This is a tough time of year. Not only does society expect you to come up with resolutions that you’re supposed to keep (like remembering where your gym is actually located), but chances are you’re still broke because the economy sucks and you had to buy gifts for everyone you’ve ever met – including relatives who only show up around Christmas time ever year.
It’s no wonder that drinking and suicide rates are at their highest this time of year. Making matters worse, 20 NFL teams just ended their season. So, chances are, you’re stuck watching games involving teams you don’t actually care about from now to the Super Bowl.
So, in an effort to keep you from ending it all or hitting the bottle, I’m going to attempt to find the silver lining for all of the NFL teams that didn’t make the playoffs this year …
New England Patriots – Head coach Bill Belichick and his band of cheaters got what we in the business call a big dose of karma, with coverboy Tom Brady being sidelined for the year just eight plays into the season.
But hey, look on the bright side, thanks to the Brady injury, the world finally learned why backup Matt Cassel has been able to collect a paycheck for all these years. Not only can he hold the hell out of a clipboard, but he’s actually a pretty solid quarterback. Luckily, we just found that out in time for Cassel to become a free agent and head elsewhere.
Dallas Cowboys – The media’s consensus preseason pick to win the Super Bowl not only failed to qualify for the playoffs, but internal strife continues to be an issue. Terrell Owens hates that Jason Witten gets the ball thrown to him more. Roy Williams hates that he’s not a bigger part of the offense. Tony Romo hates that Jessica Simpson can’t come on road trips with him anymore.
But hey, look on the bright side, in years past the Cowboys made the playoffs only to lose in heartbreaking fashion. Instead of having to see hundreds of replays of Romo botching a snap with the game on the line, there’s no signature moment to serve as the stomach punch. Plus, since Romo passed out in the showers after getting knocked around in Philly, the Cowboys finally know who, between Owens and Witten, is Romo’s go-to guy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Hey, look on the bright side, at least you’re not the Detroit Lions.
Chicago Bears – Another year with solid defense and mediocre offense. Another year of subpar performances by whoever is lining up at quarterback in Chicago.
But hey, look on the bright side, at least Brian Urlacher is charming in those deodorant commercials.
New York Jets – You spent a ton of money on free agent acquisitions and traded for Brett Favre only to fall apart at the end of the season and get eliminated by Chad Pennington. You know, the guy you kicked to the curb.
But hey, look on the bright side, now you’ve got an entire offseason of “Will Brett retire or not” to look forward to. So at least you got that going for you, which is nice.
Arizona Cardinals – What? They actually made the playoffs?!? Come back next week and I’ll try to make the pain go away Arizona.
Houston Texans – Hey, look on the bright side, Steve Slaton is definitely a legit running back and no one can call taking Mario Williams over Reggie Bush a bad move anymore. Plus, the bar’s been set so low for so long in Houston that just winning once a month is still socially acceptable.
New Orleans Saints – Hey, look on the bright side, you’ve got Drew Brees, the modern day Dan Marino. You know you can’t win a Super Bowl with him, but he’s still fun to watch. I look forward to watching him in the remake of Ace Ventura.
Washington Redskins – Hey, look on the bright side, Rock Cartwright had a helluva year as your kick returner. Of the dozen areas you need to upgrade, at least you know he’s dependable.
Denver Broncos – Hey, look on the bright side, the Broncos finally realized that the team was cursed as long as Mike Shanahan was still the head coach because Denver openly cheated to win back-to-back Super Bowls by circumventing the salary cap. With Shanahan gone, you might actually be able to win again someday down the line.
Buffalo Bills – Hey, look on the bright side, at least you’ve now got both the Buffalo and Toronto markets in your corner. That’s twice the potential for heartbreak.
San Francisco 49ers – Hey, look on the bright side, at least you just signed Mike Singletary to a new five-year contract, ensuring that we’ll be treated to five more years of stories of the erratic coach dropping his pants and calling out his own players for selfish reasons. Who doesn’t want more of that?
Green Bay Packers – Hey, look on the bright side, at least you lost without drama queen Brett Favre dragging you down.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Hey, look on the bright side, at least the face of the franchise, Fred Taylor (and his groin) called this the worst team chemistry-wise he’s ever been a part of. That’s what we call making memories.
Oakland Raiders – Hey, look on the bright side, at least Al Davis died years ago. Oh wait. Nevermind.
Cincinnati Bengals – Hey, look on the bright side, at least the team played well enough down the stretch to ensure that Marvin Lewis will be back for another year of underachieving and in-fighting in Cincy.
Cleveland Browns – Hey, look on the bright side … um … uh … no one got a staph infection in Cleveland today. I think.
Seattle Seahawks – Hey, look on the bright side, at least you’re not the Detroit Lions.
Kansas City Chiefs – Hey, look on the bright side, at least Herm Edwards is still the best quote in the NFL’s coaching fraternity.
St. Louis Rams – Hey, look on the bright side, you’ve got a great draft pick.
Detroit Lions – Hey, look on the bright side … okay, I got nothing.
Brian Murphy is an award-winning sportswriter who also goes by the name Homer McFanboy. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.