December 29, 2008
Because the Cowboys are the Cowboys, the media will claim that their implosion was the biggest choke job of the NFL season. And, to be fair, the collapse of Romo and company was Hindenburg-esque. But was it the worst?
The Broncos, Bucs, Jets and Redskins can lay claim to the title as well, each team providing their own take on a late-season collapse. Let's break down the candidates, in alphabetical order.
Dallas Cowboys -- At 3-0, the Cowboys were the toast of the NFL (even if some prescient souls warned of an impending collapse). A mid-season malaise coincided with an injury to Tony Romo's pinkie, but Dallas righted the ship and entered December at 8-4. With a huge road win against the Steelers seemingly in the bag, it looked like the Cowboys would coast into the playoffs as a favorite. But after a thrilling fourth quarter drive by Pittsburgh tied the score, Romo threw a crippling interception that was returned for a touchdown and the Cowboys collapse had begun. They lost three of four to finish the year, a stretch that includes yesterday's stinker in Philly.
Denver Broncos -- Denver held a seemingly-insurmountable four-game lead over the Chargers on December 3. The only way the Broncos could lose the division is if the team lost four straight while San Diego won four straight. We all know what happened. To be fair, Denver was never all that good in the first place. Or good at all.
New York Jets -- Earlier today, MJD referred to Brett Favre's recent play as reminiscent of Bubby Brister in 1995. That's pretty insulting ... for Brister. Bretty and the Jets were 8-3 and finished the season with five winnable games, three of which should have been gimmies: vs. Denver, at San Francisco, at Seattle. The Jets lost all three, only sneaking in a win against Buffalo. By the time they took the field yesterday, they were eliminated from playoff competition.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- The Bucs get my vote, and it's not even close. They make Tony Romo look like Joe Montana. Jon Gruden's squad was 9-3 before losing three games to drop to 9-6 headed into yesterday. That wasn't too appalling; the Bucs were never as good as their 9-3 mark would suggest, so that 9-6 record seemed to even things out. Plus, those three games were all tough. But all Tampa had to do in the final weekend was beat the Oakland Raiders ... at home. Again, all they had to do was beat the Oakland Raiders ... at home. Instead, they lost - to the Oakland Raiders - capping the year with four consecutive defeats.
Washington Redskins -- Washington's choke isn't in the forefront of most people's minds, as the Redskins were essentially eliminated from playoff competition back in week 15. But don't underestimate the collapse that took place in the Nation's Capital though. The only way it could have been worse is if Jim Zorn had hired Sarah Palin as offensive coordinator. At 6-2 the 'Skins looked primed to make a playoff run. They were in the top-five on many power rankings and Jim Zorn was a candidate for Coach of the Year. During the season's second half, though, Washington reversed that record, finishing 2-6 to cap an 8-8 record after two egregiously bad losses to Cincinnati and San Francisco.
So what do you think? Which team had the biggest collapse this year?
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