...has, mercifully for my New York Jets fan son-in-heir and myself, concluded, and neither of us could have imagined that it would have turned out so disappointingly.
Especially for me with my Detroit Lions after what I thought was their "break-away from the recent catastrophic past" season of a year ago when, after a 5-0 start, they limped into the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade and finished 10-7 but with great promise for 2012.
After an indifferent start, they finally squared their record at 4-4... then proceeded to finish the year yesterday with their eighth straight defeat!
What was promising for the Lions was their record-setting wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, who shattered Hall of Famer Jerry Rice's 1995 single season yardage record of 1,848 yards with 1,964 yards on 122 catches.
What was a killer this season, though, was that in those last eight losses, the Lions held second half leads in four of them and couldn't put their opponent away... defensive backfield help is a priority this off-season.
Although I am first and foremost a Detroit fan, the NFL stories which held my attention the most in 2012 involved the Jets, the New York Giants, and Eli Manning's older brother Peyton, who returned from a year-long injury to lead his new team, the Denver Broncos, to the playoffs.
Most impressively, it wasn't Peyton's passing skills that caught my attention, rather his leadership abilities on the field... to watch him in the huddle was a revelation: he naturally and effortlessly played the role of offensive coordinator.
He utterly and fully commanded the other ten players' attentions, not only calling the play but telling various individuals their assignments... the only thing Peyton Manning was missing was a clipboard and a whistle!
The 36-year-old, four-time Most Valuable Player (all with the Indianapolis Colts) led the Broncos to an 13-3 won-lost record, and top seed in the American Football Conference.
The Giants? Eccch! What the hell happened to the defending Super Bowl Champions who were sooooooo inconsistent in a division in which no real cream rose to the top, that they couldn't make the post-season with a 9-7 record, and with no major injuries to blame.
And then there's the Jets and the Tebow attrocity!
It surrounded the Heisman Trophy-winner the Florida Gators who took over as starting quarterback for the Broncos six games into his sophomore season, and led them to the post-season and a startling playoff victory over the favored Pittsburgh Steelers.
When Denver signed Peyton Manning, Timothy Richard Tebow became expendable, and Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum traded for him, apparently without the support of Head Coach Rex Ryan.
It was a disastrous move, thoroughly undermining the confidence of starting quarterback Mark Sanchez and giving the New York sports media, as savage a group of hack writers as has even been assembled anywhere, vicious fodder for the entire 17-week season.
Sanchez had an execrable season, and actually looked shell-shocked mid-way through Sunday's final game.
He finished the year throwing for 13 touchdowns but being intercepted 18 times and losing the ball nine more occasions on fumbles as Tebow looked on from the bench.
Rex Ryan's credo this year was apparently "ABT," or "anyone but Tebow" as the Jets coach started third string QB Greg McElroy in game 15 when Sanchez was injured.
For the 2012 season, Tebow played in 12 games, completed six of eight passing attempts for 39 yards, and ran 32 times for another 102 yards. He didn't account for any touchdowns, but neither did he turn the ball over on an interception or a fumble.
The only ones who benefitted from Tebow's presence this year seem to have been some female fans... from afar. When Jeanne saw a video clip of Tebow running shirtless in the rain at Jets camp last July, her eyes crossed, her breath shortened and her knees wobbled at the vision.
Tim Tebow won't be back with the Jets next year, and will hopefully find a better fit somewhere for the fourth year of his original five year contract, and with a team that will give him an honest opportunity to play, something Ryan never did.
O, and the Jets fired Mike Tannenbaum today.
Welcome back. Thanks for the beefcake. Makes we wanna fall to one knee....