It’s been a fantastic NFL season up to this point and ahead of Championship Sunday it should only get better. The Divisional round reignited the play offs in a big way after Wild Card Weekend. The regular season was full of big moments, fantastic plays and enthralling games – as well as plenty of talking points. The Raiders and Cowboys were back to their best, which is always great for football and yet something was missing – or rather someone.
When Adrian Peterson went down with a near season ending injury, the likes of Ezequiel Elliott, LeVeon Bell and David Johnson more than picked up the slack and we’ve seen some of the best running back play in years. However when it was revealed that JJ Watt was out for the season that left a much bigger hole.
Don’t get me wrong, the talent on defence is definitely there in the NFL. There are some mavericks such as Khalil Mack, Von Miller and this season Vic Beasley to name just a few, but nobody stepped up and claimed that mantel voided by Watt. There were plenty of opportunities, when Oakland played Carolina it looked like the moment for Mack. What a game he had, he destroyed the Panthers and the moment isn’t over for him, he’s still young. Although he never really kicked on enough to take that chance and make the statement that showed everyone “I’m the man”.
It’s a season where we have had so many offensive stars lighting up the league and the sporting world in general. Rodgers showing us he’s probably the greatest passer of all time, Brady showing us he’s probably the greatest quarterback of all time and Matty Ice playing at a level that should probably beat both men to the MVP award. We’ve seen all that but we haven’t seen anyone prove they’re ready to compete with the greatness we see from JJ Watt and I think the league missed it.
It seems poignant that the old saying goes “defence wins championships” yet in a season without JJ Watt raising the bar, offenses are running the show on Championship Sunday.