WILKES-BARRE — There have been highs and lows during this NFL season — both for regular football fans and for Fantasy Football fanatics.
My year has been mostly filled with lows — Andrew Luck, Dez Bryant, Matt Ryan, and on and on.
The NFL started out with “Deflate-gate,” that story about how the evil New England Patriots cheated by deflating footballs, making it easier for quarterback, Tom Brady, to throw those accurate passes in that rout of the Indianapolis Colts.
The NFL actually wanted to suspend Brady. Let’s get this straight — the NFL has a rule, it pays officials to work the games, the balls were checked, but not re-checked? It seems that if you have a rule, then be sure to be able to enforce it. Have the necessary amount of officials there to check and re-check the balls and to slap somebody on the wrist when they are found out.
Of course the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl over the Seattle Seahawks — a game that Seattle should have won, but decided to throw an interception rather than run the ball in for a TD at the end of the game.
After a spring and summer of story after story about Deflate-gate and whether Brady would be suspended, we finally got to the 2015 season.
Eagles’ Coach Chip Kelly, after dismantling a pretty good team, went to have a miserable, playoff-eliminated season. Just like my New York Giants, which managed to grasp defeat from the hands of victory several times this year. Add to that the emergence of Odell Beckham’s psychotic behavior and we have the makings of a long off-season.
And now we hear about allegations that Peyton Manning was using performance enhancing drugs. Hold on, OK, that’s enough about this. Someday we will have a discussion on this issue, but not today. Hypocrisy abounds in professional sports. Does anybody really believe that those football players got those muscular bodies from just lifting weights?
But if you are a baseball player, well, you see where this is going.
And the NFL wonders why there are so many concussions?
Anyway, the Carolina Panthers have managed to lose just one game so far. Cam Newton has done this in his NFL-MVP season without any running backs of note and zero wide receivers of any Fantasy value. But their defense is pretty good, I guess.
As we await who will be in Super Bowl 50, we can be happy to know that Edwardsville native George Toma will once again be in charge of getting the field ready in San Francisco. Toma has been the head groundskeeper for all 50 Super Bowls and he will be honored as one of 12 people who have been intimately involved with all 50 Super Bowls. Quite an honor.
Toma got his start at Artillery Park when he was just a kid. He went on to work for the Kansas City Chiefs and was friends with owner Lamar Hunt, who recommended Toma for the Super Bowl duty.
So who will play the Patriots in the Super Bowl? What? You think Brady & Co. won’t get there? Who can beat them? The Bengals? The Broncos? The Chiefs? The Texans? The Jets?
My guess for the NFC would have to be the Panthers or the Cardinals. The Packers are erratic. The Redskins are, well, the Redskins. The Vikings? The Seahawks? Well, maybe the Seahawks.
So many new faces have become forces in the NFL in 2015, making the 2016 Fantasy draft a real challenge. There will be names taken in the first round next year that nobody saw coming in 2015. And if we can figure out which guys named Johnson are the better players, it will make selecting even easier.
So here ya go — Super Bowl 50, as prepared by George Toma, will feature the Patriots and the Cardinals with the Cardinals winning, 35-24.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.