The NFL Season in Review

With the historic season officially behind us, NASH students have a lot to say about the return to normalcy in professional football.


Rick Tapia/NFL

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay is dunked in Gatorade after winning Super Bowl LVI

Nolan Collery, Staff Writer

The time has come and passed more quickly than fans could have possibly imagined; the NFL Season has officially come to a close. This being the first season with full attendance from fans and greatly increased viewership, this season was truly historic. 

The Los Angeles Rams have been crowned world champions after winning in the world’s biggest game, the Super Bowl. With two fun teams facing off this year, many fans seemed to have no preference on the outcome. 

Senior Drew Lopuszynski said, “It was a really fun game to watch. Both teams were likable ,and the game was close the whole time. I wish OBJ didn’t get injured, and Joe Burrow having an o-line would have been nice, but I really can’t complain. It was a great game.”

On the star-studded Rams roster is wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Kupp put together arguably the greatest single season by a wide receiver. With 145 receptions, 1,947 yards, and 16 touchdown receptions, Kupp became the first Triple Crown winner since Steve Smith in 2005. If this wasn’t enough, Kupp also took home the Offensive Player of the Year award as well as the Super Bowl MVP, catching two touchdowns in the biggest game of his life.

Cooper Kupp catches the touchdown that ultimatley would win the game for the Rams. (Kathryn Riley/NFL)

Senior and Cooper Kupp superfan Gannon Sprinkle reminisced on his season.

“[Kupp] is the most talented offensive player I have ever seen,” Sprinkle said. “He’s surgical — his routes, his hands, his blocking. If I could change my name to be Cooper Kupp, I honestly would.”

Kupp is not the only player with a historic season this year. Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker TJ Watt took home this year’s Defensive Player of the Year after tying Michael Strahan’s sack record of 22.5 sacks. Even more impressively, Watt accomplished the feat in 15 games — two short of the 17 games in the season, and one game less than Strahan played in when he secured the record. 

There is an ongoing argument that Watt had another half sack in his final game and earned the record, but that is largely believed only by Steelers fans.

One such fan is NASH senior Jason Pazin, who said ,”He was downright incredible. TJ Watt is the best player in the NFL, no doubt. And if we’re being honest here, TJ clearly got that last sack.”

Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt celebrates his 22.5 sack with his teamates. (Mikey Owens/NFL)

This season was largely defined by unexpected performances, for better or for worse.

Some players and teams largely exceeded expectations. Rookies Ja’marr Chase and Mac Jones both had extremely successful rookie years, despite doubts early on. Chase struggled early with drops, and Jones was the fifth quarterback taken off the board. Both players were invited to play in the Pro Bowl, a rare honor for rookie players. Both players’ teams also made it to the playoffs. Unfortunately for Jones, he played against Josh Allen in the first round, who played arguably the best offensive game in playoff history. 

Ja’marr Chase and the Bengals, however, made an unexpected run all the way to the Super Bowl. Led by quarterback and Comeback Player of the Year Joe Burrow, the Bengals defied all odds, making a playoff run where they beat the Raiders, Titans, and Chiefs to make the big game. 

Senior Ben Pizon was surprised by the run, saying, “I just didn’t see it coming. I thought they were going to be last in the AFC North, but that clearly wasn’t the case. They’ve been awful for, like, someteen years now. Telling me that they made the Super Bowl just seems preposterous.”

Despite the great successes of these teams and players, others fell short of expectations. Undoubtedly, the team that was the biggest disappointment was the Cleveland Browns. After making a playoff run last year and seeming to only improve in the offseason, the Browns were seen as a Super Bowl contender this year. That didn’t happen. 

After last year’s success, the Browns did not make the playoffs, coming in last place in the AFC North. 

Senior Erik Bloomquist is not afraid to let it be known that the Browns were always frauds. 

“People forgot they’re the Browns,” he said. “Maybe if they had the same exact roster in a different city and were wearing different colors, they’re champs. But they don’t. They are the Browns. They will always be the Browns.” 

Undoubtedly, the NFL has remained popular over the past few years, but this year truly brought its immense popularity back in full swing, which can be proven by the viewership of Super Bowl LVI. Clocking in at 112.3 million viewers, fan viewership was up 16.5 percent from 2021’s game. To put that number in context, The Philippines, the 13th most populated country in the world, has a population of only 109 million people. 

There is no doubt that this season will remain a notable one in retrospect. With spectators being back in the stadiums and no shutdowns for COVID-19 outbreaks, fans got a taste of what they missed the most — normalcy.