"CHECK OUT THE PREVIEWS, AND GET YOUR TICKETS EARLY"

There is nothing like a great, memorable movie. But there are some key elements that make a movie “GREAT”. Does it engage your attention the entire time? Does the movie pull at your emotions, and pull you into the script, as if you were a part of it? Does it leave you begging for a sequel? And more importantly, if there is a sequel, does it EXCEED THE EXPECTATIONS you had after watching it’s predecessor?

If the 2011-12 NFL season was a movie, Oscar nominations would be handed out abundantly. Over the past four seasons, the NFL has done a phenomenal job at engaging our attention, and leaving us wanting more. Starting with 18-0 New England Patriots falling to an improbable “giant-killer”. Followed by a New Orleans, high-powered offense being strong enough to lift an entire city in turmoil. Last season, brought forth a young gun (Aaron Rodgers), emerging from the shadows of a Legend. And Part 4 (the 2011 season), sparked with CBA disagreements, rookie phenoms, long-awaited playoff births, and two familiar foes meeting at the end. Whew! It seems as if I just finished watching the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy all over again. Each season seems to get “gooder and gooder”, as my Grandpa used to say.

I couldn’t allow this season to fade away into the history books without giving my final word on what we witnessed, AND my expectations for next season.

• THE SEASON STARTED WITH THE REALIZATION THAT ONE OF THE GREATEST QB’S TO EVER PLAY THE GAME WOULD BE SIDELINED. IT’S INSANE TO THINK THAT HE MAY HAVE A NEW HOME NEXT YEAR! BUT IF HE GOES TO THAT TEAM WHO HAS ALL THE OTHER PIECES IN PLACE…..

• WE WITNESSED THE EMERGENCE OF SOME “YOUNG GUNS”, LEAD BY ROOKIE QB’S CAM NEWTON AND ANDY DALTON. CAM PLAYED EVERY GAME LIKE HE WAS A 10-YR VETERAN, AND SOMEWHAT OVER-SHADOWED DALTON. BUT DALTON LEAD HIS CINCINNATI BENGALS TEAM TO A PLAYOFF BIRTH, AND PERFORMED LIKE AN ALL-STAR IN THIS SEASON’S PRO BOWL. IT ALL LEAVES YOU SALIVATING TO THINK ABOUT WHAT MIGHT BE IN STORE WITH COLLEGE ALL-STARS ANDREW LUCK AND RG3 ENTERING THE LEAGUE.

• NEW TEAMS WERE AT THE TOP OF THE STANDINGS IN 2011. THE 49ERS, LIONS, BRONCOS, TEXANS, AND BENGALS ENTERED THE PLAYOFF RANKS THIS SEASON, WHICH MEANS THAT THERE WAS A 42% TURNOVER OF PLAYOFF TEAMS. (1 MORE WOULD’VE MADE HALF) IT’S EXCITING TO NOT SEE THE SAME TEAMS IN THE PLAYOFFS EVERY, SINGLE SEASON.

• I’M EXCITED TO SEE HOW SOME OF THESE YOUNG, STRONG TEAMS WILL FOLLOW UP THIS SEASON. TEAMS LIKE SAN FRANCISCO, DETROIT, CINCINNATI, ATLANTA, AND HOUSTON ARE CLEARLY A FEW “ADDITIONS” AWAY FROM BEING A SUPER BOWL TEAM. WILL THAT ADDITION COME IN 2012?

• AFTER YEARS OF DOUBTING NEW YORK GIANTS QB ELI MANNING’S SKILL AND LEADERSHIP, HERE ARE THE FACTS. HE NOW HAS 1 SUPERBOWL RING LESS THAN TOM BRADY (BUT HAS BEATEN HIM TWICE). AND HE HAS 1 MORE RING THAN DREW BREES, AARON RODGERS, AND HIS BIG BROTHER, PEYTON.

No matter which storyline appealed to you the most, the Tebow craze, the Philadelphia Eagles end of the season dominance, or the critical injuries to “A-List” players….it all leaves us begging for this Fall to come quickly. The crazy thing is, the 2011 season just ended three days ago. All of this anticipation is enough to create a pretty strong flocking to the NFL’s next box office hit, the 2012-13 season. In the words of the New York Jets Bart Scott, “CAN’T WAIT!”

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