At the beginning of the season teams like the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers graced the covers of endless magazines and were considered shoe-ins to play for the Lombardi Trophy. Fans in New Orleans believed that making Drew Brees the highest paid player in the NFL would ensure that the Saints would operate without a hitch and contend for another Super Bowl.
However in only a short time the NFL has dealt its fans one harsh reality, that an unpredictable season awaits and the popular picks to win it all may struggle to even make playoffs. Last season was truly an exceptional one but the record-breaking offensive outputs are unlikely to be repeated EVER again. After being victimized by these potent offenses defensive coordinators around the league have had an entire off-season to prepare for the rigors of a long NFL season.
So far this season the NFL’s so-called elite quarterbacks (Brees, Manning, Brady, and Rodgers) have all struggled to adapt to the new wrinkles defenses have installed to beat them. The New Orleans Saints sit at 0-3 and so far this season Drew Brees has made a number of game changing decisions like the safety or the costly interception which cost the Saints the game against perennial doormat the Kansas City Chiefs.
Not to be out done, the two other 19 million dollar men Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have become shadows of themselves, their play on the gridiron is not matching the names on the back of their jerseys. For the first time in his thirteen year career Peyton Manning admitted being lost and confused when he attempted to explain his three interceptions to a stunned media room. Tom Brady was also at a loss for words when asked to explain the plight of the New England Patriots who with a loss next week may fall below .500 for the first time in nearly seven years.
Last night there were many times when NFL MVP Aaron Rodger also looked lost against the Seattle Seahawks, failing to read defenses quickly enough resulting in a NFL record 8 sacks in the first half. After nearly five years of offensive dominance by these elite quarterbacks it appears a new generation of defensive masterminds have arisen and made these future Hall of Famers finally look human.
Although there are still many more games left to play the revival of elite defenses is no mirage and the chess match which will occur throughout the season will truly be one to marvel at. A $19 million dollar quarterback used to guarantee you of a playoff run, we shall see if these old guys will have any new tricks. Are we witnessing a new era or the careers of these elite quarterbacks in decline, in 17 weeks we will know for sure. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)