The GIF that sums up every NFL team’s season Part I (NFC)
The NFL season is over for all but two teams as we head towards Super Bowl Sunday. While most fans will tell you any result short of a Super Bowl is a failure, that’s obviously not exactly true. For younger teams, taking a step forward either in terms of wins or simply the product on the field can make for an excellent offseason full of high hopes and non-sarcastic “wait until next season” quips.
Of course for many teams, there were steps backwards in 2017. What goes up must come down; just ask Cam Newton.
With that said, let’s take a look at the mood that the 2016 season left all 32 fanbases across the National Football League in (the NFC 16 today and the AFC 16 later this week). And let’s do it the best possible way we have right now: in GIF form.
There will be laughter, there will be tears, there will inevitably be a guy being hit in the junk. Consider this the America’s Funniest Home Videos of the NFL end-of-season award articles you’ll read over the next few weeks. On to the action.
Arizona Cardinals: 7–8–1
In all fairness, expectations probably should have been a bit lower for a team led by a 37-year-old quarterback who has had multiple career-altering injuries. But it was still a kick in the kiniki for Cardinal fans who had high hopes for 2016–17.
Atlanta Falcons: 11–5 (Headed to Super Bowl)
That’s the Matty Ice and the Falcons driving the invisible car that has snuck up on and obliterated the NFC over the past month. The year of Atlanta (FX show Atlanta; “Bad and Boujee”) continues with a Super Bowl showdown against Brady and co. America is rooting for you, Atlanta.
Carolina Panthers: 6–10
Fresh off a 15–1 season that culminated with an NFC conference championship win, the subsequent Super Bowl was a harbinger of doom for Cam Newton and the Panthers in 2016. The NFC favorites coming into the season, the Panthers started off 1–5 and were buried by the time their bye came in Week 7. For the Cam haters out there (myself not included), it was an incredibly satisfying season. Cam will be back, though.
Chicago Bears: 3–13
Not much was expected from the Bears in 2016 and they obliged with the third-worst record in the league. However, the season led to the discovery of Jordan Howard, a man who broke onto the scene as one of the best running backs in football — a diamond in the rough even Jafar would be proud of.
Dallas Cowboys: 13–3
Objectively, this season was a massive win for the Cowboys. They discovered the future of their franchise in Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott, two rookies who would probably go first and second if the league were to redraft knowing what we know today. Things went horribly wrong for the Cowboys come playoff time, though, as Aaron Rodgers did his Aaron Rodgers Thing and Jason Garrett did his Jason Garrett Thing, resulting in a Packers win and a Cowboys elimination.
Detroit Lions: 9–7
After of Week 13 the Lions were 9–4, had a multiple-game lead over their closest divisional rival, and were looking like a potential sleeper pick in the postseason. The Lions still made it to the playoffs, but they were in over their head once they got there, as the marathon of an NFL season proved to be too much.
Green Bay Packers: 10–6
Around Week 11 it looked as if the world was collapsing in on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. They had lost four in a row, including back-to-back multiple possession losses, first to Washington and then to Tennessee. The team was below .500 (4–6) and had the feel of a team absolutely to implode in on itself. Rodgers pulled off his best Superman act starting in Week 12, leading the team to eight straight victories, only to be stopped by YoA (Year of Atlanta).
L.A. Rams: 4–12
Talk about falling flat on their face in what was supposed to be a year-long welcome party to the City of Angels. Less than ideal.
Minnesota Vikings: 8–8
The Vikings lost their franchise quarterback before the season even started. The Vikings then traded numerous draft picks, including their first round draft pick in 2017, for Sam Bradford. The Vikings got their fans’ hopes up with a 5–0 start to the season before crashing and burning in a season where, again, they don’t have their first round pick. It was a depressing season for the Vikes, so let’s at least give them the best GIF of all time.
New Orleans Saints: 7–9
Drew Brees threw for a butt ton of yards. The defense was porous at best. The Saints finished 7–9 and missed the playoffs. I feel like I’ve seen this movie before.
New York Giants: 11–5
A lot happened with the Giants this season. They went from 6–10 to 11–5 in their first season under a new head coach. They were the only team to beat the Cowboys in the first 16 weeks of the season. Their defense, collectively, made one of the most impressive jumps of any unit across the league. They may have discovered their running back of the future in the last few weeks. But there’s no way any GIF other than this ODB masterpiece is getting this spot.
Philadelphia Eagles: 7–9
Although the Eagles missed the playoffs for the third straight season, they found their quarterback of the future and made real signs of progress under first-year head coach Doug Pederson. Something tells me their playoff drought won’t last much longer.
San Francisco 49ers: 1–15
At least they have John Lynch now, right guys?!
Seattle Seahawks: 10–5–1
Maybe it is because the Seahawks have been a relevant team over the past half-decade, but it seems like the boys from Seattle are under the microscope more than your average team year-in and year-out. As a result, their seasons often feel like emotional roller coasters, with drops, twists, turns and summits. When you really step back, it was just another 10-win season for Pete Carroll and his staff.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 9–7
The easy-to-love 2016 Buccaneers were oh so close to making the breakthrough they have seemed poised to make over the past few seasons. In the end, they missed out on the playoffs through a tiebreaker, but their fans will have plenty of hope moving forward.
Washington Professional Football Team: 8–7–1
Karma is all-knowing and powerful. Just change the name already, guys.
That’s it for the NFC, we’ll be back to look at the AFC later this week.