For one day at least, we’ll ignore the chatter about which teams will make the playoffs and the order of the all important seedings.
Sunday night’s final regular-season game between the St. Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks will provide the missing piece of the puzzle.
Instead of all that we’ll head in the other direction and go with our list of the top five underachieving teams for the 2010 season. Boy, is there a lot to choose from.
And right off the top, without much thought, you can find a whack of them in the NFC.
At the start of the season if you had predicted that the division winners would be the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Saints, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers you probably would have found yourself running with the herd as those four teams were the picks by the majority of the pundits.
Of course, you would have wound up 0-for-4 with just one of the teams — the Saints — playoff bound.
The AFC pretty much has kept on script with the one big exception being the Kansas City Chiefs winning the West and the San Diego Chargers crashing on the rocks.
With a few days to go we’re going to take a leap of faith and assume that the Indianapolis Colts will win the AFC South and that the Green Bay Packers will nail down a playoff spot and knock the Giants from New York to the sidelines.
Following then are the top five under-achievers, the teams that provided the loudest clanks to their 2010 season.
No. 1 DALLAS COWBOYS
On this one there should be absolutely no debate. The Cowboys not only were the overwhelming favourite to win their division, but they were the odds on favourite in the NFC to be in their home stadium come Feb. 6 in the Super Bowl. Instead, the Cowboys lost seven of their opening eight games, including a 45-7 rout by the Green Bay Packers that cost Wade Phillips his job. The Cowboys were overrated and the lack of discipline by Phillips just added to the rot. At 5-10 they are nothing short of an embarrassment.
No. 2 MINNESOTA VIKINGS
The team expected to meet the Cowboys in the NFC championship were the Vikings. However, everything went downhill for the Vikings as soon as Brett Favre decided to come back for one more kick at the can. That has to go down as one of the worst decisions by a player in league history. Injuries to the receiver corps and the rust on Favre doomed the team as much as the dislike of the players for coach Brad Childress, who was axed after a 31-3 loss to those coach killers, the Packers. As for Favre, he is a punchline for bad jokes.
No. 3 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
The Charges are proof that not all the crap is piled in the NFC. They play in a division that at the start of the season seemed so lacking in talent that it figured to be impossible that the Chargers could do anything but moon walk to the title. However, lack of discipline and exceptionally poor play on special teams mandated that the Chargers would get off to another one of their dreadful starts. This season, though, even the inspired play of QB Phillip Rivers couldn’t stem the downhill slide.
No. 4 NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants could still make the playoffs but we’re not buying it. They deserve to be on this list for their historic collapse Dec. 19 when with eight minutes left in the game they had the Philadelphia Eagles on the mat and their grip on the NFC East title secure. But we all know how that game ended and last week they were crushed in a MUST win by — yes, you are correct — the Packers who dropped them 45-17.
No. 5 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Finally there are the 49ers who found out that you can’t get through a season without a GM and a coach who is out of touch with the modern day player. The 49ers competed in the worst division in NFL history and even if they played up to just half their ability the feeling was they would cruise to the division title. But thanks to Singletary’s performance and a heartless response by his team, they are on the outside looking in.
These three teams also stunk up the joint and deserve to be mentioned for their dismal seasons, although the stench they emitted was not quite as powerful as the top five — Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals and the 1-7 at home Miami Dolphins.