2011 Football Season in Review
by Randy Snow
Originally posted on Yahoo! Voices, Monday, December 12, 2011
This is the time of year when everyone is doing year in review stories, from news show to entertainment shows and everything in between. Sports are no exception but I am going to focus on just what happened this past year in The World of Football.
The year started out like most years do, with the playing of several college bowl games including the grand daddy of them all, the Rose Bowl. It featured a matchup between TCU and Wisconsin which TCU won 21-19.
On January 7, the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA) crowned a new national champion in Frisco, Texas. Eastern Washington defeated Delaware 20-19.
The BCS National Championship game was played on January 10 in Glendale, Arizona where Auburn beat Oregon 22-19. But that was not the end of the college football season. There were still four college all-star games to be played; the East-West Shrine Game on January 22, the Eastham Energy All Star Game on January 23, the Senior Bowl on January 29 and Texas vs. The Nation on February 5.
The NFL Pro Bowl moved back to Hawaii after being played in Miami in 2010, but it was still played before the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. The NFC beat the AFC 55-41 on January 30.
Super Bowl XLV was played on February 6 in Arlington, Texas at the new home of the Dallas Cowboys. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in front of the fourth largest crowd ever on hand at a Super Bowl; 103,219.
The same day as the Super Bowl, the Lingerie Football League also held its championship game in Las Vegas. The Los Angeles Temptation defeated the Philadelphia Passion 26-25.
NFL Owners locked out the players from their facilities soon after the Super Bowl in a dispute over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. It would be a long, bitter affair between the two sides.
In spite of the lockout, however, the NFL Draft was held April 28-30 in New York City. Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton from Auburn was selected with the first overall pick by the Carolina Panthers.
The Canadian Football League held its college player draft on May 8. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers selected linebacker Henoc Muamba from St. Francis Xavier with the first overall selection.
A new indoor football league debuted in 2011, the Ultimate Indoor Football League. The Saginaw Sting from Michigan won the inaugural UIFL title on June 10 with an 86-69 win over the Eastern Kentucky Drillers.
In other indoor football news, the Southern Indoor Football League champion was crowned on July 2 when the Albany Panthers defeated the Louisiana Swashbucklers 69-48. On July 11, the Cincinnati Commandos defeated the Marion Blue Racers 44-29 in the championship game of the Continental Indoor Football League and on July 16, the Sioux Falls Storm defeated the Tri-Cities Fever 37-10 to win the Indoor Football League title.
In Women's football action, the Atlanta Ravens beat the California Quake 24-22 on July 30 in the Independent Women's Football League. That same day, the Boston Militia defeated the San Diego Surge 34-19 in the Women's Football Association.
The NFL Lockout ended on July 25 when representatives from all 32 teams unanimously approved a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that the owners had previously approved on July 21. The only casualty to the 2011 NFL season was the cancellation of the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, which was to be played on August 7. The Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony went on as scheduled, however, on August 6.
The College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana held its annual Fan Fest weekend July 15-16. The enshrinement Class of 2011 was led by Michigan wide receiver Desmond Howard, linebacker Pat Tillman from Arizona State and guard Randy Cross from UCLA.
On August 12, the Arena Football League played ArenaBowl XXIV in Phoenix, Arizona. The Jacksonville Sharks defeated the host Arizona Rattlers 73-70.
Off the field, Hank Williams Jr. was fired by ESPN on October 3 after he appeared on a Fox News show and made a comparison between President Barak Obama and Adolph Hitler. Williams had been doing the Monday Night Football theme song since 1989.
In the Canadian Football League, Anthony Calvillo, quarterback of the Montreal Alouettes, broke a couple of CFL records this year. He also became the all-time leading passer in pro football history, breaking the record previously held by Damon Allen with 72,381 yards. By comparison, Brett Favre holds the NFL record with 71,838 yards.
The United Football League played only a four game regular season due to financial problems but still managed to play a championship game on October 21. The expansion Virginia Destroyer defeated the two-time defending UFL champion Las Vegas Locomotives 17-3 in Virginia.
The 99th CFL Grey Cup game was played in Vancouver on November 27. The British Columbia Lions defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 34-23.
For the first time since 1997, the Green Bay Packers began selling more shares of stock in the publicly owned team in December. The team wants to raise $130 million in order to help pay for renovations to Lambeau Field.
On November 19, the longest played rivalry in college football was played once again. Lehigh and Lafayette in the FCS (Div I-AA) met on the football field for the 147th time since 1884. Lehigh won the game 37-13, its fourth straight over Lafayette, but Lafayette still leads the series 76-66 with five ties. Both teams are located in Pennsylvania.
That same day, the 128th Harvard-Yale game was played at the Yale Bowl. Harvard won the game 45-7, but Yale still leads the series 66-54 with 8 ties. Harvard has won the last five straight games in the series.
The 112th Army-Navy game was played on December 10 at FedEx Field in Landover Maryland, home of the NFL Washington Redskins. Navy won the game 27-21. It was the Midshipmen's 10th straight win over Army. Navy now leads the series 56-49 with seven ties.
Also on December 10, quarterback Robert Griffin III from Baylor was awarded the 77th Heisman Trophy.
The college bowl season officially kicks off on December 17 with the playing of three games; the New Mexico Bowl between Wyoming and Temple, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl between Utah State and Ohio and the New Orleans Bowl between Louisiana-Lafayette and San Diego State.
This is just a small sample of what happened in The World of Football in 2011. Next year already looks like it will be just as good.
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2012
The BCS National Championship Game will be played in New Orleans on January 9 between LSU and Alabama, Super Bowl XLVI will be played in Indianapolis on February 5.
ArenaBowl XXV will be played on August 10 in New Orleans following the league's 25th season and the 100th Grey Cup game will be played in Toronto on November 25.
Notre Dame will travel to Dublin Ireland for a September 1 game against Navy.