With Christmas literally on our doorstep, it's almost time for the big fat man to drop off the presents and for happy little children to embark on the maelstrom of unwrapping. As always however, there are some people who just can't wait for the big day, giving away their gifts a little early. Below are six examples of this that the NFL gave us yesterday.
Ben Roethlisberger's Gift to the Cincinnati Bengals: A Playoff Bid
Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers must have really wanted to spend time with his new child as he literally gave back to back games away to kill the Steeler's chance of making the postseason. With less than a minute left in Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals and in a tie game, Roethlisberger chucked an off balance throw straight into the hands of a Bengals defender. A few seconds later, the Bengals kicked the game winning field goal. This follows a week where Roethlisberger threw yet another bad pass in overtime that resulted in a Dallas Cowboys win.
Enjoy the offseason Ben, your fans won't!
The Indianapolis Colts Gift of Chuck Pagano: A Playoff Bid
Nobody expected Andrew Luck to come in and make a huge immediate impact on the Colts team that was bad enough a season ago to get the number one pick. Nobody that is except Luck himself, who ever confidently led these Colts to the number five seed in the AFC with Sunday's win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
It was an inspired win for the Colts, one of many in a season that has been dedicated to head coach Chuck Pagano. Pagano was forced to take an indefinite leave of absence three months ago to battle leukemia. He is due back in time to lead the team in the playoffs.
The Seattle Seahawks Gift to the San Francisco 49ers: A Rude Awakening
Throughout much of the season the San Francisco 49ers have been the Alpha dog of the NFC besides Atlanta. The Seahawks on the other hand were just a good team getting hot at the right time. Seattle had other things in mind this Sunday night when they put up 42 points on the 49ers in a rout on National TV that clearly showed San Fran and the league that they are not a joke. Heading into the playoffs, the Seahawks may be the team nobody wants to meet.
The Baltimore Ravens Gift to Ray Rice: The Ball
The Baltimore Ravens have been one of the head scratcher teams of the NFL this season. Early in the year they looked like a powerhouse and top of the league. Then they lost three straight, looking lost in the process. Now, after a 33-14 win over the New York Giants, they might have finally found their winning ways again by doing what they haven’t done the past few weeks.
...By giving Ray Rice the damn ball!
Ray Rice is the Ravens' most dynamic offensive player and somehow they forgot that for a bit. On Sunday they remembered as they gave Rice 24 rushes which he turned into 107 yards. Rice also caught six passes for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Dez Bryant's Gift to Dallas Cowboys Fans: Not Opting For Surgery
Yes, the Dallas Cowboys did lose on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, but it wasn't because of lack of effort from wideout Dez Bryant. Bryant, who opted to play instead of getting surgery on an injured finger, went off for nine catches, 224 yards and two touchdowns. Those are monster numbers; plain and simple; and numbers that Dallas are going to need next week against the Washington Redskins.
Tim Tebow's Gift to the New York Jets: Not Being on the Team Next Year
The writing is clearly on the wall that New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow will not be back next season. It has been a rather unremarkable year for the man who led the Denver Broncos to the playoffs a season ago and the icing on the cake came this weekend when it was reported that Tebow asked head coach Rex Ryan not to be used in the wildcat package.
Tebow may not have a starting gig or a team after this season but credit the man with the wherewithal to stand up for himself.
Happy Holidays to all!
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.