Saints onside kick in Superbowl XLIV.
The first ever onside kick in the Superbowl outside of the fourth quarter was not as big a risk as many thought. On America's game, the NFL Films documentary, Sean Payton claimed that the Saints had noticed an alignment in the Colt's special teams that they could take advantage of and Thomas Moorstead was very consistent kicking it off. Still the decision took a huge amount of courage and resulted in a five minute pile up for the football.
Chiefs appoint assistants Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis.
Wies and Crennel brought with them a vast array of knowledge as well as a winning attitude to the Chiefs that has landed them the AFC West crown and a playoff berth.
Patriots acquiring Deion Branch for a 5th rounder while trading Moss for a 3rd.
The trade of Randy Moss shocked the NFL world but the Patriots acquisition of Deion Branch meant the offense did not miss a beat and seemingly improved.
Browns acquire Peyton Hillis and Seneca Wallace.
Peyton Hillis' brilliant performances in Cleveland not only aided the recovery of the Browns it also helped cost Josh MacDaniels his job in Denver.
Jets acquire Santonio Holmes.
The Jets acquired Santonio Holmes from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 5th round selection. The oft troubled wide receiver has made big plays for the Jets all season while also keeping his nose clean off the field.
Rams starting rookies Sam Bradford and Rodger Saffold.
Sam Bradford was initially expected to sit out his first season and learn behind AJ Feely but he impressed so much in training camp that he became the starter and the Rams never looked back with the impressive Saffold protecting his blindside.
Raiders release Jamarcus Russell and trade for Jason Campbell.
Releasing Jamarcus Russell allowed the Raiders to bring some stability to the quarterback position in Oakland with the signing of Jason Campbell. Campbell wasn't an all-pro candidate but outplayed his price of a 4th round pick in 2012.
Chiefs sign Thomas Jones.
While Jamaal Charles is getting a lot of attention for his outstanding performances in Kansas City this year, a huge part of his success is a result of Thomas Jones tough running. The pair as a tandem are the best backs in the league.
Bears sign Julius Peppers.
Peppers has become a defensive MVP candidate with his constant harassing of offensive tackles and resultantly spending half the season in the backfield. Peppers presence has helped to improve the defensive line as a unit.
Jets acquire Antonio Cromartie.
The much heralded partnership of Revis and Cromartie did not fail to meet their expectations as one of the best cornerback tandems in the league. Revis' holdout and subsequent injuries took away from their time together as a pair but Cromartie has played well whether as the no.1 or no.2 corner.
Lions acquire Shaun Hill.
The Lions acquired Shaun Hill from the 49ers to be their backup quarterback for a seventh round selection in the 2011 draft. Hill played substantial time for the Lions and performed relatively well in comparison to other backups throughout the league.
Dolphins sign Karlos Dansby and trade for Brandon Marshall.
The Dolphins high profile signings during the season may not have led to team success for the AFC East team but Dansby and Marshall both performed admirably in a struggling franchise this year.
Rams signing Fred Robbins.
Lost in the Sam Bradford show in St. Louis has been the outstanding performances of Fred Robbins. Robbins has been a major reason why the defense has returned to respectability.
Steelers starting rookie center Maurkice Pouncey.
If he were a skill position player there would be a huge amount of hype surrounding the Steelers starting rookie center. On a team where rookies are lucky to get time on special teams Pouncey played his way to the Pro Bowl by snapping the ball to Ben Roethlisberger.
The Browns drafting Colt McCoy.
Colt McCoy emerged for the Browns this season as their starting quarterback thanks to injuries to starters Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. McCoy showed great composure by beating the Saints in New Orleans and the Patriots in Cleveland.
Josh Scobee's 59 yard field goal against the Colts.
With the game tied the Jaguars could have simply played out the final five seconds of the game and gone to overtime against the Indianapolis Colts but Jack Del Rio decided to have a go at a 59 yard field goal with Josh Scobee. Scobee nailed it for the walk off score.
Bears appoint Mike Martz.
The Bears offense has been explosive and making plays all season while Jay Cutler has managed to stand up to the physical beating he took early on in the season. Martz was a key figure in the Bears' NFC North title.
Lions sign Rob Sims, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Ton Scheffler and Corey Williams.
Jim Schwartz and Martin Mayhew can't take enough credit for their moves during the offseason. The Lions seemingly did not miss with a signing and have taken significant steps in trying to remove all evidence of the 0-16 team.
Ravens acquire Anquan Boldin.
Boldin's escape from Arizona came at a tiny cost for the Ravens, 3rd and 4th round selections, with excellent results. Boldin's stats may be down compared to his time in Arizona but he still put up over 800 yards as well as 7 touchdowns.
Eagles trading Donovan McNabb.
The emergence of Michael Vick and the struggles of Donovan McNabb made this trade an impressive one for the Eagles even if it wasn't the original plan(Kevin Kolb)
Eagles acquire Ernie Sims.
The former first round pick cost the Eagles a fifth round pick in this years draft but played like a first rounder all season.