The 2016-17 NFL season was interesting, to say the least.
With notable rookie performances, unexpected playoff contenders and the best comeback in Super Bowl history, there is a lot to take away from this year’s season.
Below, I have highlighted the top five things that I took away from this year’s season:
(1) The Dallas Cowboys have a bright future ahead
Led by rookies Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys put on a show in Arlington this season and earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Elliot, who was drafted fourth overall in last year’s NFL draft, ran for over 1,600 yards and averaged over 100 yards per game. Prescott, who was drafted in the fourth round and took over after quarterback Tony Romo’s preseason injury, threw for over 3,600 yards with 23 touchdowns and a 104.9 passer rating on his way to winning NFL Rookie of the Year.
With a dominant offensive line, a talented receiving core and a formidable defense, the Cowboys were able to win 13 games this season, which was nine more than last season. Led by young talent, look for the Cowboys to be real contenders again next year
(2) Matt Ryan has proven he is elite
The Atlanta Falcons had an unexpectedly great season thanks to an incredible receiving core, a strong defense and an MVP quarterback. With just under 5,000 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and a trip to the Super Bowl, Matt Ryan has proven himself to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
Look for Atlanta to remain dangerous as they continue to grow next year.
(3) Derek Carr is the future in Oakland
In what was one of the most shocking performances of the year, the Oakland Raiders, led by quarterback Derek Carr, had the opportunity to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC until a late, season-ending injury.
Despite the injury, the Raiders, with help from talented receivers, have the opportunity to make some noise in the AFC again next year.
Look for them to build upon this season’s performance and get back to the playoffs next year.
(4) The playoffs were uninteresting, but the Super Bowl will be remembered forever
This year’s playoffs were a poor representation of the NFL’s top talent. Eight out of 10 games were decided by 13 or more points as many teams struggled to match their regular season performance. Despite the lackluster playoff performances, Super Bowl 51 gave the fans a game for the ages.
(5) Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time
After this season, Tom Brady has truly demonstrated just how great of a quarterback he is. Despite missing the first four games, Brady finished the season with a 112.2 passer rating, throwing for 28 touchdowns and 3,500 yards. To cap off an incredible season, Brady led his team to the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Down by 25 early in the third quarter, Brady and the Patriots came back to win it in overtime. The win gave Brady his fifth Super Bowl Ring and fourth Super Bowl MVP award, the most for any NFL quarterback.