5 Colin Kaepernick
His 2012 season was a great story, but 2013 is the year that we find out if Colin Kaepernick is the real deal. Before you get all giddy about snatching him up in your office fantasy league, remember one thing; this is the NFL. This league is comprised of some of the most elite athletes in the world, and some truly brilliant game strategists are guiding them. Now that teams have had an entire off-season to study tape on him, you have to wonder if Kaepernick will continue to shred defenses, or if he’ll become the next punch line for jokes about flash in the pan QB’s (sorry, Derek Anderson).
4 Miami Dolphins
Miami’s season could go one of two ways, which is actually a HUGE improvement since the for the last decade their seasons have only had the potential to go one of one ways; poorly. The Phins made some key additions (Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe) that could lead to a playoff run, but they also had some key departures (Jake Long, Reggie Bush) that could see them taking a step back. But with the Patriots roster feeling the effects of age and the U.S. justice system, the fish may finally be able to make some noise in the AFC East.
3 The Fox Crew
With football back, that also means the triumphant return of the Fox NFL Sunday crew and their wacky antics! Curt Menefee, Jimmy Johnson, Howie Long, Terry Bradshaw, Michael Strahan and whomever the hell else will join them this season call themselves “America’s #1 Pregame Show,” in spite of the fact that they offer little to no actual information and spend the bulk of the show cackling like drunken hyenas. There’s a silver lining to their cloud of awful though; just make the show into a drinking game! Take a shot every time one of them unjustly finds themselves absolutely hilarious, and your NFL Sunday is sure to be one not easily remembered.
2 Wes Welker
When the Patriots decided not to pursue their longtime go-to receiver in the offseason, they may have unintentionally created a monster. Replacing him with Danny Amendola (pretty much just a younger version of Wes Welker) made sense on paper for the Pats, until Welker decided to take his talents to Denver. Welker’s move to the Broncos has him teaming up with the resurgent Peyton Manning, and pairs him with a legitimate downfield threat in Demaryius Thomas. Sorry New England, but you may have accidentally just helped build the team that’s going to be beating on you for the next few years.
1 Roger Goodell
Over the course of his stint as commissioner, Roger Goodell has established himself as a no-nonsense kind of guy. He’s made it clear through swift and harsh punishments that he will not stand for anything less than honorable behavior from the players in his league. And… well, it’s pretty much done nothing. After an offseason that included the standard amount of DUIs, domestic abuse arrests and just a peppering of first-degree murder, you have to wonder where Goodell goes from here. Despite his best efforts, the NFL still has a reputation as a league full of hooligans, so keep an eye out for some new, out-of-the-box punishments coming out of the commissioner’s office. Fifty bucks says Nick Fairley is tarred and feathered in a public square by mid-season.
For a winning team, take a look at the 5 Best NFL Hall of Famers from 2013.
But even winners get the blues. See what NFL players made our list of the Biggest Crybabies in professional sports.