Ahead of the Curve
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Reminiscent of Douglas MacArthur in 1945, NFL 2009 was a season of big returns: Tom Brady's return from injury; Vince Young returning from his lost year; Michael Vick returning from jail; Brett Favre returning from "retirement" and finally joining the Vikings; and the return of Tampa Bay's creamsicle uniforms to inspire their first season win over the Packers.

There were great plays galore (even some on defense).  Favre's (49ers) and Big Ben's (Packers) game winning TD passes are most memorable.  There was Adrian Peterson's thunderous TD run in Cleveland, Chris Johnson running wild all season long and the Colt's throwback TE Dallas Clark going glove-less to the dismay of NFL executives.

Sadly, 2009 can also be called the season of concussions.  I never heard so many reports.

But what may stand out most in 2009 were the incredible blunders.  A season chock full of headline-grabbing decisions that either captivated or infuriated fans and media across the football nation.  Every week, some player or coach managed to step-in-it and track it all through the house.  Some calls were debatable, some ill-advised and some just dumb.

Nobody's perfect

When leading, Indy Coach Jim Caldwell pulls his starters in their Week 16 game against the Jets and forgoes a possible perfect season.  Lost in the uproar is the unintended boost the move gives the Jets' playoff hopes in a competitive AFC.

Hey Coach, did you know we're behind?

Jaguar Coach Jack Del Rio instructs RB Maurice Jones-Drew to knee-down at the Jets' one yard line, supposedly to work the clock.  Strangely, the Jags are losing at the time.

So, he's sure he didn't hit the guy?

Roger Goodell fails to suspend Raider Coach Tom Cable for standing by and watching helplessly as assistant coach Randy Hanson falls into a file-cabinet and breaks his jaw.

What's a little brain swelling?

Steeler WR Hines Ward calls-out teammate QB Ben Roethlisberger for not recovering quick enough from a concussion.  Ben didn't already have enough problems to deal with?

Brad wants to do what?!

Viking QB Brett Favre shows-up his coach Brad Childress by refusing to leave the Carolina Panther game over Childress' concerns that Favre is taking too many hits.

But it always works in practice

Though leading the Pack, Steeler Coach Mike Tomlin tries an on-side kick in the hopes of re-gaining possession and running out the clock.  The gamble fails but Pittsburgh wins.

Fourth down will never be the same

Fearing his sieve-defense won't hold, Bill Belichick goes on 4th and 2 against the Colts. I list this here only because all of America, it seemed, thought it a bad call except the Patriots, me and Deion Sanders.

Steven Keys

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