5 Biggest Storylines Of The 2011 Season

These 5 stories defined this year in football.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

With the NFL season almost concluded, a quick look back at the season that was seems appropriate enough. With the lockout shortened offseason, nobody knew exactly what to expect out of the NFL this season. While many feared the worst, what we got was just another great year of football filled with storylines that will make it stand out for years to come. Below are the top 5 of them, in my opinion. They made this NFL year the memorable one it was.

 

5. The Fall of the Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts have been a staple of excellence in the NFL for a very long time. In fact, they have pretty much been penciled into the playoffs since they picked Peyton Manning in 1998. But this year saw their star quarterback sidelined for the entire season due to injury. The result of not having Manning produced the greatest free-fall the NFL has ever seen as the Colts lost their first 13 games and finished at 2-14, Indianapolis's worst record in over 20 years. With the bad record comes the first pick in the NFL draft and that pick has already been decided with the Colts planning to draft quarterback Andrew Luck. With a new top flight QB, where does that leave Manning this offseason?

 

4. The Breaking of Dan Marino's Passing Record

Back in 1984, Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino had one of the greatest quarterbacks seasons of all time. In that year he tossed for 5,084 yards and broke the NFL record for passing yards. That record, seemingly unreachable by the length he held it, was broken this season by the skillful throwing of New Orleans stud Drew Brees. Brees had a huge year, putting up his second 5000 yard season of his career and passing Marino's achievement. For the season, Brees passed for 5,476 yards in leading the Saints to the NFC South crown.

 

3. The Rise of the San Francisco 49ers

The NFC West was a joke last season, sending the leagues first team with a losing record into the postseason, but oh how a year can change things. With the hiring of former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers went from the cellar of one of the worst divisions to the second seed of the NFC and just one game away from the SuperBowl. The winning is great for the team but Harbaugh's biggest success of the season has to be his work with QB Alex Smith. Smith, a former number 1 pick who many have wrote off as a bust, has had a very strong season and was instrumental in their last minute win over the New Orleans Saints last week. Credit Harbaugh for his, and the teams, meteoric rise in confidence and wins.

 

2. The Dominance of the Green Bay Packers

After basically coming out of nowhere to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in last years SuperBowl, the Packers came into this season with a lot of expectations being thrown at them. For the regular season, they met those and more as they went an impressive 15-1 to wrap up the top seed in the NFC. What made this run impressive, wins aside, was the total dominance and control shown by their QB, Aaron Rodgers. A sure-fire MVP choice this season, Rodgers was unstoppable. Unfortunately they couldn't turn regular season success to the postseason as they lost their first playoff game to the New York Giants.

 

1. The Tale of Tim Tebow

Everyone by now knows who Tim Tebow is, he's the current starting QB for the Denver Broncos, and everyone knows his story of winning this season. Tebow started the season as the top QB in preseason, got demoted to 4th string, ended up taking back the starting job in week six and then went 7-4 to win the AFC West. He then went on to upset the Pittsburgh Steelers in the opening round before falling short at New England. Yep, everyone knows this and that's a credit to how huge a story this has been and why it's number one on this list.

 

Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS