Over the next few days, we’ll examine the top 10 moments of the ’08 season leading up to the moment that defined the 2008 NFL season.
9. I’ll Stop the World and Melt With You: Bears, Broncos, Bucs, and Jets play themselves out of the playoff picture in Week 17 and add to the nation’s growing unemployment rate.
A portion of the dollars earned by the Philadelphia Eagles during the playoffs should be donated to some type of fund to support the college education of Michael Bush’s future children; or perhaps when Andre Johnson looks for more dollars in Houston, Philly can kick in a few extra thousand dollars to prevent a prolonged holdout.
Without Bush’s Raiders or Johnson’s Texans running roughshod over the Bucs and Bears respectively, the Eagles would have missed the playoffs regardless of badly they beat the disinterested Cowboys in Week 17.
After 12 games, the Bucs were 9-3 and on there way to at worst a home playoff game. Instead, Jon Gruden’s bunch lost its last four games, including a disastrous 31-24 loss to the Raiders in Tampa.
While Bush was running over the Bucs, surely the Bears could take advantage of Tampa’s misfortune and beat a Houston team that lost at the aforementioned Raiders a week earlier right? After taking a 10-0 lead on the road, the Bears went belly up and lost 31-24.
Thus, the Eagles slaughtered the Cowboys hours later, snuck into the playoffs thanks to two teams gagging and nearly into Super Bowl XLIII.
And then there was the AFC…
The Denver Broncos collapsed down the stretch yet again by losing three games over a five game stretch including a home loss to the Raiders and fell into a decisive game for the AFC West versus the San Diego Chargers.
As the story goes, 4-8 became 7-8 for the Chargers heading into their battle with the Broncos. Of course, in the post John Elway days of Denver, the Broncos often fail when the spotlight is brightest.
Week 17 deteriorated into a nightmare as the Chargers smacked Denver 52-21. Days later, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen fired two-time Super Bowl winning head coach Mike Shanahan.
Lastly, the Jets who were all but dead entering the weekend thanks to losing three of their last four games, faced Miami in the Meadowlands with a chance to prevent them from the winning the AFC East; while putting the Patriots into the playoffs with a Miami loss.
Yet, when Brett Favre uttered the words during a pregame speech to the team “hey, if it works out, it works out…if it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” you knew where this game was heading.
And indeed, right down the toilet it went for the Jets in a 24-17 defeat.
The main idea from Week 17? Postseason collapses + no playoff berth = loss of jobs for head coaches. Only Lovie Smith managed to keep his job out of the bunch that lost.
In the case of the Jets, having an old and physically worn down quarterback doesn’t help either.
By the way, for those of you wondering why no Dallas mentions? Don’t worry. You’ll hear from them on this countdown very soon.
Categories: Top 10 Moments of the 2008 Season