve not seen since they won the Superbowl with Brian Billick as their coach. But since those halcyon days the franchise has undergone a number of tough times. And those times we’ve seen their play become inconsistent and very erratic. However once Harbaugh was brought in as the new coach as Billick’s successor we saw a turnaround with the franchise and a newfound resolve in their play. We knew that the Ravens’ play was predicated on sound defense. But now we’re seeing a team whose play is now also about an offense that’s very much built around a running and passing that’s equally balanced. As to what we may well witness will be open to a great deal of debate.