It may not have been the highest scoring Super Bowl or the one with the most exciting ending, but if you can appreciate great defense…it was a beautiful game. The Panthers defense played well enough to win the game. But the Broncos defense put a bow on what could be a historically good season. More on that later. But in honor of Super Bowl 50, we here at 5th and 10 want to do a season review and list our 50 favorite things from the 2015-16 season.
As always, here is what we loved this season;
- Opening weekend. So was so great to have football back. It seems like forever ago. And now we have to wait till August again
- Marcus Mariota’s first NFL game. He looked unstoppable.
- Jim Tomsula. He always looked so confused on the 49ers sidelines.
- NFL RedZone. Still the BEST. THING. EVER.
- Having Tom Brady as my fantasy QB.
- Getting Tom Brady late in drafts because he was “suspended” for allegedly deflating a few footballs
- The Josh McCown commercial.
- Devonta Freeman dominating.
- Tim Tebow Karma. The Eagles looked unstoppable in the preseason, cut Tebow, then struggled all year.
- The Chiefs finally throwing a TD to a Wide Receiver
- Missed Extra Points. The new rule did make the most boring play in sports a little more fun.
- The Giants finding so many ways to blow games at the end.
- Todd Gurley running the ball.
- All my dated 90’s music references in the blog. I’m so out of touch.
- Deon Lewis and Gary Barnidge being legit NFL weapons.
- Blake Bortles development. Actually giving some hope to my Jaguar fans out there.
- The Colts terrible fake punt.
- Philip Rivers. So many kids. So many bolo ties.
- The Star Wars Trailer coming out during Monday Night Football.
- Kirk Cousins. For giving me my most overused joke of the season. Don’t worry, I won’t say it again.
- You like that! You like that! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
- Streaming the London games with limited commercials.
- Arian Foster. For letting me think I was a fantasy football genius for a few weeks before he got hurt again.
- Jim Bob Cooter. For making the Lions offense relevant again. And for having the best name any blogger could hope for.
- My terrible, terrible 3 game parleys all season. Pretty sure I went 1-19.
- The Saints vs. Giants game. The first in NFL history where exactly zero defense was played.
- The Saints defense for being a great running joke all year.
- Caleb’s GrantLand article and getting a shout out from Bill Simmons himself!
- My family cruise. Well worth missing a week of games.
- The Jacksonville vs. Baltimore ending. Still unbelievable.
- Trying to convince people every week the Panthers are actually good.
- The AFC South pretending to be a real division.
- Adrian Peterson being Adrian Peterson again.
- Matt Hasselbeck somehow winning a few games.
- Aaron Rodgers hail Mary against the Lions
- Jameis Winston. He looks like the real deal. Consider me impressed.
- Johnny Manziel. The exact opposite of Jameis Winston.
- The feedback I received from my ELF themed blog. Good to know other people out there enjoy a Christmas Classic.
- The name Doug. Baldwin and Martin made that name cool again.
- Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Josh Norman. It got out of hand, but it was fun to watch.
- Cam Newton taking it to the next level. Amazing season.
- David Johnson. The next big thing.
- The Chiefs somehow winning 11 games in a row without Jamal Charles.
- Jordan Reed. Becoming unstoppable.
- Watching the Vikings play outside in January. Correction –watching the Vikings play outside in January from inside my house in Florida under a blanket, drinking hot chocolate.
- The crazy Bengals vs. Steelers playoff game. Poor Bengals.
- The Aaron Rodgers double Hail Mary game. I guess one was too easy.
- The Panthers mentally and physically destroying anyone that came to Carolina. And then giving little kids footballs to celebrate.
- The Broncos winning the Super Bowl.
- This Blog. Thank you to Gavin and Caleb for letting me join their team and write for BenchPoints this season. It was a blast; I hope you readers enjoyed it. Only six more months and we can do it all over again.
There’s just one more thing…
The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl! I know all our readers are not Broncos fans so I didn’t want to overload the 50 things I loved from this season with Denver related points. Because if you’ve read this blog before you know I could fill 49 out of 50 spots with highlights from this Bronco season! (I couldn’t leave out the Colts fake punt, that was just too awesome)
I think any football fan can appreciate the joy that comes from a Super Bowl victory. But there is a little something extra in a Super Bowl victory that shouldn’t have happened for so many reasons. I’m going to apologize right now if I use the term “we” when referring to the Broncos. Just pretend with me that I’m a valuable part of the organization and they couldn’t have won without me.
We started the year with a new coaching staff because John Elway was smart enough to know that John Fox and Jack Del Rio were never going to win a championship. There’s nothing a 39-year-old QB loves more than learning a new offense in his 18th year. Especially one that relies on said QB to roll out and throw on the run. But don’t worry, our starting Left Tackle gets hurt and is out for the year. That should help.
Going into the season, everyone was saying that the defense was going to be great. Wade Phillips was going to unleash the talent that was already there. And Son of Bum did just that. With pretty much the same roster as Del Rio had before, the defensive unit looked completely different and was not only the top defense in the league but is in the conversation for one the best ever. When this conversation starts, everyone brings up the 85’ Bears, 00’ Ravens, 13’ Seahawks and the Steel Curtain of the 70’s. I think the Broncos and Seahawks should get extra credit for having such dominant defenses in an era where the league is designed for passing. Designed for high scoring shootouts where the QB’s are the stars of the league.
However they are remembered historically, this defensive unit was a joy to watch and was THE reason why Denver won the Super Bowl. John Elway did a masterful job using the draft and free agents to build this team. When you beat Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Cam Newton in the playoffs, you’ve earned your ring.
Some people might say that Peyton Manning didn’t do as much to earn his ring. And they’d be right. But there is something to be said for having a future hall of famer who has seen it all before and won’t be scared in the big moments. Peyton did just enough and didn’t turn the ball over (too much) once he came back from his injury/benching. He understood he had a championship defense and he needed to not mess it up. It’s a perfect ending to a great career. It’s why he chose to come to Denver. It’s why the Broncos brought him in. I think it’s time for him to follow in John Elway’s footsteps one more time, put on a suit and run a team. He can still drink all the Budweiser he wants.
Congratulations to the Denver Broncos. This has been an incredible season. I think I had about 42 heart attacks watching their games. I look forward to watching them defend the championship next season. I look forward to writing about it here on BenchPoints.
Please make sure you continue to check out the BenchPoints homepage, as Gavin and Caleb will have great posts going up about all the different sports going on while we wait for football to start again. And subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Stitcher called Riding the Pine.