One of the fascinating developments in Tennessee Vols football has been the emergence of Tyler Bray, soon-to-be junior quarterback. As a freshman, he took the starting job away from Matt Simms for the November stretch and the bowl game. As a sophomore, he was the selected starter for the entire season. Only an injured thumb prevented him from his first full season as the number one. Could his only full season be his last?
The tagline that has been commonly applied to Bray is “a surefire first round pick, perhaps top 5.” Or, at least something similar. To make this sentiment even more dramatic, many feel that this will apply to him immediately after his junior year. Right. Bray is good enough to leave early for the pros and good enough to be one of the most coveted picks in the 2013 draft.
San Francisco 36 New Orleans 32
Alex Smith flourished in Urban Meyer’s up-tempo spread offense at Utah. In 2004, Smith was a finalist for the Heisman. It all went downhill from there. Until 2011 and new coach Jim Harbaugh.
The San Francisco 49ers, with the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft chose Smith. The once-proud organization had been in free-fall. Things had been unravelling since owner Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. pled guilty to a felony charge. Control was given to DeBartolo’s sister and her husband. The degradation of the front office filtered down to the field. Losing 11 of the last 12 games in 1999 was the ultimate implosion. They made a brief playoff appearance in 2002 (which included a comeback from a 24-point deficit to defeat the Giants by a point), but had to wait 10 more years to make it back to NFL relevance.
The last day of any NFL season can bring a lot of drama as playoff qualifications and seeds are sorted out. This season’s finale gave us a lot of notable bullet points. The following are those I collected throughout the afternoon based on a variety of Twitter entries and announcements on Fox, CBS, and the NFL Network.
Monday Night Football has been an American institution for over 40 years. It was a groundbreaking innovation in the worlds of sports and television. Part of its success is the populariity of the game itself, which became as popular as it is today partly because of Monday Night Football. And, in today’s world of televised sport supersaturation, its continued popularity is a tribute to the the quality of play in today’s NFL.