INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 31: NBC studio analyst and Sports Illustrated write Peter King looks on during the Super Bowl XLVI Broadcasters Press Conference at the Super Bowl XLVI Media Canter in the J.W. Marriott Indianapolis on January 31, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
The venerable Peter King with Sports Illustrated published his final Monday Morning Quarterback of the football season, including his final-15 of the 2011 NFL season; a ranking of the best 15 teams from his perspective. Obviously the top two teams are going to be the Super Bowl participants from last night with unsurprising Giants claiming first. Moving down the list and you broaden the teams by including those that made the playoffs, with those eliminated later in the postseason generating higher rankings.
As one should expect, every team that made the playoffs earned a spot in King's rankings, with the Denver Broncos ranked 11th as the final playoff team. Wait. Aren't there 12 playoff teams every year? Well, yes my intelligent little buddy. Any guesses on the one team that was missed?
Of course it's the Bengals. You expected something more realistic, changing trends of a laughable organization gaining respect for earning two playoff berths in the past three seasons? Ranked ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals includes four squads that failed to make the playoffs entirely: The Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins (who finished the season 6-10). Maybe the Bengals just need to win a Super Bowl to find a home in King's top-15 list at the end of the year. And we suspect the team would still rank outside the top ten.