The Bottom Ten/NFL Final
By Gaylon Kent
The Writer's Shack
January 6, 2016
It starts in the summer, 32 teams chasing, no stumbling towards, one (1) goal: the Dan Henning Trophy - symbolic of NFL Bottom Ten supremacy. One (1) team makes it. 31 don't.
Some make the medal stand, some settle for a final Bottom Ten ranking while twelve (12) completely fail and - whatever - make the playoffs.
And sometimes you make history, as the Tennessee Titans did this year, becoming the first team ever to win consecutive NFL Bottom Ten titles.
The final fiasco, as the nags stumble across the finish line:
1. Tennessee Titans (3-13; lost to Indianapolis 30-24) - Ranked as low as #9 in Week 6 poll, Titans bide time, taking command after Cleveland shocked everyone with win…Titans show mettle of B-10 champion, finishing with strong, league-best four (4) game losing streak…2016 Outlook: Strong…Titans will be tough to beat in quest for B-10 three-peat.
2. Cleveland Browns (3-13; lost to Pittsburgh 28-12) - Browns offense heads into offseason on high note, with four (4) interceptions and four (4) field goals accounting for thrilling 1-to-1 Interception-to-Field Goal ratio…Browns settle for first ever B-10 runner-up finish, as onnly tragic win vs San Francisco prevented first ever B-10 title, season-ending nine (9) game skid…2016 Outlook: Very strong…B-10 pollsters achieving and maintaining state of arousal over Browns long-term B-10 prospects.
3. Dallas Cowboys (4-12; lost to Washington 34-23) - Cowboys overcome 2-0 start for magical first-to-worst NFC East run and first ever B-10 medal stand finish…2016 Outlook: Tony Romo ain't getting any younger and Jerry Jones will continue to show he is an average general manager, so while another medal stand finish might be asking a bit much, it might not be, either.
4. Cleveland Browns - Team in such disarray B-10 pollsters need two (2) spots to sort everything out…Owner Jim Haslam is looking for fifth (5th) coach this decade, the type of continuity that leads straight to B-10 glory…B-10 pollsters "pretty sure" Browns first team ever to claim two (2) berths in final B-10 survey…2016 Outlook: With whack-job owner committed to revolving door coaches and general managers, Browns poised for strong 2016 B-10 run, not to mention making big pitch for B-10 Team of the Decade honors.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11; lost to Houston 30-6) - Jaguars finish strong, losing final three (3) games and five (5) of last six (6), but consecutive wins in November leave Jaguars on outside of medal stand looking in…2016 Outlook: Jaguars another team with some offseason soul searching scheduled, as consecutive five (5) win seasons have followed 2013's triumphant medal stand finish.
6. San Diego Chargers (4-12; lost to Denver 27-20) - Chargers overcome so-so 2-2 start to kick it into gear, losing ten (10) of last 12 (12)…Chargers offense key in finale, turning five (5) Broncos turnovers into three (3) punts and only ten (10) points…2016 Outlook: Strong…With offseason of complete turmoil almost guaranteed, Barstow Chargers should have no trouble competing for 2016 B-10 medal stand.
7. AFC South - B-10 pollsters with toughest call in recent memory, give Pete Rozelle Award - issued to league's worst division - to AFC South over NFC East "more or less for the hell of it"…While B-10 staffers scour bylaws for hell of it provision, pollsters point out AFC South second through fourth place teams had one (1) fewer win than NFC East counterparts.
8. Thursday Night Football - Games significantly closer than last season - nine (9) point average margin of victory vs. 17 - but it is still cruel and unusual punishment to make professional football players play on three days rest…Plus football purists really prefer to leave Thursdays reserved for exciting Mid-American Conference games.
9. Chicago Bears (6-10; lost to Detroit 24-20) - B-10 pollsters - never too bright - were about to laud Bears strong 3-5 second half, only to realize they had a 3-5 first half, too…2016 Outlook: Not good…Bears have won more games than any team in NFL history and are seldom very bad for very long…Team needs to really do some soul searching and decide if they have what it takes to wrest NFC North B-10 preeminence away from Detroit.
10. National Football League - Excitement generated from Titans repeating as B-10 champions bound to fade this offseason as Chargers, Raiders and Rams all looking to return to city they all once played in and then left because it wasn't good enough…B-10 pollsters still "more or less certain" league won't be around in a generation, as more and more kids decide they'd like to hit their 40's not drooling and able to use ketchup squirt bottles without causing everyone in the tri-state area to towel off.
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