- The number of games in the 2020-21 NFL season – the 101st in league history.
This year’s games were certainly some of the quietest ever played in the NFL, but they will count in the record books fully and without an asterisk.
Super Bowl 55 was a first in that Tampa Bay had the privilege of playing for the championship in their home stadium – the first team to do so.
This Super Bowl was also the first to feature Tom Brady wearing something other than New Century Silver and Nautical Blue.
This Super Bowl was the first to see a player win his 7th ring and the first to see a coach with 8 rings have to watch from home as his former long-time quarterback wins a ring with another team … yes this is all Tom Brady stuff, sorry.
Other things independent of Tom Brady happened too this year. The Patriots suffered their first losing season since 2000. The Bills won their first playoff game in 25 years. The Browns snapped a 17-year postseason victory drought of their own.
Other franchises took a major step backward such as Jacksonville – who finished just 1-15 just 3 years removed from an appearance in the AFC Championship game.
This misstep may be viewed as a positive, however, as it earned the Jags the #1 pick in the 2021 NFL draft – which will almost certainly turn into Trevor Lawrence – and lured famed CFB head coach Urban Meyer to our nation’s swampiest state.
Elsewhere in the league, 6 other coaches were fired in a year that promises much upheaval at both head coach and quarterback. Matt Stafford is now a Ram. Jared Goff is a Lion with a brand new, energetic coach.
The Miami Dolphins rebuild appears to be working as the team jumped from 5-11 in 2019 to 10-6 this season. Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had a lot to do with the increase in wins.
Miami was 3-3 heading into their bye week with FitzMagic under center. The team turned the keys over to Tua during the bye and the Hawaiian sparked a spectacular stretch run in which Miami won 5 of Tua’s first 6 starts – ending the season on a 7-3 tear.
The Houston Texans became the epitome of a talented team that can’t win this season – finishing 4-12 after winning the South and earning a playoff victory last season. Star quarterback Deshaun Watson wants out. For the Texans’ sake, I hope they get a good haul.
The Raiders should have made the playoffs this season but choked a sure win away to Kansas City in the final seconds in Week 11 and then repeated the performance in Week 16 against Miami. Gruden should have gone with Spyder 2 Y Banana.
Despite finishing 7-9, the Chargers’ future looks very bright given the unexpectedly solid play of rookie Oregon product Justin Herbert. The 22-year-old signal caller made headlines by cutting his locks midseason but made more news by tearing up the competition on the field.
Herbert completed two-thirds of his passes for 4,336 yards with 31 touchdowns and only 10 picks in 2020.
Enough idle chit chat, let’s get into the numbers which best summarize this 2020-21 NFL season.
The number of rings by Ariana Grande … and now Tom Brady.
A match made in heaven – the 27-year-old former Nickelodeon star and the 43-year-old California native have one thing in common … they are both rich.
Tom Brady’s net worth is somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million – per Forbes – while Grande is worth a cool $150 million.
7 rings … Tom Brady enters rarified air with his latest Super Bowl conquest. Brady is now 1 of just … wow, 1 players to ever win 7 Super Bowls. Pretty cool.
Amongst all NFL entities, Brady is still in the shadow of his former coach Bill Belichick. The Hoodie has 8 rings inside that front pouch – 6 as Head Coach of the Pats and 2 as defensive coordinator of the Giants.
Brady’s 7th ring pulls him into a tie with everyone’s favorite NFL personality – Neal Dahlen. Ah yes, the famous Neal Dahlen. Dahlen has 7 rings to his credit – 5 as an administrator with the 49ers and 2 as an administration with Denver.
The most ATS wins by one team in the NFL this year – a tie between Buffalo and Tampa Bay. Also, the most ATS losses by one team this year – the Chiefs.
The Bills and Bucs each finished the season 12-7 ATS (Tampa was 12-7-1), an ATS win rate of 63.2%. KC was 7-12 this year ATS with an average line of -7.0.
This 12-loss ATS season for Kansas City is fresh on the heels of a 13-win ATS season for the Chiefs in their championship 2019-20 campaign.
This year, Kansas City was a team who never turned it on until they desperately needed it. The Chiefs had close wins this year against the Chargers, Panthers, Broncos, and Falcons – all of whom are far less talented football teams than Kansas City.
KC played with their food in the Super Bowl last season against San Francisco. They also fell behind big early to Houston that year. This season, the Chiefs allowed Cleveland to hang around in the Divisional Round and let the Bills take a 2-score lead in the AFC Championship game.
Experts knew that this slow-starting style of play would bite Kansas City when they faced competition stiff enough to hold onto an early lead. Enter Tom Brady and the crew. Give that man a 15-point halftime lead and it’s over.
Brady was 79-6 (now 80-6) in his career when going into the intermission up 15+.
Most games going over the total by one team in the NFL this year – a tie between the Raiders and Bills.
It is fun to diagnose the cause of excessive overs. It is almost always better-than-expected offense or worse-than-expected defense … sometimes a combination of the two.
In Vegas’ case, the Raiders could not stop anyone all year long. The Silver and Black allowed 29.9 points per game to their opponents in 2020-21, the 3rd-most in the NFL behind Detroit and Jacksonville.
Vegas allowed the 8th-most yards to their opponents (389.1 per game) while owning the 2nd-worst turnover differential (-11) in the league. The Raiders’ 15 takeaways rank 3rd-lowest in the NFL while the team’s 26 giveaways is tied for 5th-highest.
The Bills’ game often went over because nobody saw an offensive explosion in Buffalo coming. The trade of Stefon Diggs to the Bills flew under the radar until Diggs began leading the league in catches and receiving yards.
Diggs finished the 2020-21 season with 127 receptions (1st in the league) for 1535 yards (1st in the league) and 8 touchdowns (T-15th in league).
Diggs’ 5 plays of 40+ yards are tied for 2nd-most in football while his 20 plays of 20+ yards are tied for 5th in the league.
With a new weapon at wideout, Bills QB Josh Allen turned in a career year. The 24-year-old Wyoming product set new highs in completions, completion percentage, yards, touchdowns, interception percentage, first downs, yards per attempt, QBR, avoiding sacks, and team wins (with 13 in the regular season).
Buffalo’s offense was clicking on all cylinders for much of the 2020-21 season, flummoxing stubborn under bettors used to Buffalo’s grind-it-out style of year’s past.
The average line for the New York Jets this season (+9.2) – the biggest underdogs in the NFL.
Despite the longest odds of any team this season, New York won 2 games to finish 2-14, just ahead of Jacksonville (1-15) whose average line was +7.8.
ESPN analyst and former Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky maintains that this year’s Jets team is worse than his 0-16 Lions of 2008.
While the 2020 Jets may be statistically inferior to the ’08 Lions in certain categories, New York was able to beat two playoff teams on back-to-back weeks.
The average point margin for Tampa Bay this season – the highest in the NFL.
Prior to Tampa’s 22-point thrashing of Kansas City, Baltimore led the league in point margin at 8.78. Tampa jumped from 8.42 to 9.10 with their domination of Patrick Mahomes and Co. in the biggest game of the year.
The win percentage by AFC teams against NFC opponents this season.
Tampa (NFC) won the only interconference game that mattered, however, when they held KC to single-digits in the Super Bowl. The last time the Chiefs failed to score 10 points in a game was Week 11 of the 2017 season in the Meadowlands against the Giants.
The number of wins by the Miami Dolphins this season – the winningest team to miss out on the playoffs in 2020-21.
This year’s Dolphins were the first team since the 2015-16 Jets to win 10 games during the regular season but have to watch the playoffs from home.