Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, Andy Reid, and Ed Reed are among the notable players and coaches who will get a crack at their old teams in the upcoming NFL season. That is some of what we learned when the 2013 NFL schedule was released on Thursday, and we are jacked up about it.
The NFL schedulers knew exactly what they were doing in order to produce some riveting storylines for television purposes. We went through the schedule to identify some of the best revenge games in the NFL in 2013 and listed them below. We’re already rubbing our hands together getting excited for a few of these ones, especially the top two on the list.
Broncos at Colts – Week 7, Sunday night Oct. 20
The Colts drafted Manning No. 1 overall in 1998 and he was their franchise quarterback through the 2011 season. Manning led the team to 11 double-digit win seasons and playoff appearances, and he won one Super Bowl and four MVPs with the team. He missed the entire 2011 season because of a neck injury, resulting in the Colts finishing poorly enough to receive the No. 1 overall draft pick. They selected Andrew Luck to become their next franchise QB, cut Manning, and he signed with the Broncos. Manning and Luck are professionals, but you can bet they each will be dying to prove who’s the better quarterback.
Broncos at Patriots – Week 12, Sunday night Nov. 24
This may be the revenge game where the feelings over a breakup were the most bitter. The Patriots played hardball with Welker over his contract for a few years and let him sign with Denver over a small amount of money. The Pats reportedly gave Welker a “take it or leave it” offer, so he signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Broncos. Welker’s agent even says they gave the Patriots a chance to match, but that New England declined. The Pats then proved money was not an issue by signing Danny Amendola to a five-year, $27.5 million contract. If ever there was a game where a player wanted to stick it to his former team, this would be it.
Chiefs at Eagles – Week 3, Thursday Sept. 19
We’re not necessarily expecting a great game here, but we’re curious to see what kind of reception Reid receives in notoriously harsh Philadelphia. We’re guessing it will be a warm one. Reid coached in Philadelphia from 1999-2012 and went 130-93-1. He never won the elusive Super Bowl in Philly, but his Eagles reached the playoffs nine times and made the Super Bowl once. Reid was finally canned following his second-straight disappointing season. Kansas City quickly snatched him up, and he quickly went to work rebuilding the team by acquiring quarterback Alex Smith from San Francisco.
Texans at Ravens – Week 3, Sunday Sept. 22
Ed Reed teamed with Ray Lewis to form one of the best defenses in NFL history for over a decade. He was an iconic Baltimore Raven, but his time with the team ended following their Super Bowl run. Reed signed with the Houston Texans in the offseason, and then there was a report that Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn’t want him back (the Ravens disputed the report). It’s harder for a defensive back to have an impact on a game than an offensive player at a skill position, but we wouldn’t put it past Reed to get an interception in this one.
Ravens at Broncos – Week 1, Sunday night Sept. 5
Elvis Dumervil was drafted by the Broncos in 2006, led the league in sacks in 2009, and reached three Pro Bowls with the team. There was the whole fax machine snafu that led to his free agency, and it really seemed like neither party wanted him to return to Denver. Instead, Dumervil signed a five-year, $35 million contract with the defending champion Baltimore Ravens.
Dolphins at Steelers – Week 14, Sunday Dec. 8
The notoriously stingy Steelers refused to meet Mike Wallace’s contract demands, so the talented wide receiver signed in Miami the moment free agency began. Ben Roethlisberger desperately wanted Wallace back, but everyone knew he would be gone from the moment he held out before the 2012 season. You know Wallace would absolutely love to burn his former team for a TD in this one.
Vikings at Seahawks – Week 11, Sunday Nov. 17
This is the only game on the list where the player does not return to his old city, but it still makes the list because of the bitter feelings. Harvin had been a notorious headcase for about two seasons in Minnesota. He wanted to make the big bucks, and if Minnesota wasn’t going to pay him, he wanted out. Harvin finally got his way when the Vikings traded him to the Seahawks in March. Knowing Harvin’s history, we’re betting he misses the game with a groin or leg injury.
Honorable Mention: Greg Jennings returns to Green Bay and Steven Jackson returns to St. Louis.
Both players spent their entire careers with their previous teams and made big impacts on the franchises. They each signed with new teams in the offseason. Since they signed with divisional opponents (Jennings in Minnesota; Jackson in Atlanta), we knew they would be facing their former teams on the road. Still, these should be fun ones to watch.Google+