Even grading on the curve for the dumpster fire that is 2020 as a whole, it seems like this NFL season has featured a disproportionate amount of flat out strange stuff.
What’s the weirdest among the mess? We asked our writers that very question. Here’s what they had to say.
Tex Western: There will (probably) be an NFL game played on every day of the week in 2020
With the coronavirus raging across the country this fall, COVID-related postponements have had a bizarre effect on the NFL as a whole. But one of the odd effects of this slew of schedule changes is the fact that the league is now scheduled to have at least one game played on every day of the week this season.
Granted, the league typically covers four out of the seven days anyway, thanks to the typical Monday night and Thursday night games and some late-season Saturday contests. But there have been a few games pushed back to Tuesdays as a result of COVID, and this week the league gets its first Wednesday game in recent memory with the Steelers-Ravens game.
The one other outlying day is Friday, but the NFL has that covered this year due to the way holidays fall in December. Instead of a Thursday night game on Christmas Eve, the league has the contest between the Vikings and Saints scheduled on the afternoon of Christmas Day, a Friday. So barring any last-minute changes to Pittsburgh-Baltimore today or a move of that Christmas Day game, every one of the seven days of the week will have hosted at least one NFL game in 2020.
Lindsay Hansen: The Broncos’ rookie wide receiver, Kendall Hinton, playing QB in a regular season game against the Saints.
Ohhh, 2020. This has been one hell of a year to say the least, and while football has been a nice escape for most of us, it hasn’t been without its challenges. Like, say, the Broncos being forced to use a rookie wide receiver, who hasn’t even played a league-level game in his own position, as their quarterback for a regular season game against none other than the Saints. Yes, Kendall Hinton was brought up from the bench to play a position he’s never played, against one of the strongest teams in the league, after all four of Denver’s Quarterbacks were put on the COVID-19/reserve list due to potential exposure. And man, was it hard to watch. The Saints certainly didn’t take it easy on them as they dominated the fractured Broncos team with a final score of 31-3. Yikes.
Rcon14: Just how bad Carson Wentz is
I’ve never been the biggest Carson Wentz fan. I thought he was hilariously overdrafted by the Eagles in 2016. Then Wentz went and had a surprisingly great 2017. This season was fueled by hilarious levels of play on third down that were never sustainable. Then he became an injury magnet in 2018 and 2019 both missing games and playing with a beat-up body. While he was never going to reach the 2017 heights again, he was at least an average to above-average QB. This year the bottom has completely fallen out. He ranks 29th in EPA/play and 30th in DVOA. He’s completely lost out there too. He’s missing guys left and right. His CPOE ranks second worst amongst full-time starters. It’s really rough to watch.
Matub: Mike Pettine
The Packers are in an incredibly interesting situation. They are, barring a horrible setback, playoff bound. The team is doing fairly well and the defense is stacked with individual talent at many positions; however, their defensive coordinator is so inept at rising to the occasion and/or changing his gameplan that there is a legitimate case for a mid-season firing for a team who has won >70% of their games.
#FirePettine #FireMennenga #JeffJanis4Ever
Shawn Wagner: Familiar Quarterback Faces in Different Places
It’s hard to compete with some of the weird things listed above, but besides empty or near-empty stadiums, one of the odder things about the 2020 NFL season has been the changing of uniforms among highly-decorated quarterbacks.
To me, it’s still weird to see Tom Brady donning a Buccaneers uniform, much less his old Patriots colors being worn by Cam Newton. And while Philip Rivers always wore some version of white and blue as a member of the Chargers, he just looks a little different in the Colts’ shade of blue. All three of these players were with their first teams for at least the past nine years and their transition to new teams is simply weird, even the fits themselves.
To a lesser extent, seeing Teddy Bridgewater as a starter for a non-Minnesota team still takes a bit of getting used to and the same can be said for Andy Dalton in Dallas in the midst of Dak Prescott’s injury. The year 2020 will always be remembered for its peculiarities, but the players on the field also make up some unique differences.
Jon Meerdink: the weird fourth quarter in Indianapolis
The entire Packers/Colts game was pretty strange, but that strangeness peaked late in the fourth quarter. After the Packers failed to convert a 4th and 1, the Colts took over on their own 34-yard line. Over the next 93 seconds of game time, the officials called seven different penalties, including a series of five straight plays that ended with a flag.
I’m sure there have been comparable penalty fests before, but within the overall strangeness that was Packers/Colts, this sequence was especially odd.
Paul Noonan: The tight end position is AWFUL. Especially in the NFC
Kudos to Big Bob for being the best tight end in the NFC, but please note that this is still true, and it is insane. Without George Kittle around, the tight end position is just atrocious. For instance, two of the top eight tight ends by DVOA play for the Eagles! Have you seen the Eagles play football? Also, the better of the two Eagle tight ends is Richard Rodgers! And you may be thinking that this is just some small sample size nonsense and Richard is just there because of that stupid pointless Hail Mary on Monday? Nope. The Eagle tight ends are even better in DYAR where both Richard and Dallas Goedert are top 6. Old bad Gronk is 5th in 4th among TEs in Yards. Kittle is 7th and he’s played 5 fewer games than everyone else.
It’s one of the worst position groups in NFL history. Travis Kelce is basically the only good one left. He has 436 more yards than the next most prolific tight end, Darren Waller. He’s an entire Noah Fant better than Darren Waller. The league could really use a fresh infusion of talent here.
Kris Burke: Playing football during a pandemic
I mean….what are we even doing here?
The Packers have been a great distraction during an otherwise dumpster fire of a year, but playing football really wasn’t smart and the ongoing saga in college football as well as the outbreak within the Baltimore Ravens just further proves that.
Thankfully no players have gotten severely ill yet (knock on wood) but the NFL’s reckless attitude towards playing a pandemic just goes to show they really don’t give one iota of a damn about their players’ health.
I’m shocked. SHOCKED! (Well, not that shocked)
Here’s hoping the game of Russian roulette the league is content with playing doesn’t cost any player, coach or staff member their life.