NFL Czar: Top 10 stories from 2011

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Hey, folks! Hope you are all settled back into the flow of classes and such, and loving the NFL playoffs! For today, I am going to take a look at 10 stories that caught my eye this year.

10. Oh, Romeo!: What a feelgood story it was in Week 15 when the Kansas City Chiefs took down the Green Bay Packers. It was the first game for Head Coach Romeo Crennel, and he engineered a great game plan to stop the Packers' vaunted offense.

9. No Manning, big problem: The Indianapolis Colts entered the season without their superstar QB Peyton Manning, and the entire world wondered how they would fare. Well, they lost 13 in a row, only mustered two wins and have the first pick in April's NFL Draft. Good Luck!

8. Garrett's fail: Talk about an inexperienced head coach. With a chance to win a game against the Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett proceeded to ice his rookie kicker Dan Bailey. Bailey went on to miss the kick, and that loss ended up costing Dallas a playoff spot.

7. Lion's roar: Only three seasons removed from going 0-16, the Detroit Lions made the playoffs as a wild card in 2011. QB Matthew Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards and proved he can lead the Lions when he can stay healthy. Oh yeah, and Calvin Johnson is pretty good, too.

6. Big Ben's heroics: While the Pittsburgh Steelers had a quick playoff exit, they likely don't even get in without Ben Roethlisberger's toughness. After suffering a high ankle sprain early against Cleveland, Roethlisberger returned in the second half to lead the Steelers over the Browns.

5. Dream Team's nightmare: Over $200 million in free-agent signings wasn't even enough to get the Philadelphia Eagles into the playoffs. The problem? Maddeningly inconsistent play from the entire team, and a long losing streak to boot.

4. Smith's fail: Like Mr. Garrett, Atlanta Falcons Coach Mike Smith was determined to make life more difficult for his team. With a fourth and one from their own 30 against the Saints, Smith chose to go for it, and of course, didn't make it. That led to a New Orleans Saints' overtime win a few plays later. That, combined with three straight lacklustre playoff performances, may cost Smith his job.

3. Jared Allen's close call: The Minnesota Vikings didn't have a lot to cheer for this year. However, they did almost have a record. Defensive end Jared Allen ended up a half sack short of the single season record. Darn, if only Brett Favre could turtle for everyone (... that's you, Michael Strahan).

2. The Book of Tebow: He's inaccurate. He can't throw deep. He should switch to tight end. All criticisms of Denver Broncos' QB Tim Tebow. However, apparently all he does is win games. Tebow led the Broncos to the AFC South title and a playoff win over Pittsburgh.

1. Saints Go Marching In: WOW. The New Orleans Saints get the top spot this year by rattling off an eight-game winning streak to end the year. In the process, they took down about 15 NFL records, including the 27-year-old single season passing yards record broke by Drew Brees. Good luck to all stopping them in the playoffs.

There you have it. For next week, a look at the Pro Bowl.