As the year comes to a close, let’s take a look at the freakiest events that occurred related to the game we all love. In no particular order, these are some of the most memorable happenings in football throughout the past year.
The Demise of Ohio State and Jim Tressel
The block “O” which stood for so much in the Jim Tressel-led Ohio State program began to crumble as the Buckeyes were preparing for last year’s Sugar Bowl. It was reported that several players, including star QB Terrelle Pryor, received improper benefits from a local tattoo parlor owner in December. The players were then suspended, not for the bowl game, but for the first five games of the 2011 season.
Later, it was found that Tressel was aware of the improprieties but did not report them. On May 29th, Tressel resigned amidst pressure from the Ohio State administration. Interim coach Luke Fickell went 6-6, just 3-5 in the Big Ten, and the Buckeyes hired Ohio-native Urban Meyer to lead the program. Meyer was “rewarded” with a 2012 bowl ban thanks to the Sweater Vest.
Jumping Ship: Conference Realignment Continued
With Nebraska in the Big Ten and Colorado and Utah both part of the new PAC-12, 2011 continued the trend of conference shuffles as Texas A&M decided it had enough of the Longhorn Network and Texas and skedaddled to the SEC. A few weeks later Missouri was on the radar as the next team that would make the jump from the Big 12 to the SEC. Pittsburgh and Syracuse, plank owners in the Big East, will become part of the ACC, and TCU, which was scheduled to become a Big East member, peaced out and joined the Big 12. West Virginia has decided to do the same, that is, leave the Big East and join the Big 12 even as a lawsuit threatens the move. San Diego State, Boise State, Houston, SMU, UCF and Navy decided that they would all join the Big East. Get all of that? There will be a test before next season.
Robert Griffin III Wins the Heisman
The most interesting man in college football, and also the freakiest, was awarded the Heisman Trophy in a season to remember for Baylor fans. RG III was always on the grid, but Baylor is hardly a household name in college football. robert griffin iiiThe 6-2, 225-pound junior, who has graduated already, put the Bears on the map quickly. The first Friday night of the college football season saw RGIII lead his Bears to a five touchdown, 50-48 upset of TCU in front of a nationally televised audience. Later he threw for 551 yards and threw a last-minute TD to defeat Oklahoma. He capped off Baylor’s 10-3 season this week leading the Bears to a 67-56 win in the Alamo Bowl. Great arm, superb knowledge of the game, incredible speed… the freakiest player in the game!
Freaky High School Performances
Several high school football records were broken this season with some freakish numbers. Jonathan Gray, a senior at Aledo (TX) HS, set a national record for career touchdowns with… 205! That’s an average of over 50 per year! Gray also finished second in career points scored with 1,232.
Hillcrest (MO) HS senior WR Dorial Green-Beckham broke the career receiving yards record with 6,356. Maty Mauk, a senior QB at Kenton (OH) HS finished his career by breaking the national records in passing yards, TD passes, completions, attempts, and total yards. Here’s a breakdown of his freakish numbers:
Passing yards 18,932
TD passes 219
Total yards 22,681
The Year of the Pack
The Green Bay Packers backed into the 2011 playoffs, then went 4-0 in the post-season capped by a Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The winning continued as the Packers won the first 13 games of the new season led by likely NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. It would be the NFL’s second-longest winning streak, 19 games, before an upset loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 14.
Case Keenum Rewrites Record Books
Granted a sixth year of eligibility, Case Keenum made it count. He led Houston to a magical 11-1 season in which the Cougars led the nation in total offense and scoring. Keenum finishes his career with 18,685 passing yards, 152 touchdowns, and the career leader in completions with 1,501.
That’s probably all that needs said, but for those who may not be tuned in, Tebow was toiling as a #3 QB with the Broncos as they started this season 1-4. The former Florida star and Heisman Trophy winner was inserted into the lineup as the starter and led Denver to an improbable 7-1 record as the Broncos captured first place in the AFC West. In the process, he has converted many into believing that a spread-type QB with a college-type spread offense can succeed in the NFL.
After 136 days the NFL owners and players came to a new labor agreement, one that benefits both sides tremendously, and the season proceeded without interruption. As fans, we knew it would get done. We just didn’t know when. Now, we hardly remember it went down.
Freakish NFL Numbers
Entering the final week of the NFL season, Drew Brees has already broken Dan Marino’s record for most passing yards in a season. Brees has 5,087 yards and he is not the only one on schedule to surpass 5,000. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Eli Manning each hit 4,000 yards with three weeks to go. Brady is on pace to hit 5,223. Some freaky numbers and it may continue as all four QBs plus the likes of Philip Rivers and Ben Rothliesberger and others are leading us into another golden age of passing in the NFL.
write by Odette