A Look at the Biggest Losers in the NFL This Year
|Date & Time||Wednesday February 10, 2016, 12:00 PM (EST)|
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As promised, we’re going to spend hump day looking at the top ten biggest losers from the 2015 NFL season. On the bright side, it’s the offseason, so there’s plenty of time for the teams and players on this list to address their issues, some of which are bigger than others.
1. Johnny Manziel
I’m not even going to poke fun at Manziel (as enjoyable as that usually is) because I legitimately feel bad for him at this point. Manziel seems to have developed a substance abuse problem that he can’t kick on his own and won’t try to kick with professional help. Even the Cleveland Browns had the good sense to bench him in 2015. At this point, it looks like Manziel’s professional football career, such as it was, may be over. You know it’s bad when Charlie Sheen starts offering you advice…
2. Every team in the New England Patriots’ division
For five years running, the Patriots have been the only AFC East team to make the postseason. For seven years running, they’ve been the only team to win the AFC East division crown. In fact, the Buffalo Bills' sixteen-year playoff drought is the longest in the NFL right now. Now, I’m not saying the league favors Bill Belichick’s team, but let’s face it, the other teams in this division do not have it easy. In fairness, Todd Bowles did take the New York Jets to 10–6 this year, so we’ll see what 2016 holds.
3. Jim Tomsula
I was actually standing on the field at Levi’s when Tomsula was given the San Francisco 49ers head coaching job. The stadium employee who told me the news was immensely excited. After all, the players were familiar with Tomsula, the front office loved him, and he knew the team well. What could possibly go wrong? Answer: Everything. As if Tomsula’s 5-11 record wasn’t bad enough, he never looked comfortable on the sidelines or in a press conference all season long. Unsurprisingly, Tomsula was ousted on Black Monday. At the very least, 49ers CEO Jed York had the decency to take responsibility for some of the team’s 2015 issues.
4. Ryan Grigson
I think I speak for Colts Nation as a whole when I say that everyone wanted Grigson to be gone. Alas, it was not to be and Jim Irsay deigned to keep him along with Coach Pagano. Grigson, though, needs to get his act together if he wants to last more than one more season in Indianapolis. He’s already made some disastrous decisions (Bjoern Werner, Trent Richardson, anyone?) and alienated the fan base entirely. If free agency and the draft don’t go well this year, Grigson’s likely to be out of a job sooner rather than later. Talk about being on the clock.
5. The Cleveland Browns
I know, I know…Manziel was already featured. Sadly, Johnny Football is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Browns' problems. They’ve let yet another head coach and general manager go, firing both Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer on Black Monday. They’ve still not figured out their quarterback situation (hi, Josh McCown) and, to top it all off, they have to play football in Cleveland. Just sayin’. When the 2016 season kicks-off, the Brownies will be on their ninth (counting interim) head coach since 1999. That’s insane, people.
6. Kelvin Benjamin
Haven’t heard that name in awhile, have you? Benjamin, the Carolina Panthers star wide receiver, went down with a torn ACL before the regular season even started. Not only did Benjamin miss the team’s nearly undefeated season, but he missed the chance to make his mark this year. If he’d been on the field, who’s to say how things would have ultimately ended for Carolina? I’m still calling that the Broncos would have won it all (it’s the Peyton fan in me, folks), but it’s certainly an interesting scenario to consider.
7. Indianapolis Colts’ quarterbacks
The Colts were once favored to win Super Bowl 50. Go ahead and laugh. When starting quarterback Andrew Luck was sidelined with a lacerated kidney and a laundry list of other injuries, back-up Matt Hasselbeck stepped-in and performed admirably for four weeks. Then, Hasselbeck started getting hurt in nearly every game. Enter Charlie Whitehurst. Clipboard Jesus did his best, but that poor boy is just not cut out for the NFL. By Week 17, the Colts had five quarterbacks on their 53 man roster. Got all that? The moral of this story is that the team must address the offensive line this offseason or they’re unlikely to ever bring another Lombardi Trophy to the Circle City. Josh Freeman does not win championships, y’all.
8. St. Louis, Oakland, and San Diego fans
With the Rams officially set to make the move back to Los Angeles, the city of St. Louis is without an NFL team for the first time since 1994. The Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers still haven’t officially confirmed where they’ll be playing ball in the foreseeable future, with rumors abounding that the Bolts will still wind-up in LA and that the Raiders are considering a move to Las Vegas. Say what? Fans in all three of these cities had it rough in 2015 and the drama hasn’t stopped yet.
9. NFL officials
From controversial calls to the missing 18 seconds in a prime time game to coin toss-gate, NFL officials didn’t perform their best this year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If the league is serious about delivering a quality product, officiating has got to improve. During every year in recent memory, there has been an increasing number of bad calls, strange calls, and all-around bizarre situations in the world of NFL refereeing.
10. Blair Walsh
Overall, Walsh had a good season. Then, he missed that kick. The 27-yarder that would have won a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks on January 10? Yeah, that kick. Walsh was much maligned (except by those adorable elementary school students) for weeks afterward. I’m sure there are still some pretty unhappy Vikings fans, actually, especially considering what they went through in the 1999 NFC Championship game. They just don’t have the best luck with kickers up there, do they?