The 2022 NFL season is one of the strangest and most interesting in recent memory because it isn’t going to plan. Fans witnessed quarterbacks fall into instant declines while heavily hyped teams fell short. Meanwhile, unheralded players like Geno Smith made incredible comebacks in this wacky year.
Furthermore, there are surprising contenders and shocking moments that rocked the entire league. All of these incidents and storylines combine to make this the strangest season in recent memory. Relive the wackiest situations of this strange season that isn’t even half over.
Chaos in Detroit
In many ways, the Lions are emblematic of why this is the strangest NFL season in recent memory. There was no denying that it was fun to watch them with their scintillating offense. D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown unleashed havoc on opposing teams early in the year.
However, their shocking defensive efforts meant that they only won one out of their first six games. Head coach Dan Campbell knows that the Lions must tighten up if they want to improve. It’s very entertaining to follow Detroit but nobody wants to experience the trauma of being a fan (via Detroit Free Press).
Ryan is a former league MVP, and that’s why it’s been sad to watch his sudden decline in the 2022 NFL season. The Colts signed him because they thought he’d make a decent stopgap after the Carson Wentz debacle. But things went from bad to worse until they benched him for Sam Ehlinger.
The veteran QB revealed his disappointment but it’s difficult to argue with Frank Reich’s decision. Ryan is one of several high-profile signal callers who suffered a serious drop in form this year. The 37-year-old may retire after this season because he won’t want to hurt his Canton case (via NBC Sports).
The offseason was also fascinating because fans witnessed the most bizarre draft in recent memory. 2021 was all about the stellar rookie QB class but it was very different this year. Kenny Pickett became the only QB selected in the first round after the Steelers selected him (via CBS Sports).
Meanwhile, Pickett is also the only full-time rookie QB starter so far this season. Desmond Ridder and Malik Willis may also start later in the year but there’s less hype about this group. Veteran QBs are receiving more attention than their younger counterparts but they don’t want most of it.
Everybody knew that this was a transition period for the Steelers after Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement. However, ‘Big Ben’ didn’t play well in 2021 so it wasn’t a terrible loss. Meanwhile, they have one of the best defenses in the entire NFL – or so fans thought (via Sporting News).
T.J. Watt suffered a devastating injury and the rest of the team failed to step up in his absence. His loss was a major blow but nobody expected such a decline. Mike Tomlin never had a losing season in his 16-year coaching career but his team is on course for this result. That’s disappointing after back-to-back playoff years.
Nobody expected much from the Falcons in 2022 after Matt Ryan’s departure. However, they’re doing better than analysts predicted before the NFL season began. Marcus Mariota is one of several inconsistent QBs making a comeback this year and he’s doing okay for the team.
We shouldn’t give them too much credit because the NFC South is one of the most garbage divisions in recent memory. But they are overachieving considering their competition and mediocre roster. Arthur Smith has the team winning when many picked them to lose almost every game.
It’s hilarious to look at the Panthers’ quarterback room and wonder how they created this mess. Remember when they had an NFL MVP on their roster in Cam Newton? It feels like 2015 never happened now that they have Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold on their team (via ESPN).
Interim coach Steve Wilks sent a damning message to the Panthers’ front office when he failed to start either of them in Week Eight. Instead, he went with XFL journeyman P.J. Walker. It’s a bizarre series of events that epitomize the chaotic 2022 NFL season.
One of the strangest moments of the 2022 NFL season came in October involving Wilson. The quarterback made many negative headlines throughout the year because of his garbage performances. But this was a different situation and took place on the Broncos’ flight to London.
Wilson shared a video of his alleged four-hour workout in the plane aisle. Skip Bayless and Kyle Brandt roasted the quarterback because they thought it was ridiculous. Meanwhile, many fans roasted him as he claimed to defeat jet lag through lunges and walking the aisle (via Sportskeeda).
The Rams stormed their way to a Super Bowl victory in 2021 after they assembled one of the league’s most expensive rosters. However, the new NFL season saw them struggle to reassert themselves as the league’s top team. They lost a lot of top players after the victory and this cost them in key games (via The Ringer).
Sean McVey’s team is missing depth. Furthermore, they traded a lot of picks for the likes of Matthew Stafford and Jalen Ramsey. Now they’re depending on later draft talent and they’re not of the same standard. It’s a tricky situation for a team that is making hard work of a run to the postseason.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this for the Raiders after they snatched Davante Adams from Green Bay. They reunited the star wide receiver with his former Fresno teammate Derek Carr. Many analysts predicted that the Raiders would make the playoffs in a tight AFC West (via Las Vegas Review-Journal).
That’s because the Broncos are in transition while Patrick Mahomes lost Tyreek Hill. However, Josh McDaniels isn’t convincing anybody that he’s an elite NFL coach. There were no excuses for their terrible 0-3 start because the roster is strong. Only time will tell if they can turn it around in this perplexing NFL season.
There may be life after Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers retire after all. Joe Burrow is one of the most exciting and consistent quarterbacks in the league. The Bengals suffered a slight Super Bowl hangover and some fans thought that Burrow was an overhyped player (via The Guardian).
However, he’s proving his MVP case with some elite performances including a 400-yard game against the Falcons. This meant that he became the first player to have five games of 400 or more yards in the first three years of his career. It’s an outstanding record and shows why he’s one of the best in the NFL. He just has to beat the Browns.
DeShaun Watson cast a massive shadow over the NFL season because of his disgusting sexual assault allegations. This didn’t stop the Cleveland Browns from trading for the quarterback. However, he received an 11-game suspension for his troubles (via Fansided).
It also divided the franchise because the move disgusted some members of the fanbase. But it didn’t impact others in the same way because they only care about results. Watson barely played football over the past couple of years so it will be interesting to see how he performs when he finally returns.
Bizarrely, some franchises improved or at least remained competitive after trading one of their best players. Everybody was writing Pete Carroll’s obituary after Russell Wilson left for Denver. However, the wily veteran coach is masterminding one of the shocks of the NFL season. It’s impressive how they’re competing despite their obvious depth problems.
They led the NFC West after seven games as Geno Smith stepped into Wilson’s shoes with ease. Meanwhile, they fixed their shaky defense and made it more difficult for opponents to beat them. Even if they don’t make the postseason they’re doing better than experts projected (via Sports Illustrated).
One of the most shocking moments of the NFL season saw Tua Tagovailoa receive a massive hit. This came against the Cincinnati Bengals and saw the quarterback endure multiple spasms. His hands contorted frighteningly as he lost control of his faculties in a disturbing scene (via Bleacher Report).
However, this also came after he received a hard hit the previous week. Most people expected him to miss the Bengals’ game because of concussion protocols but the Dolphins said that he was fine. The Miami doctor lost his job after the game because the medical staff put Tagovailoa’s long-term health at risk.
Many people thought that the NFC East would be the worst division in the NFL in 2022. However, that dishonorable label belongs to the NFC South because it’s horrible. In the East, the Eagles enjoyed a long unbeaten run at the beginning of the season. Meanwhile, the Giants rebounded and the Cowboys were competitive.
However, it’s a different story in the South as Tampa Bay disappointed everybody. Tom Brady wanted to retire in style but it looks like he’ll be leaving with a whimper. It says a lot that the Falcons are leading the division despite a losing record. It’s funny how things work out but fans of the East won’t be complaining (via NFL.com).
New England fans hoped that the Patriots would take a big step forward in 2022. Mac Jones fell into Bill Belichick’s lap last season and landed in the best situation possible. There was a huge opportunity for them to rebuild and remind the Bills of their existence. However, it’s not going well in Foxborough (via FOX News).
Jones’s injury in 2022 meant that Bailey Zappe received more snaps. The inexperienced quarterback hasn’t let anybody down but the team is underperforming. They suffered a pathetic loss against the Bears and another disappointing defeat against the Ravens. Meanwhile, the Jets are on fire so there’s a huge risk they’ll miss the playoffs.
Brady’s divorce provided unexpected drama to the 2022 NFL season. He split from his long-term partner Gisele Bundchen after 13 years of marriage. Allegedly, the Brazilian supermodel lost patience with Brady because he was obsessed with football. In 2020, Brady told Howard Stern that Bundchen felt that he wasn’t spending enough time with the family.
It appears that his decision to risk his health and leave retirement was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The pair took a court-mandated co-parenting course as they made the difficult transition. This didn’t help Brady’s on-field performances because he missed several practice sessions (via People).
Patrick Mahomes is arguably the most exciting generational talent since Aaron Rodgers emerged in Green Bay. It’s a guarantee that he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer because of his brilliance. Some people thought that the loss of Tyreek Hill would be a blow, but Mahomes continues to go from strength to strength (via NBC Sports).
Texas Tech enshrined him in their Hall of Fame in 2022 and it’s safe to say his franchise will eventually do the same. The former MVP is breaking record after record as he makes his case to be one of the best. Kansas City continues to soar with Mahomes as their signal-caller. It’s a privilege to watch him play every week because he is a phenom.
The 2022 NFL season also saw some big football names join the world of celebrity boxing. Adrian Peterson suffered a brutal knockout against Le’Veon Bell in an exhibition match. Then Bell lost a close match against former UFC fighter Uriah Hall on the undercard of a Jake Paul pay-per-view (via MMA Fighting).
If Bell had any discipline he would still be playing in the NFL today but he opted to make a quick buck. However, more NFL players may turn to the box because of the lucrative prize money. It’s possible that this is just a passing phase but people will always watch idiots punch each other in the head.
Mike McCarthy knew that his job was on the line before the 2022 NFL season began. Then he experienced a major blow when Dak Prescott had his annual serious injury. The head coach threw Cooper Kupp into the action but the young quarterback didn’t let him down. Dallas is exceeding expectations because they’re refusing to back down.
As soon as Prescott returned, Ezekiel Elliot suffered an injury to compound their woes. It’s been that type of year for the franchise. However, McCarthy and his team have earned the benefit of the doubt after keeping the team competitive (via Dallas Cowboys).
NFL fans and analysts shook their heads in scorn when they saw the Seahawks’ quarterback room as they entered the new NFL season. It’s safe to say that Geno Smith and Drew Lock didn’t inspire the masses. But Smith is performing beyond the realms of expectation and the Seahawks are competitive.
If he continues his renaissance, the Comeback Player of the Year award will be a formality. Smith led the NFL in completion percentage as Seattle entered Week 8 as NFC West leaders. It’s a dramatic turnaround for the former Jets bust because nobody saw this coming (via Sky Sports).
The NFC West is another bizarre division because the teams aren’t playing well. We’ve spoken about how the Seahawks are outperforming expectations but their rivals are garbage. The Niners and the Cardinals should be dark horse contenders right now. Meanwhile, the Rams are defending Super Bowl champions.
It’s safe to say that the Cardinals expected more after they signed Kyler Murray to a massive contract. San Francisco suffered an early blow after Trey Lance’s season-ending injury but Kyle Shanahan is under pressure. Finally, it’s time for the Rams to prove that they’re not one-season wonders (via Daily Leader).
It looked like the Broncos pulled off a major coup when they signed Wilson at the beginning of the new NFL season. However, the former Seattle quarterback is enduring a living nightmare. First, he received a lot of criticism because he verbally abused his teammates. This painted him in an unlikeable light after years of being a vanilla character (via Outkick).
Meanwhile, Denver is a disgrace on the field and the team is underperforming. First-time head coach Nathaniel Hackett isn’t able to get the best out of his quarterback. Wilson’s injuries didn’t help him but they may have helped the team because they took him out of the limelight. Many people thought that they’d be contenders but they’re one of the biggest busts of the year.
Remember when the Bills couldn’t make the postseason to save their lives? Now they’re one of the most exciting and dominant regular season teams in the entire NFL. Yes, they lost against the Dolphins and scraped past the Ravens but these may help them in the long term. Meanwhile, Josh Allen is an elite quarterback and one of the best of his generation.
The postseason is a very different story because even the best teams lose under those bright lights. However, it’s difficult to downplay the Bills’ level at this point. Von Miller was a crucial addition because the veteran pass rusher is having an excellent season. Watch this space because there may be a happy ending in upstate New York (via Fansided).
The 2021 quarterback class was one of the most anticipated in recent history. We saw the likes of Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Mac Jones, and Trey Lance enter the league with high hopes. Everybody except Jones had tough rookie seasons because they landed in difficult situations (via Sporting News).
It’s fascinating to watch their progress or lack thereof in 2022. Jones is having a tougher season while Lance barely played before he broke his ankle. Lawrence has yet to prove his talent with the Jaguars after stepping out from Urban Meyer’s shadow. Meanwhile, Fields has produced some good moments for a weak Bears team.
It’s only been two years since Tampa Bay became the first franchise to win a Super Bowl in their home stadium. This was a fairytale for Tom Brady as he won his seventh ring and first without Bill Belichick. However, it’s safe to say that they’re regressing quickly and that Brady shouldn’t have returned.
The transition from Bruce Arians to Todd Bowles isn’t going smoothly. Bowles was an excellent defensive coordinator but he isn’t doing the job as head coach well. After Week 8 he considered making changes to his staff but it’s a poor workman who blames his tools (via Tampa Bay Times).
New York football is back with the Giants and the Jets outperforming expectations. Nobody thought that the Giants would do anything special in the 2022 NFL season. After all, they announced that they wouldn’t offer Daniel Jones an extension. However, the team started the season with a stunning 6-1 record.
That’s more wins than they achieved in the entire 2021 season. Meanwhile, they rushed at a 40% clip which was double the league’s average. The Eagles are the best team in the NFC and potential Super Bowl contenders. But the Giants are on course for a spot in the Wild Card Round (via The Guardian).
Aaron Rodgers is arguably the most talented quarterback of his generation. He doesn’t have Tom Brady’s accolades but he has a better arm than his long-term rival. However, both men are enduring a horrible NFL season in 2022. Furthermore, many Green Bay fans wish that they replaced the veteran with Jordan Love.
A terrible display against the Commanders turned the franchise against him. The fanbase condemned his attitude and told him to stop yelling at his teammates. It’s safe to say that he’s having one of the worst seasons of his life but we may not see him again after this year. It’s a shame things are ending this dismal way (via Sportskeeda).
One of the most unexpected aspects of the season is that the Jets are playing some winning football. Robert Saleh deserves credit because he’s transformed the team into a competitive force. It’s unlucky that they’re in the same division as the Bills but they’re outperforming the Patriots (via New York Post).
Nobody saw that coming because they were not good in 2021. But the addition of their exciting young running backs made a big difference to their offense. It remains to be seen if Breece Hall’s injury has a catastrophic effect on their season. But the Gang Green can smile because things are getting better.
Washington became the latest team to gamble their fortunes on Carson Wentz. The quarterback is proving to be less dangerous than a water pistol in a gang war. However, a report revealed that Dan Snyder orchestrated Wentz’s signature because he wanted to reduce the focus on his drama.
Snyder is the most dysfunctional owner in the league today. He wrongly thought that Wentz was a marquee quarterback and could change the franchise’s fortunes. Unfortunately, Ron Rivera and Snyder must go back to the drawing board because Wentz isn’t the man for the job (via CBS Sports).
Before the season nearly everyone thought that the AFC West would be the most exciting division in the entire NFL in 2022. However, only the Chiefs are living up to expectations because their rivals aren’t playing well. Each team has a massive star at quarterback but the hype is fizzling out like an old candle (via SBNation).
Derek Carr’s Raiders started badly and it looks like this season will be a write-off for the franchise. The less said about the Broncos, the better because Russell Wilson is doing terribly. Finally, the inconsistent Chargers are better than the aforementioned teams but it will be a struggle to make the Wild Card round.