The Way We Were: The Top 5 NFL Teams of 2011

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Remember 2011? In a lot of ways, it was a pretty rough year. Charlie Sheen’s deep psychosis was news for some reason, we found out about the Terminator’s secret baby, and a handsy pizza magnate was a legitimate player in the race for president. It wasn’t all that bad though. What about football?

The 2011 NFL season was truly one to remember. It was a simpler time. A time before the incredible incompetence of wide-eyed replacement referees decided most of the games. A time when the Saints were still a lovable bunch of scamps who had not yet been discovered as ruthless mercenaries, and the Colts proved that they were always just one quarterback injury away from being legitimately bad at football. But looking back, who will be remembered as the top 5 teams of the 2011 NFL season? Well, if you want to be able to hold your own in a senseless drunken argument with your buddies at 4 a.m., you need look no further than here.

5 Philadelphia Eagles

The 2011 Eagles land at #5 on the list not for a remarkable season or for being ultra-talented, but for being hilarious. Coming off Michael Vick’s career year in which they went 10-6, the birds made plenty of noise in the off-season, adding the two best corners and wordiest names available in Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Preseason experts were calling Philadelphia a “dream team” that would surely run away with the NFC East; then they proceeded to go 8-8 and miss the playoffs. Just to put it in perspective, this “dream team” had the same amount of wins as the Oakland Raiders. What an awful dream.

4 Baltimore Ravens

Defensive anchor Ray Lewis has always said that the Ravens are “God’s team.” Well, if God made the 2011 team in his image, then evidently God is a total badass that gives quarterbacks a serious case of the pee-pants. The Ravens fell just short of the Super Bowl, losing the conference championship by a field goal and may have even gone all the way had 2011 not been the year Joe Flacco finally caved and shaved his lucky unibrow.

3 Green Bay Packers

The Packers may have been upset in the divisional round by the eventual champs, but 2011 was a stellar season for Cheeseheads nationwide. The Pack finished the regular season at 15-1, leading the league in scoring, overall offense and linebacker hair. But still, their playoff run fell well short and you can’t help but wonder if it may have been due to quarterback Aaron Rodgers devoting so much of his time to the discount double-check.

2 New England Patriots

Despite being bested yet again by the Giants, there’s no denying that the Patriots had a spectacular season. After finishing 13-3 and winning the AFC East for a record 136th year in a row (I didn’t research that number, but as a Miami Dolphins fan, it feels about right), the Pats proved that they are an undeniable football powerhouse. Their coach is so supremely confident he walks the sidelines wearing the rag I use to change my oil, and defenses are helpless against them because they’re too busy being lost in Tom Brady’s eyes. Combine that with a breakout season from that guy you hated in high school, and you’ve got the #2 team for 2011.

1 New York Giants

Super Bowl champions. Nothing more needs to be said. But I’m going to say more because this was seriously unbelievable. The Giants were on absolutely no one’s radar in the closing weeks of the regular season. After all, no one fears a team whose leader looks like that neighborhood kid who got picked on for hugging too hard and always chewing on the neck of his shirt. But somehow, the Giants squeaked into the postseason and proceeded to go on a run more improbable than a Chris Christie morning jog. And at the end of the day, a man who spends most of the offseason finger-painting can call himself a two-time Super Bowl MVP.

There you have it: a compilation so in-depth and thoroughly wrought over it is virtually bulletproof, despite’s vehement denial to publish it. In any case, when you look back on 2011, remember it for the teams who truly made it worthwhile. And tell your bitter, ignorant buddy from Nor-Cal that it doesn’t matter if the ’Niners just missed the Super Bowl – the Eagles were way funnier, and that trumps all.

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