July 3, 2013
With both the NBA and NHL crowning their champion in the recent weeks, sports fans are in dire straits. Correct, MLB is entering the meat and cheese portion of its season, but it’s not enough. Simply put, we need more. When it comes to sports we can never get enough.
Besides beloved baseball, what are we left with?
In comes creeping the oh-so-infectious NFL. It’s been months since the last NFL action. Honestly, if there were 52 Sundays in an NFL season, that still wouldn’t be enough. Admit it, you’re excited for football—you’re ready for it to invade your life once again.
With that being said, let’s forecast who the top five surprise teams will be in 2013.
Kansas City Chiefs
Wow—2012 was a year to forget for the Kansas City Chiefs organization. It was a season brought them the overall No. 1 pick.
While it’s always nice to have top choice, it usually means that team owned the worst record in the entire league. This was true for the Chiefs as they only managed two victories. This year promises to be better for the Chiefs.
New to town are both head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith. This is enough to give the Chiefs faithful hope. It’s safe to say that the franchise is starting with a clean slate. Look for running back Jamaal Charles and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to torment the opposition this season—both men welcome the team’s changes with open arms.
Things are beginning to look up in Kansas City.
Positive free agent noise—check.
Round 1 draft splash—check.
Right now, it seems as if the Miami Dolphins can do no wrong. Let’s not forget they toyed with the playoffs last year too. They won seven games when they were written off in the preseason. One may be asking, “How are they considered a surprise this year if they were last?”
It’s because the Dolphins still aren’t taken seriously. Well, the time for that poor notion of thought to subside is now.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill now has a viable receiving threat in free agent acquisition Mike Wallace. The team also rolled the dice and traded up to take defensive end Dion Jordan at No. 3 in the first round of the NFL draft. Look for him to cause havoc in the near future.
The Dolphins X-factor resides in their running game. Young backs Lamar Miller and rookie Mike Gillislee will be uber-flashy out of the backfield this season. Both are sleepers in fantasy mode, but neither should be forgotten about.
Great things are on the horizon in Miami.
Really? The Cleveland Browns?
You’re eyes are not playing tricks on you—the Browns are a serious threat to all who cross their path this season.
The team did a magnificent job recruiting talented coaches in the offseason. New head coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner will do nothing but good for the young Browns offense.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden will benefit most from the experienced coach staff. Running back Trent Richardson will reap the benefits of a bolstered passing game. The team plays in the ultra-competitive AFC North, but will be a real spoiler this season.
A new day is upon us in Cleveland.
The Detroit Lions make the list simply because they could surprise either way. The sad part about that last comment—lifelong Lions fans are accustomed to losing.
Truly, this is a make-or-break season for the front office along with head coach Jim Schwartz. A single playoff appearance in 2011 just won’t cut it. After a decade of torture due under ex-GM Matt Millen’s grand scheme, the fans need a winner.
The team is obviously loaded with talent, but must execute smart football for a complete 60 minutes 16 times this season.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford can always lean on wide receiver Calvin Johnson, but not as much as he has in the past. Stafford throws the ball too much and the unbalanced offense is known to all. The offseason addition of running back Reggie Bush could be the perfect fit, but only time will tell.
If the defense shows up when it counts and can hold a lead the Lions will win double-digit games. If not, the outcome will be all too familiar.
Nonetheless, there’s plenty of reason to believe in Detroit.
St. Louis Rams
Hey, the St. Louis Rams have a great head coach in Jeff Fisher, so wining shouldn’t come as a surprise. Fisher and fans expect to win, but that doesn’t mean outsiders see them as predators.
The Rams surprise this year because quarterback Sam Bradford proves that he’s a franchise quarterback. The 25-year-old shot caller will have a definitely good season this year. Since Fisher has come to town the team has acquired a ridiculous amount of speed in the receiving corps. Also, the addition of monster tight end in Jared Cook this offseason will help Bradford in the red zone.
The running game could be a sore spot in the offensive attack. For this, expect offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to stuff the game plan with multiple packages that keep opposing defenses off balance.
Just like the Cleveland Browns in the AFC North, the Rams will throw a real wrench into the plans of the favored NFC West teams this year.
December 5, 2012
With less than a handful of weeks left in the 2012 NFL season, the playoff picture begins to become clear and individual records start to become threatened. This season is no different as fans everywhere will be glued to their televisions until the waning seconds of the season as history will be made.
The current climate in the playoff picture is far from clear, meaning that every snap counts, ensuring fans excitement until zeros read across the clock in the final game of Week 17. Right now, there are 22 teams still in contention for the playoffs and even the teams who are out of the picture thrive on playing the spoiler for the fortunate ones.
The AFC has more separation than the NFC in terms of sure bets for playoff locks, but anything goes with only four games remaining for most teams. The teams that execute well, avoid mistakes and strike it lucky by winning the war of attrition will be rewarded. Right now the Cincinnati Bengals are 7-5 and have the best shot of getting invited to the party, but the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets still have a shot at 5-7. Things may not be too bright for those teams, but crazier things have happened.
The NFC is where things are the most interesting. 12 teams still have hopes of making the playoffs and right now only one team, the Atlanta Falcons, are a sure bet. Three teams that are also in at the moment, the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants and Chicago Bears all have four losses. The Seattle Seahawks are currently the caboose at 7-5 while the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings are nipping at their heels at 6-6. The St. Louis Rams and New Orleans Saints still cling to the dream with five wins a piece. The battle in the NFC will go down to the wire and be a delight for all football fans.
On an individual level, there are a few guys that are must-see TV the rest of the way.
First of all, watch rookie quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III whenever you can, it’s simply a must. Luck is going to break the rookie record for passing yards and already has five comeback wins while RG3 is as efficient as they come. Both kids are phenoms—Luck is more of a gunslinger at the moment and RG3 just doesn’t make many mistakes. Right now the Redskins rookie has a quarterback rating of 104.6, which ties him with the Denver Broncos‘ Peyton Manning and is only .4 away from the league leader, Aaron Rodgers. A rookie has never earned the highest rating and that is something a rookie may never do again. The maturity of both RG3 and Luck is something this league has never seen.
Can you believe that Vikings running back Adrian Peterson leads the league in rushing with only four weeks remaining?
Me neither, but Peterson’s 1,446 yards thus far are 308 more than Marshawn Lynch, who is currently second in the NFL. Face it, Peterson won’t be caught and believe it or not, he’s going to flirt with 2,000 yards. Right now he’s on pace for 1,928 rushing yards, but he’s had six, yes six straight games with 100-plus yards. He may not surpass Eric Dickerson’s all-time record of 2,105 yards in 1984, but the 2,000-yard plateau has only been eclipsed six times in history. Considering Peterson had major knee surgery in January, one can’t help but root for him. He has to average 138.5 in the final four games but considering that he’s averaged 157 yards/game over his last six, the landmark isn’t out of reach yet.
There’s a pair of teammates in Detroit that may both make history by season’s end. While the Lions season has been a disappointment, quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson are something special. Stafford’s 3,742 passing yards currently lead the league and he’s on pace for 4,989. That’s dangerously close to 5,000 yards, which he accomplished last season. Stafford is one of only four quarterbacks to ever reach that number and if he has a second-straight season reaching that golden mark, he would become the first quarterback ever to do it in back-to-back season.
Stafford’s teammate and go-to-guy, Johnson is on track to break some ridiculous records. Currently he’s had five consecutive games with at least 125 receiving yards. A sixth-straight game would put him in a class all by himself. Something else that could set Megatron apart from the field is the fact that he’s on track to have the most single-season receiving yards in NFL history. He currently has 1,428 yards and is on pace for 1,904, which would put him past NFL legend Jerry Rice, who set the record in 1995 with 1,848. Once a record thought never to be broken, Johnson is ready to smash it. This is something that can’t be ignored. Although the Lions may not be in the hunt, Johnson sure is.
November 2, 2012
The second half of the 2012 NFL season is upon us and now is the time where the cream rises to the top. With its unpredictability on a weekly basis, the NFL is full of surprises. That’s why we love the game! Fathead is here to try to nail some bold predictions for the second half of the season.
No. 5: Aaron Rodgers Will Have a Repeat Performance of Week 6
What happened in Week 6? Aaron Rodgers threw six touchdowns, that’s what happened. The reigning NFL MVP may have gotten off to a slow start this season, but the Green Bay Packers are reverting to their 2011 form and are beginning to look dominant once again.
He’s simply one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. In his last five games alone, Rodgers has thrown 18 touchdowns to just two interceptions. In Week 11 against the Detroit Lions, Rodgers will reach the miraculous feat of throwing six touchdowns once again. The Packers come off their Week 10 bye and will be rested and ready to strike early and often. Believe it.
No. 4: Peyton Manning Will Win the MVP Award
OK —Aaron Rodgers is the best in the game right now, but Peyton Manning is catching fire at the right time and looking like his old self. Given that he’s coming off severe neck surgery that cost him the 2011 season, Manning looks superb once again.
He currently has four consecutive games with 300-plus passing yards and at least three touchdown throws. One more and he’ll tie the NFL record with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young. The Denver Broncos are looking like they’ll walk away with the AFC West and be true playoff contenders all because of Manning.
Because of his comeback and dominance on the field, Manning will be crowned at season’s end.
MVP honors to come.
No. 3: Reggie Wayne Will Hold on and Remain the League’s Top Receiver
Who would have guessed that Reggie Wayne would be the NFL’s leading receiver after eight weeks this season? To date, he has 757 receiving yards as things are really taking flight for the Indianapolis Colts in the Andrew Luck era.
Wayne deserves a ton of credit; this offseason he was a free agent and chose to stay in Indy and play for the only team he’s ever known. What a class act he is.
It’s hard to believe, but he does indeed lead the league right now and things will stay that way. The Colts are currently 4-3 and who knows where they would be without Wayne right now. Looking at the schedule the rest of the way, the Colts play some bad defenses down the stretch. Don’t be surprised when Wayne finishes the season as the league’s best.
No. 2: Adrian Peterson Will Win Comeback Player of the Year
The heralded running back has returned in full effect after having surgery to repair an injured knee in January and is leading the league in rushing right now with 775 rushing yards. Reaching 1,000 rushing yards at season’s end would have been a bold prediction in the preseason for Peterson. Now that seems like a done deal.
What he is doing is unheard of. More importantly, the Vikings are winning and their five wins may have already surpassed many expectations this season. What’s best is that Peterson looks like his dominant self again, which is nice to see for any lover of the NFL.
As the season goes on, keep your eye on Peterson —he’s too good to miss.
No. 1: The Miami Dolphins Will Make the Playoffs!
That’s correct, your eyes aren’t failing you, the Miami Dolphins will make the playoffs.
Sure, they have injury concerns with rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but he’ll be just fine.
Remember, the Dolphins found their sea legs in the last half of the 2011 season and this team is now getting used to new head coach Joe Philbin. To put it simply, they are starting to believe.
Running back Reggie Bush knows he has to shoulder the load and the defense is tougher than expected.
The Dolphins are currently 4-3 and are two overtime losses away from being 6-1.
Most importantly, the ‘Phins are having fun and carry momentum. Sometimes that’s just unstoppable.
Expect to see the Dolphins in the playoffs.
June 18, 2012
As recently as two years ago, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Chad Ochocinco were three of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL. Each was a few years past his respective prime, but still able to contribute heavily. The trio combined for more than 2,200 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2010, and the group was still a potent bunch.
Two years later, though, and it’s a different story.
Moss didn’t play last season and after a brief retirement, signed with the San Francisco 49ers for 2012. Moss may be the biggest question mark as he had the worst numbers of the three players in 2010. He failed to make big splashes with any of the three (yes, three) teams for which he played. Moss had brief stints with the New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, and Tennessee Titans, but had a hard time fitting in with any of them, even though he previously had done well with the Patriots.
An offseason injury in 2011 forced Terrell Owens to the sideline. He was deemed ready to play by his agent and even held a televised workout in October, but no NFL teams attended. With no other options, Owens suited up for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, playing there earlier this year, but has since been released.
After a solid 2010, Chad Ochocinco dropped off in a big way last season. Playing for the New England Patriots, he never fully grasped the system and simply wasn’t a good fit. He had the worst season of his career with only 276 receiving yards and a single touchdown.
Even though all three have question marks, each is headed in different directions as I see it.
Of the three, Owens’ career may be the one most in danger. The fact that his workout in 2011 drew no NFL interest shows exactly where he stands in terms of league appeal. And while he had a productive 2010 playing alongside Ochocinco in Cincinnati, he wasn’t able to dominate the Indoor Football League this past season. Owens played in only eight games, so it’s not fair to judge him based on total numbers. But his per game average of 52.9 yards a game wasn’t even in the league’s top 20 and he was merely a good, not great, wideout. For a player trying to get back to the NFL, it isn’t terribly impressive that he wasn’t even among the best receivers in an indoor league. It’s a different brand of football, but Owens’ skill should still translate into better numbers.
Moss, on the other hand, will have an immediate opportunity. He’s headed to a 49ers team that is in desperate need of an upgraded passing attack. Alex Smith has become a serviceable quarterback, but will have a chance to get even better if Moss is in shape. Even in his older age, Moss has a chance to become a top target in San Fran. Still, it’s hard to put his dismal 2010 out of mind. When you think about his inability to fit with any of the three teams for which he played, it’s pretty unsettling. The bottom line is that while he’s getting yet another shot, there’s no guarantee Moss will work out.
Ochocinco recently signed with the Miami Dolphins and may have the best chance to revive his career simply because he’s the youngest. At only 34, there’s still plenty of time for him to be effective. His numbers were incredibly low last season, but there’s good reason to think that his year was a bit of an anomaly. Playing in New England as a wide receiver is a bit different than many places. The Patriots emphasize finding the open man rather than looking for specific targets – it’s one of the reasons why unknowns can produce big seasons there. The other thing to like about Ochocinco is that even while playing alongside Owens in 2010, he still racked up over 800 yards receiving and caught nearly 70 passes. Playing in Miami, he’ll become one of the focal points of the passing game since the Dolphins allowed their No. 1 receiver, Brandon Marshall, to go to the Chicago Bears. Ochocinco will be the star in Miami and could even be in line for a 1,000-yard season if he’s still healthy. If you need another reason for his potential success, look no further than the Dolphins’ potent rushing game, which was 11th in the NFL. That should free up the passing game a bit and give Ochocinco an even bigger chance for success.
If anything slows him down this year, it will be the quarterback situation. The Dolphins selected Ryan Tannehill in the first round and could be forced to play him early on. That could prevent Ochocinco from having a huge season if Tannehill has some growing pains, but Miami also has veterans David Garrard and Matt Moore in place. Neither is great, but both are capable NFL quarterbacks.
All three have a chance to become impact receivers again, but my bet is on Ochocinco to do the most with the remainder of his career.
May 15, 2009
We’re a pretty deeply engaged bunch of folks here at Fathead by which I mean we don’t just live with our products at work, we go home to them. Which we think is perfectly normal. In fact, we wonder what it would be like not to. Which brings up a point – you. Do you go home to your Fathead? If not, why not?
Well, it occurs to us that maybe you just haven’t found the right Fathead for your home. That’s why we’ve been busting our butts here the last few months creating more and more product for you. Seriously, have you checked out the huge new lineup of MLB players, team logos and classic logos? What about all the new NHL stuff – no excuses now, every team’s being represented. And MLS too – every team. And the NBA? Well, if you were waiting for that 80’s look Cavs logo, Brandon Roy, or Ray Allen to complete your Boston Three Party, look no more. Only you should, because in addition to all that, there are about 100 other new images.
Which brings me back to the Fathead home. Not everyone’s a sports nut. We’ve known that for a long time. That’s why we offer Disney, Marvel, DC, and other great entertainment products. But lately, we’re thinking maybe you just want something you can use to decorate – like animals and general sports graphics. We’ve got Dolphins and Frogs, Turtles and Snow Leopards. Just want some sports themed graphics like a collection of player silhouettes or sports balls? We’ve got it. Maybe we haven’t always made the point strongly enough but Fathead is an awesome home decorating solution.
Look at your options. You can paint; that means a lot of time, a lot of money and it smells. You can wallpaper; messy, time-consuming, pretty difficult even if you’ve done it before, and generally expensive. There are posters; you have to use tape (tacky) or tacks (ugly, and they damage the wall), plus posters are always getting beat up and looking pretty shoddy in no time. Of course you can do nothing, which is pretty boring and basically says you have no imagination whatsoever.
And then there’s Fathead. Hundreds and hundreds of images to choose from. Very affordable, especially when you compare it to wallpaper or paint. Takes about five minutes to put up – get a friend though because a Fathead is HUGE! You’ll probably spend more time figuring out where to put all the free extra images that come with the main image than you will putting up the big one. And here’s the kicker – you can move a Fathead and reuse it. You’re not stuck with one look. And when you move it you don’t have to worry about the holes that the tacks or nails left behind, or the paint that the tape took off. If you live in an apartment this is a major advantage – no worries about getting charged for repairs plus you can take the Fathead with you when you move.
So, I’m just saying, we’re working really hard to get you the Fathead that works in your home because we think (and we’re right) that Fathead is an amazing decorating solution. If you still haven’t found the Fathead that works for you, just tell us – a lot of what you see at www.fathead.com was created because someone like you told us you wanted it.