There will have been plenty of people waking up feeling a bit worse for wear on Monday after ringing in the New Year, but fans of the Seahawks, Ravens and Chargers may have particularly bad hangovers.
That trio all missed the playoffs on the final Sunday of the 2017 regular season, but the Bills, Titans and Falcons have reason to celebrate after making the dance.
Meanwhile Browns fans will head into 2018 knowing it cannot be any worse than 2017 after they finished the season 0-16.
Bears coach John Fox, Lions coach Jim Caldwell, Colts coach Chuck Pagano and Raiders coach Jack Del Rio head into 2018 without jobs following disappointing seasons, and Bruce Arians has decided to call it a career, ending his stint with the Cardinals.
Here, for the last time in the 2017 regular season, and the first time in 2018, we look at some of the best headlines from around the NFL.
“It’ll last forever” — Corey Coleman conceded he will never be able to forget his drop on fourth down that sealed a 28-24 defeat to the Steelers’ backups and a winless season for the Browns. Cleveland can at least console itself with the first and fourth picks in the draft, but that will be cold comfort for Coleman.
“One of the finest leaders we’ve had” — How Lions owner Martha Ford described Jim Caldwell following his firing, which comes despite Detroit being led to three winning seasons under his stewardship.
Zimmer hoping history repeats — The Vikings clinched a first-round bye with victory over the Bears and, while coach Mike Zimmer isn’t predicting a Super Bowl appearance, he used a particularly piece of history to motivate his team as they aim to be the first team to win the Lombardi Trophy in their home stadium. “The last five years in the NFC, one of the two teams that had the bye represented the NFC in the Super Bowl,” Zimmer said after the game.
“I just call him the silent assassin” — Delanie Walker on his nickname for Marcus Mariota after his stiff arm of a Jaguars defender on a run for a first down that clinched a 15-10 victory and a wild card berth for the Titans. Tennessee will need more of his killer instinct in the postseason in order for the Titans to avoid being one and done.
Bills players left in tears — The Bengals dramatic 31-27 win over the Ravens ended a Bills playoff drought dating back to the 1999 season, an achievement that left their players in tears. “It’s such an emotional moment,” McDermott said. “No one gave this team a chance all year long. Our fans have been great all season long and I’m looking forward to seeing them at our playoff game.”
Changes have to happen — Ravens safety Lardarius Webb was under no illusions after their choke job. “We weren’t good enough so changes have to happen,” he said. One of those changes likely needs to come at quarterback, but a hugely expensive Joe Flacco contract my prohibit that from happening.
Bennett expecting exit — The Seahawks will not be in the playoffs for the first time since 2011 after losing at home to the Cardinals and one of the key members of their previously dominant defense, Michael Bennett, does not expect to return, telling reporters: “I probably won’t be back next year.”
It’s been a great ride — Arizona’s win in Seattle was Arians’ 50th with the Cardinals and, as he moves away from coaching, it’s best to give him the last word. “It’s been a great ride,” Arians said at his announcement. Nobody who has observed his career as both a coordinator and a head coach could disagree with that assessment of his time in the game.