Making New Year’s resolutions are a tradition this time of year, despite only eight percent of those who make them actually keep them. But, how about sports teams? There aren’t statistics for that—likely because sports teams actually don’t make New Year’s resolutions (we assume). But that doesn’t mean we can’t make a few for them—in this case, for all the teams guaranteed to be watching this year’s playoffs from the comfort of their own couches (yes, we included the Colts).
Here are 2016 New Year’s resolutions for each of these non-playoff teams—aside, of course, from making the playoffs in the upcoming season.
Two teams with multiple resolutions
These two teams have more than one resolution to make and thus deserve a category all their own, which transcends their conference designations:
Cleveland Browns: To make the right decision at coach, general manager and quarterback that ignores the pressures of outside observers and really does serve the team’s long-term best interests. To finally fix the defensive problems, particularly against the run, that have persisted since 1999. To have a winning season for the first time since 2007. To master the first round of the NFL draft. To turn “same old Browns,” into a compliment and not a put-down.
Philadelphia Eagles: To learn from past mistakes. To never allow a single man’s vision gut the entire roster without really earning that power. To improve the “emotional intelligence,” of the coaching staff. To buy boxes of “apology steaks,” for LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Evan Mathis and Andy Reid. To gas up the bus that Chip Kelly was thrown under and drive it to Tennessee to warn the Titans to not confuse infatuation for love.
The rest of the AFC
Oakland Raiders: To not squander the young talent they have added and to continue to have strong drafts after years of head-scratching decisions.
Buffalo Bills: To know when and how to say “no” to Rex Ryan (hint: You’re right to not do it now).
Indianapolis Colts: To recognize how rare it is for lightning to strike twice at the quarterback position and to do everything it takes to get Andrew Luck to live up to his potential.
Jacksonville Jaguars: To tune out the haters, keep treading the rebuilding path and to remain confident that you’re doing the right thing.
Miami Dolphins: To find an antibiotic for that caustic front-office environment once and for all.
Baltimore Ravens: To not have yet another injury-marred season.
San Diego Chargers: To realize a move to Los Angeles isn’t the answer—you had the answer when Marty Schottenheimer was the coach. Also, don’t fire a coach after going 14-2.
Tennessee Titans: To explore hiring Chip Kelly as head coach but to also stand pat about keeping his hands off of personnel control until he’s proven deserving of such a privilege. (Note: This applies to all teams considering Kelly in the coming weeks).
The rest of the NFC
Atlanta Falcons: To figure out why Kyle Shanahan offenses disappear in the second halves of seasons and to not assign all the blame on Matt Ryan.
St. Louis Rams: To figure out just what it is Jeff Fisher has on the league to consider him still worthy of your head coaching job.
Detroit Lions: To play four quarters of football, not three.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: To stock up on crab legs on Victory Mondays.
New Orleans Saints: To not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The bathtub is leaky; fix it.
Chicago Bears: To finally get Jay Cutler to “do care.”
New York Giants: To realize when it’s time to let go.
San Francisco 49ers: To find a better alternative than Blaine Gabbert. To find a better alternative than Jim Tomsula. To send apology notes to Jim Harbaugh.
Dallas Cowboys: To keep the Cleveland Browns’ phone number away from Jerry Jones.