Top 10 Moments: First Half of the 2012 NFL Season

By Alex Parine,

With the first half of the 2012 NFL Season in the books, it seems appropriate to take a look back at the most memorable points in the season thus far.

The moments in this list are not in any particular order.

1) Replacement referees out, official referees in.

At the inception of season the NFL referees were locked out by the league owners, the referees were holding out over issues such as pension and wages to name a couple. The league hired replacement referees in attempt to display that the product on the field wouldn't suffer if they chose not to open their wallets for the regular referees. The results turned out to be disastrous, the officiating was awful and questions of player safety were raised.

The boiling point came during the Monday Night Football game in Week 3 between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers. Seattle QB Russell Wilson heaved a hail mary in the final seconds of the game, the ball appeared to be intercepted by Packers Safety M.D. Jennings in the end zone, however there was a tussle for the ball between Jennings and Seattle WR Golden Tate. The replacement referees were conflicted on whether it was a touchdown or interception (displayed in the article picture), it was ultimately ruled a touchdown and Green Bay lost.

This call led to great controversy and the eventual reinstatement of the official league referees. Now every member of the Packers' secondary can't even see a zebra on the Discovery channel without cringing.

2) Drew Brees' sets record for consecutive games with a passing touchdown.

On a Sunday night game during Week 5 of the season, Saints QB Drew Brees' broke Johnny Unitas' record of consecutive games with a passing touchdown on a 40-yard strike to WR Devery Henderson. Brees' now holds the record at 48 consecutive games with a touchdown pass, providing the lone bright spot in an otherwise mired season for the Saints.

3) Andrew Luck sets record for Rookie QB passing yards in a single game.

During a close Week 9 game between the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Luck set the record for passing yards by a rookie QB in a single game on his way to defeating the Dolphins. Luck passed for 433 yards, breaking the record previously held by last year's rookie sensation Cam Newton by a single yard.

4) Seattle Seahawks defeats the New England Patriots on a last second TD.

With no one giving the Seahawks a chance against the Patriots, QB Russell Wilson stepped up and delivered a 46-yard touchdown pass to WR Sidney Rice with 1:18 remaining to stun the Patriots in a 24-23 victory. This win is perceived as particularly ominous of the changing of the guard from traditional NFL QB's to a more mobile; dual threat QB.

5) Aaron Rodgers 6TD game.

In week 6 Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers torched the Houston Texans for 338 yards and 6 passing TD's while not throwing a single interception. For Rodgers sake hopefully this performance made the Seattle debacle feel like a distant memory.

6) Torrey Smith honors his brother.

Less than 24 hours before the Baltimore Ravens week 3 game against New England, WR Torrey Smith received an early morning phone call informing him that his younger brother Tevin had died in a motorcycle crash. With a heavy heart Smith took the field and racked up 127 yards and two receiving touchdowns in honor of his late brother, sealing a one point victory for the Ravens.

7) Eli Manning 4th Quarter comeback vs Tampa Bay.

Does this actually surprise anyone at this point? In the waning moments of the Giants and Buccaneers week 2 match-up, Eli Manning pulled off one his patented 4th Quarter comebacks, finishing 31-51 for 510 yards and 3 TD's to defeat the Tampa Bay 41-34.

8) Doug Martin breaks out in Week 9.

Touted as an all around back, and dubbed a work horse by his team, Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin confirmed the hype by putting forth a monster performance to the tune of 251 yards and 4 TD's on 25 carries. I wonder if any Oakland Raider defenders have Martin on their fantasy squad.

9) Salsa-gate featuring Victor Cruz and Carlos Rodgers.

Days before the New York Giants week 6 game against the San Francisco 49er's, WR Victor Cruz's grandmother passed away. Cruz credits his grandmother with teaching him his infamous salsa dance touchdown celebration. During last years match-up with the 49er's, CB Carlos Rodgers intercepted an Eli Manning pass and busted out Cruz's signature salsa dance, and Rodgers had hinted he might do it again in this years game if he received another gift from Manning. Word of this got back to Cruz and he explained that he wouldn't be too amused if Rodgers did that, perceiving it as disrespect for his late grandmother; Rodgers heard that and backed down. An emotional Cruz ended up scoring a touchdown in the game and performing the celebration as a tribute to his grandmother. Any time that type of compassion is shown on the football field it's a win for the game, the players, salsa dancing, and grandmothers everywhere.

10) Chuck Pagano post game speech.

On September 26th Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia, Pagano decided to take a leave of abscense from the sidelines last week. Following the Colts close victory against the Miami Dolphins in week 9, Pagano delivered an obviously emotional and inspiring post game speech to his team. Colts players have since shaved their heads as a tribute to their coach. Moments like these truly remind you that things bigger than the game can make it all that much better in victory.

That wraps up the Top 10 moments from the first half of the 2012 NFL season, stay tuned to the second half of the season for some more amazing drama.

Image: YouTube



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