By Matt Citak
The Holiday season is upon us, which means people are putting together their lists of gifts they would like to receive. Similar to us, people all across the National Football League also have some things they are hoping for. We took a look back at the 2017 NFL season, and attempted to figure out what might be at the top of the wish list for some of football’s teams, fans, and biggest personalities. Note: some of the items on this year’s wish list are meant to be sarcastic or wishful thinking, and are not meant to be taken seriously.
With that in mind, here is the 2017 NFL Holiday Wish List.
Roger Goodell- a muzzle for Jerry Jones
Back in May, Jones, along with the other 31 NFL owners, signed off on the compensation committee working on a new deal for Goodell to continue serving as the league’s commissioner. Then Goodell suspended Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott six games because of alleged domestic violence, and that did NOT sit well with the Dallas owner. Jones put a lot of effort into trying to slow (or completely stop) the process of Goodell receiving a new deal, but to no avail. The commissioner recently signed his shiny, five-year extension, a deal that could end up being worth as much as $200 million in total value. While the deal may be done, Jones has made it clear to the media that he does not plan on simply giving up on his fight. So whether or not he wants to admit it, Goodell is keeping his fingers crossed he will receive a muzzle for the Cowboys’ owner this holiday season.
Cleveland Browns Fans- a win
This one is too obvious. Since Hue Jackson took over as head coach of the Browns prior to the 2016 season, Cleveland has picked up only ONE victory. That makes Jackson 1-29 as their head coach, including an almost impressive 0-14 mark this year. The Browns have been able to keep some of their games close this season, with five finishing as a one possession game and two losses coming in overtime. No loss was more heartbreaking than Cleveland’s defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers in Week 14. Cleveland was up 21-7 heading into the fourth quarter, but in typical Browns fashion, they blew the lead and wound up losing in OT. Cleveland has two games remaining this year, with one against their AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns’ best shot at avoiding being just the second team in NFL history to go 0-16 will come against the Chicago Bears on Christmas Eve. If they are unsuccessful in Chicago, there is a very good chance that the clock runs out on 2017 with Cleveland still posting a fat “0” in the win column.
Andrew Luck- a new shoulder
Talk about a weird 2017. Luck began the year undergoing surgery on his shoulder back in January. While the Colts never specified when he would return to the field, owner Jim Irsay made it seem like Luck would be back for the start of the regular season. Then training camp began, and Indianapolis’ franchise quarterback was still a ways away from being under center. Then came preseason games, and still no Luck. Prior to the start of the regular season, the Colts decided to keep the injured QB on their active roster rather than placing him on IR, a move that would have freed up a roster spot for at least the first eight weeks of the season. This decision made everyone around the NFL believe Luck would not miss more than a few games to start the season. However the 28-year-old quarterback out of Stanford never made it back on the field, as his shoulder continued to feel discomfort throughout the season, and was officially placed on IR prior to Week 10. There is no denying the Colts botched this entire situation, and Indianapolis has certainly has felt the pain of this mess. The Colts have suffered through a season that was lost from the start, and currently sit at 3-11 and the bottom of the AFC South. If there is one thing the Colts and their fans wish for this year, it’s a new, undamaged throwing shoulder for their star player.
New York Giants- a time machine to go back to before Ben McAdoo benched Eli Manning for Geno Smith
Once the Giants fell to 0-5 and lost three of their top receivers for the season, everyone knew that their season was essentially over. And although Eli Manning has led a few miracles for New York over the years, not even he could save them from the lack of talent remaining on the roster. It was fair to assume that at some point in the year, the Giants would want to get a look at the rookie quarterback they selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Davis Webb. But the way head coach Ben McAdoo (who has since been fired) handled the situation could not have played out worse for the storied franchise. McAdoo benched Manning before Webb was ready to play, meaning the franchise’s best QB saw his historic 210-game start streak snapped in favor of former New York Jet and perennial New York joke Geno Smith. It’s safe to say this was not taken well by the Big Blue faithful. Giants fans were ready to storm MetLife Stadium, pitchforks and all, over this decision, and it ultimately ended McAdoo’s tenure as New York’s head coach a month early. McAdoo, along with Giants owner John Mara, are wishing for a time machine this year so they can go back and prevent this whole fiasco from occurring.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jon Gruden
Prior to the start of the season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one of the most popular picks to be a surprise contender this season. It was quarterback Jameis Winston’s third-season in the league, the year in which many young quarterbacks take the next step in their development. The Bucs had numerous weapons on offense (Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Doug Martin, Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard), a solid offensive line, and a talented roster overall. Yet here we are at the end of the year, and Tampa Bay’s 2017 campaign can be described as nothing short of a disaster. Inconsistent play from all sides of the ball has led the Buccaneers to the cellar of the NFC South, as Tampa Bay is sitting at 4-10 and scrambling for answers. Head coach Dirk Koetter, who was praised after taking Tampa Bay to a 9-7 finish in his first season as head coach last year, now finds himself on the hot seat, and one name being linked to the team is a familiar one. Jon Gruden has recently hinted that he might finally like to leave the comfy confines of ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth in order to return to the sidelines. Could there be a better fit for the Buccaneers than the only coach to ever lead the franchise to a Super Bowl Championship?? Probably, but don’t tell Buccaneers fans that.
Matt Citak is a producer for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter or send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.