I don’t know about anyone else, but one of my favorite parts about the end of the year is looking back at the things that happened throughout the year that made it memorable, or in some cases, not so memorable.  Looking back at the 2010-11 NFL regular season, there were plenty of storylines that intrigued us and kept us wondering what was going to happen next.  So here’s a look at some of those storylines from one of the more memorable NFL regular seasons in recent history.

 Michael Vick’s comeback 

I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that don’t think this is as exciting or astonishing as I do because they can’t get past the whole dog fighting ordeal.  And believe me, I’m not condoning what he did at all, but when you look at the circumstances from which he came back, it’s pretty amazing.  Most people didn’t even think he would play football again, let alone become a more improved quarterback than he was before he went to jail. 

Vick has battled through a lot over the past few years – prison, critics, the NFL, personal issues and becoming mentally and physically fit, just to name a few.  But he has gotten past all those issues better than almost everyone thought he could.  Not only does he have his team in the playoffs in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season, he is also being considered for the NFL MVP.  He will most likely finish second in the voting behind Tom Brady, who played completely out of his mind this season, but that’s beside the point. 

Vick defied the odds this season, first as a person then as a football player.  I remember watching him play sparingly last season and I never would’ve believed he would be in the position he is now.  It’s absolutely amazing how far Vick has come over the past couple years.  And I know it may be hard for a lot of you to give him credit, but everyone deserves a second chance and I admire the ones who actually take advantage of that chance.

Favre’s final act? 

I think it’s pretty safe to say that after what Brett Favre has been through this season, he won’t be returning to the field next season.  Now, I know Favre has done this to us before.  He has kept us waiting and wondering if he will play another season even when everyone, except himself of course, thinks he should just hang it up.  Well, I think what has transpired over the past year or so will have him leaning toward finally retiring.  Favre had a horrible statistical season, by his standards, and his Vikings could never seem to get on track and be the team that made it to the NFC championship last season.  His consecutive game streak, which spanned over 19 seasons, was snapped at 297.  He was trying to play through lingering injuries while piling up new injuries that his aged body just could not recover from.  He also had to deal with the ongoing investigation that transpired after he left inappropriate voicemails and sent picture messages of “Private Favre” to former New York Jets employee Jenn Sterger.  Needless to say, Favre had a very rough year.   He already ranks first in virtually every major statistical quarterbacking category, so there’s no absolutely no reason for him to return next season.  But you never know with Favre.

Coaching carousel 

Wade Phillips, Brad Childress, Josh McDaniels and Mike Singletary were all fired during the 2010-11 regular season.  Without doing any research, I’m almost certain there has never been this many head coaches fired during the season in the same season.  I’m not sure if their owners expect too much too soon or if they are just hiring the wrong guys altogether.  It’s just amazing to me how hard it is for football coaches to keep their jobs nowadays and how replaceable each one of them actually is.  It kind of makes you appreciate the Andy Reid’s and Jeff Fisher’s of the world considering how successful they have been over such long periods of time.  

Fines, Fines, Fines 

It seemed as if every time you turned around this season another player was getting fined for their actions on the field.  Most of these fines came as a result of violent hits on defenseless players as well as other behavior Roger Goodell and league officials thought were unruly and unwarranted.  Some of the fines were warranted, but others were a little ridiculous.  I think this is an area the NFL really needs to take a look in the off-season.  They need to review the game tape of the players they fined and distinguish what kind of hit actually warrants a fine, as well as how much the fine should be worth.  This season what a total mess regarding how much certain players were fined for their offense.  Jameel McClain was fined $40,000 for his hit on Heath Miller back in December, which is 11.75% of McClain’s $470,000 salary.  That’s going a bit overboard if you ask me.

Tough luck for potential playoff teams 

There is definitely something wrong when two 10-win teams (Buccaneers and Giants) miss the playoffs and the 7-9 Seahawks get to host a playoff game.  Now, it’s not the Seahawks fault they play in the NFC West with the rest of the bums, but it’s just crazy when you look at the big picture.  You have teams thinking they need to get at least nine if not ten wins to earn a playoff spot while the winner of the NFC West is usually safe with about eight wins.  It’s not fair, but it’s the way it is.  Justice will prevail, though, as the Seahawks have the defending Super Bowl champion Saints coming into town this Saturday.

Submitted by Steve Giles