25. Ndamukong’s stomp: Two years into his NFL career, Ndamukong Suh has already emerged as one of the game’s premier defensive linemen. Unfortunately, he’s also emerged as a player with one of the grimiest reputations in the league. It felt like the No. 2 overall pick out of Nebraska was attempting to defend himself for his antics all season, starting when he was the first player to be fined for an illegal hit back in August. The stereotype grew, and reached a climax, less than a month after he had a personal meeting with the commissioner, when he decided to do this…
24. Chris Johnson holds out, forgets how to play football: CJ2K wasn’t himself this season. After a lengthy, Darrelle Revis-style summer holdout, Johnson was barely able to retain a “CJ1K” moniker by compiling just 1,047 yards in 16 starts. His 4.0 yards per carry mark ranked third-last in the league among running backs with at least 250 carries, and he finished with just four touchdowns. That, folks, is why you don’t give running backs $50-million contracts with over $30 million guaranteed.
23. Canton keeps hating on receivers: For the second consecutive year, none of the top-flight, Hall of Fame-eligible receivers made the Canton cut, further increasing the chance that Tim Brown and Andre Reed never get inducted, while forcing many to wonder how flawed the system must be if Cris Carter still hasn’t received a bust.
22. Dawn of a new era in Jacksonville: We typically like to ignore Jacksonville, which is understandable. But despite another mediocre season on the field, the Jaguars made an unusual number of headlines this year. It all started with their decision to abruptly release starting quarterback David Garrard less than a week before the season. Enter top pick Blaine Gabbert, who struggled badly. Largely as a result of that, Jack Del Rio was fired after eight years as the team’s head coach in late November. And on that same day, it was announced that Wayne Weaver was selling the team to Shahid Khan, who has become the league’s first minority owner.
21. The Harbaugh brothers dominate: We came unbelievably close to having a Super Bowl pitting Jim and John Harbaugh against one another. In the end, Bill Cundiff missed against New England and Kyle Williams muffed against the Giants and history took another path, but the Harbaugh brothers still went a combined 25-7, both earning first-round playoff byes during the regular season. They made history when they faced each other on Thanksgiving, but that probably won’t be the only Harbowl we get. Based on each man’s success in 2011, expect both Harbaughs to be coaching in this league for quite some time.