The Student News Site of Archbishop Mitty High School

The Monarch

The Student News Site of Archbishop Mitty High School

The Monarch

The Student News Site of Archbishop Mitty High School

The Monarch

The 2023 NFL Season Recap and a look ahead into Next Year

In one of the oddest years of NFL football, the end result was all too familiar.
Steph Chambers/Getty Images
The Chiefs won Super Bowl 58 over the San Francisco 49ers in OT. The final score was 25-22.

The 104th season of the National Football League has been characterized by countless standout performances, intense rivalries, and unexpected turnarounds. Coming off an intense postseason in which the Kansas City Chiefs ultimately edged out the Philadelphia Eagles, fans were ready for a thrilling and unpredictable season ahead, and it’s safe to say that the league delivered.

Franchises like the Detroit Lions, led by veteran quarterback Jared Goff and coach Dan Campbell, heavily surpassed projections set at the beginning of the season. Veteran quarterback Joe Flacco even made a surprise return to the league with the Cleveland Browns and went 4-1 in his NFL homecoming, bringing his team to the playoffs. Established teams like the San Francisco 49ers, driven by Offensive Player of the Year Christian McCaffrey and their loaded defense, and the Kansas City Chiefs’ strong returning core (and an army of Swifties) performed to the high level assigned to them by countless analysts. And to top it off, Raven’s quarterback Lamar Jackson continued to add to his already impressive resume, tallying 24 touchdown passes while leading the league in quarterback rush yards and securing the MVP award.

McCaffrey scored the first touchdown of the Super Bowl and enjoyed a stellar year as the best running back in football. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Moreover, the 2023-2024 NFL season was some surprising teams emerge as victors such as the Houston Texans led by rookie quarterback, C.J. Stroud, and the Green Bay Packers led by the young quarterback Jordan Love. Both the Texans and the Packers had strong regular seasons, but their performances in the playoffs made their impact even stronger. The Packers upset the number 2 seed, the Cowboys, blowing them out. Similarly, The Texans defeated a top contender for the championships, the Browns, by 31 points. Although both the Texans and Packers were defeated in the second round of the playoffs, they put up surprising performances, both in the regular season and the playoffs. This causes us to think about these young teams when considering who the serious contenders are for the next NFL season.

C.J. Stroud silenced his many critics in his rookie year as he led the Texans to the divisional round and already looks like a superstar after his first year. (Tim Warner/Getty Images)

With the 2023 Texans and Packers as examples, young but determined teams can indeed make it far; last year’s NFL draft had a massive influence on the success of teams this year. To add to the intrigue, this 2024 class is loaded with highly-rated offensive stars, prompting many tough offseason decisions with few examples better than the Chicago Bears’ decision on what to do with the number one overall pick and their current third-year quarterback, Justin Fields.

Fields, once the savior of the franchise, is on the brink of being traded as Chicago may want Caleb Williams #1 overall. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Fields’ first three years in the league have been filled with ups and downs, and while his play has been consistently improving, it still hasn’t reached a point where his team is a contender with him under center. For General Manager Ryan Poles, there is little in the way of a win-win answer, as keeping Fields may result in another 7-10 year, but trading him and selecting a quarterback would mean passing on wide receiver prospect Marvin Harrison Jr. For better or for worse, it appears likely at the moment that the Bears will trade away Fields and draft USC’s dynamic playmaker, Caleb Williams, but nothing is for certain until the pick is in.

Another captivating story this off-season is the quarterback situation in Denver. Two years ago, the Broncos traded for former Seahawks superstar quarterback Russell Wilson, banking on his potential to lead them to a Super Bowl. Unfortunately for Denver fans, however, he was outright awful in 2022 and barely mediocre in 2023 even with the hiring of highly touted head coach Sean Payton. To attempt to solve their issues, the Broncos can either cut Wilson and try to draft a quarterback, a move that would seem obvious if not for the massive cap penalties it would induce, or try a third season with Wilson. It is highly plausible that the Broncos will take the aggressive stance by cutting Wilson and utilizing their 12th overall pick to select Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. 

Russell Wilson talks to Sean Payton on the sideline. The two are likely going their separate ways this offseason as the Broncos look to replace Russ. ( Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY)

As for the rest of the NFL, there aren’t any other stories quite as intriguing, but there will likely be a significant shift in who makes the playoffs. In the AFC, Justin Herbert and the Chargers will return to form under new head coach Jim Harbaugh and will have the potential to knock off an unsuspecting Chiefs team to take the AFC West. The forgotten Bengals will likely return to the strength they wielded in previous seasons, propelling them to be true contenders for the AFC North. The AFC East and South will likely remain the same with the Bills and Texans winning them, respectively.

In the NFC, the 49ers will stay strong and compete for a top spot in the NFC West while the Cowboys will have a chance to win back-to-back NFC East titles due to a reeling Eagles team dealing with more-than-concerning issues. The unexpectedly strong Packers will be contenders for the NFC North title, and the Falcons will be a revitalized and competent team under new head coach Raheem Morris. While the 2023 NFL season was definitely one full of intrigue, what 2024 has in store looks to be even more exciting as offensive football appears poised to rebound after a year where defenses tended to outmatch the other crew, leaving nothing but enjoyment ahead for NFL fans. Unless you hate Taylor Swift, of course.