A revealing year in the NFL

Bill Belichick

Here's what we found out about the NFL in 2013:

• Bill Belichick proved he is one exit past genius. He won the AFC East with the best tight end in the game lying in the hospital, another top-10 tight end in jail, his best receiver in Denver and his run-stopper in a cast. Belichick is the NFL Coach of the Year, unless it's Peyton Manning.

• It's possible for a man to break the single-season passing TD record twice in one career -- nine years, 1,000 miles and four neck surgeries apart.

That's got to go on the plaque.

History is right under our noses. Manning's 55 passing TDs record might last longer than landfill Styrofoam. Second best this season? Thirty-nine by Drew Brees. That's Reagan over Mondale.

• The NFL seedings make as little sense as ever. Explain, please, how 12-4 San Francisco has to go to Green Bay to play the 8-7-1 Packers. In January.

Insanity.

The fix is simple: Reseed them based on record and give no standing to winners of divisions thinner than a Goth drummer.

• The hottest teams heading into the playoffs are Carolina and Philadelphia The best is Denver. The worst is San Diego, where they really must be starved for good news. The Chargers went positively mental after beating a KC team that was resting 20 of its 22 starters -- at home.

Nonalcoholic beer for everybody!

•  Tom Brady is God, and Tony Romo is Satan. Except they finished 11th and 12th in QBR this year.

•  Cam Newton doesn't worry about anything. Not your deadline. Not your blitz. Not your opinion of him. The man is titanium.

• Mike Shanahan was canned for one reason: He risked RG III's career at the end of last season by putting him back in the game. Lost the kid's trust. Fatal mistake.

Poor Shanahan. What can he do now except move back into his 35,000-square-foot Denver house -- the one with its own bowling alley -- collect $7 million in 2014, and hang around at his world-class steak joint?

•  Jason Witten is going to the Hall of Fame after all this.

• The Cleveland Browns' front office must have a vault of Bitcoin somewhere. The Browns are willing to eat $10.5 million firing a head coach whose name fans hadn't even learned to spell yet when they have the worst linebacking corps this side of Rice. This is known as setting squirrel traps while elephants stomp you into pancakes.

• Fire the coach, fire the coach, fire the coach. Remember September? When 80 percent of a certain town's fans wanted the head coach fired after his 1-3 start? His name? Riverboat Ron Rivera, who has the Panthers skillet-hot and holding the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

• Speaking of job termination, it is very hard for an official to be fired. Example: Bill Leavy, whose San Diego field goal screw-up this past week means his crews have made more big mistakes than Custer.

• Much easier to fire players, though. Seattle CB Brandon Browner just got a year ban for a positive pot test while in Stage 2 of the substance-abuse program. But Browner went from Stage 1 to Stage 2 while he wasn't even an employee of the NFL. He was playing in Canada when he missed two tests, which was strike two. If you switch jobs from McDonald's to Wendy's, do you still have to take McDonald's drug tests? "The letters went to my ex's house," Browner told me. "How am I supposed to get those?"

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