Reflecting on the past year can be a romantic, whimsical, and poetic experience, one in which memories of days gone by are celebrated as we prance down some rhetorical road.
We aren’t romantic, whimsical, or poetic, and we don’t prance. We do, however, enjoy memories of a different kind.
Every year when the season ends we fight through our heavy Super Bowl hangover and fill the slow days of early February with a look back on the top 50 stories from the season. What follows is a list of a different kind that celebrates the gaffs, unique moments, and general absurdity of the 2011 season. Most of it’s contained within the confines of the playing surface, but there’s some fan zaniness that just couldn’t be ignored. That’s what happens when an inebriated baby boomer in Philadelphia begins freestyle rapping with a belt of beer around his waist.
So slump over in your desk chair on this lazy, pre-playoff Friday afternoon, and come with us as we look back on cheerleader tackles, cheerleaders gifts, and punts at cheerleaders.
The best moments of the 2011 regular season
20. Brad Jones decides that 15-year-old fans don’t belong on the field
Remember when burning CDs was new, cool, and hip? If you made CDs of the best songs of the year, there was always that one hit in late December that you felt guilty about including.
For us, our late-year song is Brad Jones’ tackle on a young fan who went for a Sunday jog during Green Bay’s Week 17 over Detroit at Lambeau.
19. The return of the fumblerooski
Not bad, Carolina, but the Little Giants are pretty pissed that you stole the Annexation of Puerto Rico.
18. This fumble wasn’t intentional
All Philip Rivers had to do with the clock winding down in Week 8 against the Chiefs was field a snap properly, and then run to the sidelines and watch a chip shot game-winning field goal. That task was too difficult, making Oct. 31, 2011 the worst day ever.
Despite Norv Turner’s job being seriously threatened, San Diego fell one win short of the AFC West title. It’s difficult to single out one play in an entire season and say that it cost a team a playoff berth. But based on the standings alone, if Rivers holds onto that ball and the easy field goal is then made, the Chargers are playing this weekend.
17. Footballs are a girl’s best friend
Because of David Nelson, wives and girlfriends in Buffalo will be getting footballs for Valentine’s Day this year.
16. Jason Witten would also like to say hello to a Cowboys cheerleader
Never the gentle type, Witten at least had the decency to spoon with Melissa Kellerman for a minute.
15. Brian Robison isn’t a gentleman either
This made the cut over Ndamukong Suh’s infamous stomp, because we wanted to prove that there’s just something about those Packers offensive lineman that makes defensive ends want to kick them really hard in the lower region.
14. Jason Garrett does not understand how to ice the kicker
We laughed then, and we’re still laughing now. Garrett’s ill-timed timeout cost the Cowboys a playoff berth.
13. Do you like your football soggy?
Football is a manly man’s game, and manly men don’t scurry inside because of a little drizzle, so it’s quite rare that weather stops or postpones an NFL game. But it’s hard to believe the Jaguars and Panthers didn’t stop for even a second while looking back on these images from Jacksonville in Week 3.
12. The Lions are trendy
Stephen Tulloch knows what all the kids on the Twitter have been twittering about.
11. It was fun when Cheerleaders were being cuddled and snuggled, but you’ve gone too far, Mike Vick
All the Redskins cheerleaders wanted to do is wave their arms in the air while not caring about anything, and suddenly a ball is flying at max velocity. Cheerin’ ain’t easy.
10. At least Michael Boley hit his sideline target
With his diminutive backpack, that kid was clearly out far too late on a school night. Boley has sound parental instincts.
9. The Giants need better fake injury choreography
Two isn’t always better than one, especially when dealing with an injury that exists only in the imagination.
8. Creativity and despair in one piece of homemade team merchandise
The Suck for Luck campaign was already taking over Indy in Week 8, the first time custom-designed Luck jerseys made an appearance at Lucas Oil Stadium.
7. Pre-game Thanksgiving Day anthem fumble
Country singer and American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina recovered nicely from her minor Christina Aguilera moment on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit.
6. A winning football team isn’t necessary for a post-game celebration in Philly
Forget this grizzled man’s ability to speak coherently and string together words that rhyme. I’m just impressed that he can do all that while still standing.
5. Torrey Smith should probably cut his hair
When a receiver’s dreads are halfway down to his waist, we should have seen this coming.
4. Gun shots and a plane crash in the end zone
Bob Costas will not be attending your birthday party this year, Stevie Johnson. Don’t save any ass cake for him.
3. The night the lights went out in San Francisco
Tickets for night games in San Francisco are now sold with pocket flashlights, because then if there’s another blackout the fans can see, and the players can play. Brilliant.
2. Jerome Simpson likes to flop…
Based on the inertia shown by Simpson and his trajectory after take off, he should be landing any minute.
1. …And he likes to flip
Somewhere, Kerri Strug was fuming with jealousy when Simpson’s ankle remained in one piece.