The 2010 season was full of excitement, but that should be no surprise. Unpredictability is the norm in today’s NFL.
Scoring at a 45-year high…passing records falling…record-breaking streaks continuing (and ending)…new teams making the playoffs and winning divisions...consistent teams excelling once again…young (and, in some cases, undrafted) players making their mark…and so much more!
"Every week stands on its own. Every game is tough. Every team can beat any other team," says Baltimore Ravens head coach JOHN HARBAUGH. "You’ve always got to be on top of your game. You’ve got to play well to win."
The NFL is never short on surprises, and the 2010 season was no different.
A record 11,283 points were scored, with games averaging 44.07 points, the highest average in 45 seasons (46.12 in 1965). In all, 1,270 total touchdowns were scored, tying the league-wide record set in 2002.
A record-tying 13 teams won at least 10 games – New England (14), Atlanta (13), Baltimore (12), Pittsburgh (12), Chicago (11), New Orleans (11), N.Y. Jets (11), Green Bay (10), Indianapolis (10), Kansas City (10), N.Y. Giants (10), Philadelphia (10) and Tampa Bay (10). Thirteen teams also did so in 2003 and 2005.
The 2011 season promises more of the same. Every team enters the new year with hope!
Last season, five teams – Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Seattle – made the playoffs that were not in the postseason the year before. It marked the 15th consecutive season in which at least five teams (out of 12) accomplished the feat. Kansas City rebounded to win the AFC West after a last-place finish in 2009. This marked the NFL-record eighth consecutive season that a team went from "worst-to-first" in its division. Of the 33 teams to go from "worst-to-first" in NFL annals, 16 of them have done so since 2000.
Nothing exhibits the unpredictability of the NFL more than the tightness of NFL games:
"A lot of real close, competitive games come down to the last possession, the last play or one key play right at the end of the game," says New England Patriots head coach BILL BELICHICK. "The league is very competitive all the way across the board."
Games continued to be this close. Nearly 67% were within one score in the fourth quarter.
There were six new division winners in 2010 – Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Seattle – tied for the most such clubs since realignment in 2002. Three teams – Tampa Bay (seven-game improvement), Kansas City (six) and St. Louis (six) – combined for a 19-game improvement from 2009 to 2010.
Are you ready for some football?