How would you rank odd / unusual seasons?

Re: How would you rank odd / unusual seasons?

Postby 74_75_78_79_ » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:57 am

Oszuscik wrote:
74_75_78_79_ wrote:’99, ’00, & ’01 can each be considered “unusual” in that there were now 31 teams in the league with the re-addition of Cleveland. Every single week someone had a bye. Six teams in the AFC Central which, looking back, I actually didn’t mind at all! Of course, in ’01, the games were delayed due to 9/11. Each Super Bowl during that span was won by an “out-of-nowhere” team. Of all six SB-participants-period, the only one that wasn’t a surprise going into the season were the ’01 Rams.


The 1999 season I think was the most jarring. Football as we knew it in the 90's really seemed to "end". In Green Bay Holmgren was gone and after a "race for points" with Carolina in Week 17 the Packers missed the playoffs for the first time in six years. After two decades of dominance San Francisco went 4-12 and Steve Young's career ended after three games. Michael Irvin's career ended after four games and though the Cowboys snuck into the playoffs it was clear that their dynasty was over. Dan Marino played his final year in 1999. John Elway was now retired and after back-to-back Super Bowl wins the Broncos missed the playoffs. Kurt Warner and the Rams came out of nowhere to absolutely dominate the league. The Music City Miracle. A playoff game decided by 55 points. A Super Bowl decided by one yard.

The 1999 season was jarring, unexpected, and really closed the book on the 90's.


Very well put! I already mentioned before on this site that '98, IMO, was the last truly great NFL season! This despite a certain team collapsing from 7-4 to 7-9 thus entering into a short playoff drought lasting for two more seasons. This also despite the Super Bowl itself being an utter disappointment whether it was because Atlanta didn't give Denver a game (thus living up to any 'Reeves-vs-Elway/Shanny'-hype), or because Minnesota wasn't there instead!

Yes, that 'micro'-era of '99-thru-'01 was still exciting-enough; and IMO overall better than the format that would follow all the way up to this day. As a Steeler-fan, I welcomed the sudden hugeness of the division. Was so used to the instant-rivalry between us and the Jags as well as with the Ravens and the Titans. And now Cleveland gets re-added to that mix, re-rivaling with us, in-state Cincy, a new (obvious) one with Ravens and plenty of rivalry-potential with Jax & Ten who they themselves were instant-rivals! Titans/Ravens! Ravens/Jags! Plenty of rivalries jammed in there!

As I've opined here before more than once, I wish the league would not have gone to the 4-4-4-4 format as they actually did in '02. Though quite tougher for the schedule-makers, I would have preferred Seattle staying put in the AFC West (well-established rivalries with all four teams the past 25 years already), the Texans simply joining Dallas in the NFC East thus making the NFC East the other 6-team division thus making each conference a 6-5-5 format. Yes, it would likely mean that my Steelers get log-jammed out the playoffs in '05 with juggernaut Seattle still in conference. It would have also watered-down the Brady-vs-Manning legacy - much less AFCC showdowns, much more divisional round ones instead; but FWIW each meeting twice a year during regular season.

Just like that ever-so-fleeting 'Capitol/Century/Coastal/Central' era (also three seasons) served as a gateway from one era to the next (merger), '99-thru-'01 with me at least served as a transition from when the NFL was still great to simply "pretty good" at best in the years since.
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Re: How would you rank odd / unusual seasons?

Postby Oszuscik » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:33 pm

74_75_78_79_ wrote:
Oszuscik wrote:
74_75_78_79_ wrote:’99, ’00, & ’01 can each be considered “unusual” in that there were now 31 teams in the league with the re-addition of Cleveland. Every single week someone had a bye. Six teams in the AFC Central which, looking back, I actually didn’t mind at all! Of course, in ’01, the games were delayed due to 9/11. Each Super Bowl during that span was won by an “out-of-nowhere” team. Of all six SB-participants-period, the only one that wasn’t a surprise going into the season were the ’01 Rams.


The 1999 season I think was the most jarring. Football as we knew it in the 90's really seemed to "end". In Green Bay Holmgren was gone and after a "race for points" with Carolina in Week 17 the Packers missed the playoffs for the first time in six years. After two decades of dominance San Francisco went 4-12 and Steve Young's career ended after three games. Michael Irvin's career ended after four games and though the Cowboys snuck into the playoffs it was clear that their dynasty was over. Dan Marino played his final year in 1999. John Elway was now retired and after back-to-back Super Bowl wins the Broncos missed the playoffs. Kurt Warner and the Rams came out of nowhere to absolutely dominate the league. The Music City Miracle. A playoff game decided by 55 points. A Super Bowl decided by one yard.

The 1999 season was jarring, unexpected, and really closed the book on the 90's.


Very well put! I already mentioned before on this site that '98, IMO, was the last truly great NFL season! This despite a certain team collapsing from 7-4 to 7-9 thus entering into a short playoff drought lasting for two more seasons. This also despite the Super Bowl itself being an utter disappointment whether it was because Atlanta didn't give Denver a game (thus living up to any 'Reeves-vs-Elway/Shanny'-hype), or because Minnesota wasn't there instead!

Yes, that 'micro'-era of '99-thru-'01 was still exciting-enough; and IMO overall better than the format that would follow all the way up to this day. As a Steeler-fan, I welcomed the sudden hugeness of the division. Was so used to the instant-rivalry between us and the Jags as well as with the Ravens and the Titans. And now Cleveland gets re-added to that mix, re-rivaling with us, in-state Cincy, a new (obvious) one with Ravens and plenty of rivalry-potential with Jax & Ten who they themselves were instant-rivals! Titans/Ravens! Ravens/Jags! Plenty of rivalries jammed in there!

As I've opined here before more than once, I wish the league would not have gone to the 4-4-4-4 format as they actually did in '02. Though quite tougher for the schedule-makers, I would have preferred Seattle staying put in the AFC West (well-established rivalries with all four teams the past 25 years already), the Texans simply joining Dallas in the NFC East thus making the NFC East the other 6-team division thus making each conference a 6-5-5 format. Yes, it would likely mean that my Steelers get log-jammed out the playoffs in '05 with juggernaut Seattle still in conference. It would have also watered-down the Brady-vs-Manning legacy - much less AFCC showdowns, much more divisional round ones instead; but FWIW each meeting twice a year during regular season.

Just like that ever-so-fleeting 'Capitol/Century/Coastal/Central' era (also three seasons) served as a gateway from one era to the next (merger), '99-thru-'01 with me at least served as a transition from when the NFL was still great to simply "pretty good" at best in the years since.


I loved football in the 90's. I'm obviously still a fan, but football in the 2010's doesn't compare. With the "Madden video game" era of quarterbacking that we're in, combined with what we now know about concussions, as well as the NFL stumbling around trying to navigate all the social issues going on in the world today, the pure enjoyment I had for the game isn't the same now.

I'm curious, why do you call 1998 the last great season? Not that I'd disagree. Personally, I consider the 90's to be the last great decade of football, but for me it does bleed into the 2000's. The early years of that decade still resembled the 90's style of play, but ultimately the 2000's culminated with all the new player safety rules that went into effect in 2009, pretty much making the game what it is today.
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Re: How would you rank odd / unusual seasons?

Postby ChrisBabcock » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:48 pm

A strange thing that happened during those "every week someone has a bye" years from 98-01... In 2001 the Patriots had a week 16 bye, played week 17, then had a first round playoff bye. They played only one game between December 22 and January 19.
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Re: How would you rank odd / unusual seasons?

Postby 74_75_78_79_ » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:09 pm

Why do I humbly opine that 1998 was the last truly great season (they wouldn't allow me to quote your question, Osz)?

Well, let's begin with the whole Draft Day 'Peyton Manning-or-Ryan Leaf'? Both ended up opening week starters! Despite SD actually starting 2-0, Colts 0-2, it was safe to assume what the answer already was just a few weeks later (I actually thought that Leaf would be better going into '98).

Randy Moss had himself that Earl Campbell-equivalent-to-WR Monster rookie year thus helping to elevate an otherwise mere playoff team to 15-1 and looked to be a major threat all season long to Denver repeating! Randall Cunningham had quite a 'comeback' year, arguably his very best year as a pure-QB! As for the other 'Randall'...make that, Randle...BEAST!!

This would be John Elways' final season, not only going out as a back-to-back Champ, but Broncos did start out as a true 13-0 juggernaut entertaining the idea of a possible unbeaten season! Of course that all ended at the Meadowlands to the G-men the very next game, and then the week after that off to Miami in what would be the first Elway-vs-Marino showdown (the second one total) since 1985! Dan, in his second-last but last solid season, threw for 4 TDs that MNF game handing Denver their second - and final - loss of the '98 campaign. Both teams would meet again for a third and final overall Elway/Marino meeting weeks later at Mile High in the divisional round with Broncos getting ultimate, 38-3, revenge!

Very simply the all-season-long anticipation of the possible matchup between Denver & Minnesota leading up to the CCs!! Yes, Gary Anderson took that 'break' from doing what he's done all-so-well his entre career leading up, but both CCGs still were entertaining thus keeping '98 as hot as it was all season! Okay, Denver vs the 'Dirty Birds' instead! But Atl was...14-2, still great not just 'good'! And...Dan Reeves was their HC! Both teams 14-2! A nice obvious pre-game lead-up, and I very-wrongly not only thought it'd still be great game; but seriously predicted it'd go into OT! A single game which just so happened to be the very last game of the campaign...still don't ruin it in the end. Simply seeing a very great Historic team repeat, thus sending off their HOF QB out on top a second-straight time, a fine enough final note!

Tuna had his finest non-Super Bowl performance in guiding the Jets to a 2nd-seeded 12-4 mark and AFCCG berth, actually leading Denver at Mile High, 10-0, at the half! Showing off his QB-guru-ship, he propelled Vinny Testaverde to his finest season ever!

Dallas, though years removed from Dynasty-status, were still 'good' winning their division at 10-6. It was the final full season that the 'Triplets' played, but it ended rather bad by they getting bludgeoned at home to a team they swept in the regular season, 9-7 Arizona, in the 1st-Round (the very Cardinal-feat that 'Jerry McGuire' predicted)! It would be the first-ever Cardinal playoff win since the days of Trippi. And they were, FWIW, still within range on the scoreboard late the following week in the Metrodome.

Ten years after sort-of flirting with stardom in NE before migrating to the CFL, Doug Flutie finally had his NFL breakthrough in Buffalo helping first-year HC, Wade Phillips, guide the Bills to their first playoff berth in three years after starting 0-3!

The infamous coin-toss event at Pontiac on Turkey Day set the Steelers reeling to an 0-5 finish thus making Bill Cowher suffer his first non-playoff year in 'Year 7' as a HC. Simply looking at the entire NFL schedule before the season began, me and my excited Steeler-fan friends all said in unison when looking at that Pit@Jax MNF finale..."That game may have playoff implications!"

Steve Young's last full year, Holmgren's last year in GB-period; both, of course, meeting in that 'classic' Wild Card game with SF finally getting their way with the Pack - T.O.'s "coming out" party! Neither team would return to the post-season again until 2001. Jerry Rice's last solid season with SF.

AFC East head coaches: Bill Parcells, Jimmy Johnson, Wade Phillips, Pete Carroll, Jim Mora...what names!!


What else to say? Simply looking back on my life as an NFL-fan (starting 1980), I just can't help but to remember '98 as being the last season that I was still really, really into the product itself! It also didn't hurt that I had numerous friends who were just as enthused; plenty of Sundays at the sports-bars or at one of our pads hanging out. Sunday triple-headers were not uncommon whatsoever (serious understatement), whether in the same spot the entire time, or in a different spot each game; or something in-between.

Not that '99-thru-'01 was that obvious of a fall-off (though, pretty much as you say, Osz, the 'identity' of the decade did vanish right there within that '99 season), and not that '02-and-immediately-beyond was a glaring decline from that very trio of seasons (yes, Osz, the '90s did "bleed" a bit into the '00s - and '05 & '08 get 'points' with me for obvious reasons), but though I've still been enough into it all along (followed the entire '19 season, enjoyed the SB; perhaps it's been all out of a 40-year habit, and not wanting to start watching the Lifetime or Hallmark channels), looking back, it seems like it has gotten less-and-less interesting these past twenty years; and seems to have fallen off even more just recently.

The culprits...oversaturated coverage (although, unbelievably, some back in the '70s were already accusing the NFL of being just that; I personally disagree for I miss 'NFL Today'/'NFL on CBS'/MNF Halftime Highlights/'Game of the Week' in the '80s, 'Sportscenter'/'NFL Primetime' in the '90s; NFL Network/Good Morning Football/shouting matches and tomfoolery between commentators, even on some of the regular networks' Sunday pregame shows, have made things all too much; even when NFLN 'tries' to honor the 'old school', it seems to be through the eyes of the very heavily pre-SB-era-unfriendly), PFHOF not being all-that or at least not as of late (which you all in here SO educated me on), not giving enough to the old-timers who paved the way - at least covering their health insurances, making the game even-more pass-happy/less-and-less defense-friendly, more questionable/inconsistent than ever officiating, players getting paid far too much/only box-owners, for the most part, can afford to attend games to support those salaries, insane free agency, franchises playing 'musical chairs' with cities I became so used-to them residing in, adding a 7th playoff team per conference, possibly making the regular season 18 games/just two preseason games, and last but not least eliminating KICKOFFS (the KEY reason why I didn't even bother getting enthused about that league that came out beginning of the year before Covid-19, I already forgot the name; eliminating KOs in the NFL will mark the instant-Death of my already fledgling NFL fandom), etc, etc.

Yeah, not what it used to be. Sports in-general! A lifelong Yankees-fan, I went to a game at the Mets last July with a long-time Yankees-fan friend. Enjoyed it, but honestly despite the Yanks flirting with a WS all season long, and Yankee-fan coworkers all around me being all geeked-up, I simply wasn't watching them all that much! Same with Sixers despite looking playoff-bound and Flyers looking Stanley-bound right up to Covid...sports just not the same with me across-the-board. Even if this pandemic doesn't prevent a full 2020 NFL season from actually taking place. Even if Big Ben comes back and is in full-form...

Just like Vader/Anakin was "mostly machine" at time of Return of the Jedi, most of my NFL fandom at this very moment in time is simply nostalgia/'old school', which is why I frequent here in the first place! Instead of watching any 2020 off-season news on NFLN from the same 'talking heads', I'd rather open laptop, go back in time, and watch my '89 Steelers in a Miami 'monsoon' (what FUN a watch! wish I could have played/slip-slided-away in that game), or see an '81 installment of NFL Today, or a '70s Game of the Week, '90 NFCCG, Det@Dal MNF '94/Sanders-vs-Smith, GB@Pit MNF '98, etc, etc...
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Re: How would you rank odd / unusual seasons?

Postby JWL » Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:00 am

NWebster wrote:
Do you discount the 80's Redskins at all given 2 Super Bowls is strike seasons?


I do not discount them at all. It can be argued that the problems of '82 and '87 made those championship quests more difficult than in typical seasons. A non-typical travel or battle or excursion or what have you is naturally more difficult than a path less fraught with danger or uncertainty.
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Re: How would you rank odd / unusual seasons?

Postby JohnR » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:40 pm

JohnH19 wrote:1970 is the most unusual non-strike season that I can think of. There were no true powerhouse teams. They all had flaws.


How could anyone have thought the Bengals (sans Cook) would take the Central over Cleveland? Then you had the SB with no AFL representative...but I bet more than a few people weren't surprised by that.
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Re: How would you rank odd / unusual seasons?

Postby JohnH19 » Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:11 am

JohnR wrote:
JohnH19 wrote:1970 is the most unusual non-strike season that I can think of. There were no true powerhouse teams. They all had flaws.


How could anyone have thought the Bengals (sans Cook) would take the Central over Cleveland? Then you had the SB with no AFL representative...but I bet more than a few people weren't surprised by that.


Especially after Cincinnati started 1-6!
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Re: How would you rank odd / unusual seasons?

Postby Oszuscik » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:20 am

That's funny you mention the death of the kickoff 74_75_78_79_, kick returners were my favorite players as a kid, so I miss that play as well (though I understand the need to rethink how the game is played in this day and age).

All great points about the '98 season. It's interesting what fuels nostalgia with the NFL. I look back to the 90's too as "the last great decade". Was the game more special to us before because we weren't dealing with oversaturation (social media, fantasy football, prolonged draft, Thursday Night Football...)? Or maybe because the game used to feel more fun and carefree, back when we were unaware of what this game does to the players, and when the league wasn't stumbling around trying to be a leader in social issues? Or just the way the game used to be played, when offenses and defenses were on more even ground, and when every touchdown didn't have to be scrutinized by automatic review? Don't get me wrong, I love football, but obviously there's a reason why I enjoy coming to this site and discussing past seasons and the history of the game.

So heck yeah I'd take past odd/unusual seasons over present ones (except maybe 1987...). For the best odd season I'd probably say 1982, which for a strike year still produced some memorable football, but for most "odd" I'd go with 1999.
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