With the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea 35 days away, I began to think. What if Football was included in the Winter Olympics?
Sure, the Olympics is a far cry from reality because of the danger of the sport and we may have a much better talent pool than other countries. Just think, though. Who would you have on your team?
I’m using active players only. Let’s start with the offense.
Quarterback: Tom Brady (Starter), Drew Brees, Jared Goff
The ageless 40-year-old GOAT Tom Brady has set the NFL on fire once again. He led the NFL in passing yards with 4,577 and threw 32 TD passes. He’s as good as ever, which is why Bill Belichick had the confidence to rid the team of BOTH his backups via trade this season.
It’s difficult to see the end nearing when he puts up numbers like that. Father Time is losing this battle. For now.
Drew Brees finished 4th in with 4,334 yards passing yards, but only threw 23 TD passes due to the rise of Mark Ingram and arrival of Alvin Kamara.
However, one shall never take ‘Breesus’ lightly. He led the league in completion percentage (AGAIN) at a staggering 72.2%. He’s the best active QB in the NFC and a backup on this team. How amazing is that?
Jared Goff was written off far too quickly after a forgettable rookie campaign with a delusional head coach. Enter Sean McVay and like magic, he had possibly the best bounce-back sophomore season in recent NFL history.
Goff was a mad bomber, averaging 8 yards per pass attempt, compiling a 4:1 TD to INT ratio, completing 296 of his 477 passes (62.1%), throwing for 3,804 yards, 28 TD’s (only 7 INT’s), and was 5th in the NFL in quarterback rating with a rating of 100.5.
The young quarterback has excelled to new heights with a solid supporting cast and a coach who believes in his abilities. I’m very anxious to see how the 23-year-old Cal product performs this postseason.
Running back: Le’Veon Bell (Starter), Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley
Le’Veon Bell is hands down THE most complete back in the NFL. He led all NFL rushers in rush attempts (321), receptions (85), and was 3rd in rush yards (1,291). He is a virtuoso and a truly special player.
There aren’t too many players from Toledo that will be selected in the NFL draft, period let alone in the third round.
However, Kareem Hunt took the league by storm, leading all rushers with 1,327 yards and earning a Pro Bowl nod. The best of this guy is yet to come.
While Le’Veon Bell got all the catches and targets in Pittsburgh, it was Todd Gurley that led the L. A. Rams offense and all backs in receiving yards (788) AND receiving TD’s (6) to go along with 1,305 rushing yards and 13 TD’s.
He’s looked to have fully regained his great running style and Olympic speed and is still my choice for MVP with Carson Wentz being injured. Hands down.
Wide Receiver: Antonio Brown (Starter), Julio Jones (Starter), De’Andre Hopkins, A. J. Green (Starter), Keenan Allen, Adam Thielen
The first four names mentioned with this position group are easily the four best players at their position in the game today.
A. B. had yet another 1,500+ yard season. Julio Jones and De’Andre Hopkins continue to dominate while continuing to make absolutely death-defying catches, and A. J. Green is probably the purest route runner in all of football.
However, Keenan Allen was a year removed from ACL surgery and becomes Phillip Rivers favorite target again, finishing 2nd in the NFL with 102 catches, 1,393 yards, and 6 touchdowns. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
An undrafted free agent from Minnesota State-University Mankato in 2013, Adam Thielen made his 5th year his best year. He caught 91 balls for 1,276 yards, which were easily career highs to go along with 4 scores in 2017.
His quick feet and relentlessness going over the middle makes him the Minnesota Vikings’ most dangerous and reliable target.
Tight End: Travis Kelce (Starter), Rob Gronkowski
Travis Kelce is the best tight end in football now. Sorry, Gronk. You’re second, though.
Both tight ends had over 1,000 yards receiving and 8 TD receptions, but Travis Kelce had 14 more receptions and was occasionally used as a deep threat. Gronk is more dangerous in the red zone.
Offensive Line: Tyron Smith (LT, Starter), Lane Johnson (RT, Starter), Richie Incognito (LG, Starter), Brandon Brooks (RG, Starter), Rodney Hudson (C, Starter), Taylor Lewan, Kelechi Osemele, David Bahktiari, Jason Kelce, Zack Martin
Tyron Smith is the best left-tackle in the NFL. Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks make beautiful music together on the right side of the line in Philadelphia.
Richie Incognito is an absolute bully in the trenches, and Rodney Hudson is a top 3 guy at his position. No doubt about it.
AND NOW, TIME TO MAKE OUR DEFENSE.
Defensive Line: Aaron Donald (DT, Starter), Fletcher Cox (DT, Starter), Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa (DE, Starter), Calais Campbell (DE, Starter), Demarcus Lawrence, Geno Atkins, Jurrell Casey
Aaron Donald missed all of the preseason, training camps, and the Rams’ Week 1 win against the Colts….and he’s still the best damn interior defender in football.
He led all defensive tackles with 11 sacks and didn’t miss a beat once Wade Phillips inserted him into the lineup.
Calais Campbell and Demarcus Lawrence compiled 14 sacks a pop while Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa kept their streaks of double-digit sack seasons alive.
Pressure creates diamonds and you gotta love a guy who can get to the football and get heat on the QB.
Linebackers: Luke Kuechly (MLB, Starter), Bobby Wagner (MLB/OLB, Starter), Chandler Jones (OLB, Starter), Von Miller, C. J. Mosley, Blake Martinez, Joe Schobert
Luke August Kuechly has been the best linebacker in football for 4 years running. Bobby Wagner is still the 2nd heartbeat of that Seattle defense other than Earl Thomas. Chandler Jones led the NFL with 17 sacks.
Blake Martinez and Joe Schobert finished deadlocked at No. 2 in the NFL in total tackles (142).
Secondary: Jalen Ramsey (LCB, Starter), Earl Thomas (FS, Starter), Micah Hyde (SS, Starter), Darius Slay Jr. (RCB, Starter), A. J. Bouye, Patrick Peterson, Xavier Rhodes, Eric Weddle, Harrison Smith
The No. 5 pick in the 2016 NFL draft out of Florida State, Jalen Ramsey has erased just about everyone he’s gone up against from De’Andre Hopkins to A. J. Green.
He has 30 pass breakups in his first two years as a pro. He has been much better than advertised since leaving Florida State.
With so many great, young defensive backs making their names last season, none of them made more noise than Detroit Lions corner, Darius Slay Jr.
He broke up a league-high 26 passes and as if that weren’t enough, he was tied for the league lead in Interceptions with 8! Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. He put on an absolute show defensively for the fans in Motown this year.
Micah Hyde has stepped out and broken out in his 1st year as a full-time starter. After signing a 5-year deal in free agency with the Buffalo Bills, he’s making his 1st Pro Bowl and has the Bills end an 18-year playoff drought.
Special Teams: PK Justin Tucker, P/H Brett Kern, KR/PR Tyreek Hill, LS Jake McQuiade, ST Tyler Matakevich
Justin Tucker is the greatest placekicker in the world. Brett Kern averaged 51.5 yards a punt. The wildcard in this equation is Tyreek Hill. He is undoubtedly the most exciting return man in football. My apologies to Pharoah Cooper.
Coaching staff: Sean McVay (Head Coach), Josh McDaniels (Offensive Coordinator), Matt Patricia (Defensive Coordinator), Dave Toub (Special Teams Coach)
Sean McVay went from little known offensive guru with the Washington Redskins to a savior within a year by helping resurrect the Los Angeles Rams franchise, leading them to an 11-5 record and a division title.
Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are both head coaching candidates this upcoming offseason. They’ve been masterful in New England for quite a while and are easily 2 of the absolute best coordinators in football.
Dave Toub is a special teams MASTER. He has a very keen eye for talent, fielding 8 Pro Bowl players in his 16 years in the NFL that included stops in Philadelphia and Chicago before reuniting with Andy Reid in 2013.
He is respected heavily around the league. There is still a belief that he will be a head coaching candidate as well in the near future. Some think as soon as this season.
Well, there you have it. The 2018 United States Olympic football team. No way this team leaves without a gold medal. From top to bottom, this team has the juice to produce. Man is it fun to dream.