Secrets of the 2013 NFL Season
May 31, 2013 by Jeffrey Boswell • Print Story •
* At the Thursday night season-opener on September 5th, forgiving Broncos fans give safety Rahim Moore a standing ovation before the game versus Baltimore, proving that anyone, not just Jacoby Jones, can "get behind" Moore.
During pre-game warm-ups, former Bronco Elvis Dumervil promises Peyton Manning 2 sacks. After the game, a 30-16 Denver win in which neither Dumervil nor any teammates record a sack, Manning says that his offensive line "must not have got the memo, or the fax" from Dumervil.
Denver scores a measure of revenge for last year's playoff loss, pummeling the Ravens, 30-16.
* While aimlessly wandering the sidelines at the Steelers/Jets contest on October 13th, Jets legend Joe Namath bumps into the behind of offensive lineman Brandon Moore. Namath stumbles, trips over a Gatorade bottle, and sets off a Rube Goldberg-like sequence of events that ends two minutes later with a Mark Sanchez fumble and a Namath kiss from Suzy Kolber.
New York loses 26-23 to Pittsburgh, and the Jets finish the season 6-10, third in the AFC East. Rex Ryan is fired the following day, but finds work immediately when he is hired to host Travel Channel's "Man Versus Foot."
* As a whole, 2013's draft class gets off to a slow start early in the season, not because of lack of talent, but because none wants to be the first rookie to be the subject of a "coming out" party headline.
Eventually, the Rams' Tavon Austin and Miami's Dion Jordan separate themselves from their rookie counterparts and win the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards, respectively.
* In the Raiders' season-opener in Indianapolis on September 8th, outspoken Oakland punter Chris Kluwe badly shanks his first punt, predictably to the far left, into the Raiders sideline, where head coach Dennis Allen makes the catch. Kluwe is placed on waivers the next day, but is quickly claimed by The Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday.
* Chargers rookie linebacker Manti Te'o impresses early in San Diego's camp, endearing himself to coaches and veterans alike with a tireless work ethic and maturity beyond his years. However, Te'o's mental tools later come in to question it is revealed that 11 weeks passed before he realized his dating advice column for the San Diego Union-Tribune was a hoax perpetrated by teammate Eric Weddle.
Te'o laughs off the ridicule and has a solid year for the Chargers, earning the team's Defensive Rookie of the Year award, which he celebrates by buying some oceanfront property in Iowa.
* Seattle's Richard Sherman accidentally bites his tongue while trash-talking Skip Bayless in a heated exchange on ESPN's First Take in late September. Sherman gets the last word, saying that Bayless is a "sum off a bith" after Bayless accuses him of having "small diction."
The wound requires four stitches and Sherman misses two games, setbacks that are tempered by his newfound ability to communicate with Shannon Sharpe.
* The Cowboys organization files an injunction to block the release of Lindsay Lohan's self-produced foray into the soft-core porn industry, Herbie Does Dallas, in which she portrays a down-on-her-luck, past-her-prime, drug-addled, conceited cheerleader who forges a sexual relationship with a Volkswagen Beetle.
And speaking of sex with inanimate objects, transvestite Edna "Too Tall" Jones' relationship with Jerry Jones goes public, leading to Jerry Jones delivering a public apology prior to the Cowboys Sunday night game in New Orleans on November 10th.
* On Thanksgiving Day in Detroit, Ndamukong Suh intentionally boots Aaron Rodgers in the crotch, sending the Packers quarterback writhing in pain. The act goes un-penalized, however, as officials miss the call.
And enraged Rodgers, in a surprising move, consults with Brett Favre, who advises Rodgers to text a photo of his damaged member, not to Jenn Sterger, but to NFL offices. Suh is suspended for one game, and ordered to attend testicle sensitivity training.
Rodgers recovers, and goes on a tear in his final four games, tossing 14 touchdown passes, then announces that State Farm has insured his testes for $5 million.
* After eating a contaminated apple pastry prior to the Cowboys December 29th game against the Eagles in Dallas, a sickened Tony Romo sits out the first quarter with extreme stomach cramps. Still, it's not the costliest "turnover" of the day for Romo, as a fumble on the Eagles one-yard line with three seconds left costs the Cowboys a win, and a playoff spot.
* The surprising Dolphins finish 9-7, second in the AFC East, buoyed by speedy wideout Mike Wallace, who becomes the fastest thing in Miami since the Heat bandwagon.
Wallace grabs 10 touchdowns on the year, including three of 50 yards or more.
* On July 6th, English rocker Billy Idol performs "White Wedding" at the nuptials of Robert Griffin III and Rebecca Liddicoat and dedicates the tune to former ESPN announcer Rob Parker. Idol's performance is followed by a set from Crazy Horse, albeit without Neil Young, who feels the "Redskins" nickname is offensive to Native Americans.
The newlyweds honeymoon in Jamaica, where TMZ broadcasts Griffin shouting "Geronimo!" as he begins a zip line run. Controversy ensues, and the Washington organization acquiesces to pressure from Congress and Native American advocacy groups, culminating in a name change, as the Washington Redskins become the Washington "Generics."
* The Bengals win the AFC North with an 11-5 record, led by A.J. Green, who leads the AFC with 1,496 receiving yards and 12 touchdown receptions.
* In the Broncos' first six games, Wes Welker grabs 27 passes for 126 yards, with 19 of the receptions going for first downs. When reminded of his paltry 4.6 yards per catch average, Welker shrugs and coins the phrase "the Wes Coast Offense."
* In his first game as a Buccaneer, Darrelle Revis picks off Mark Sanchez twice in Tampa's 27-20 opening week win over the Jets at MetLife Stadium. On his second interception, Revis races down the Jets sideline toward pay dirt, outrunning everyone, save for Jets owner Woody Johnson, who catches Revis and begs him to return.
Revis records nine interceptions on the year and is named to the All Pro team, then becomes the first player hold out for more money in the Pro Bowl.
* Atlanta's Julio Jones lead the league with 14 touchdowns on the season as the Falcons win the NFC South with an 11-5 record, edging the 10-6 Panthers.
* Alex Smith brings to Kansas City something Chiefs fans have longed for — a quarterback worth cheering for who's not injured. Smith makes Chiefs' fans forget about Matt Cassel with his first pass, a 68-yard scoring bomb to Dwayne Bowe. However, Smith's second pass, an interception on a screen pass, makes Chiefs' fans remember Brock Huard, Brody Croyle, and Tyler Thigpen.
At times, Smith reminds many of Joe Montana, particularly when he dons his Skechers Shape-Ups for a jaunt through his upscale Kansas City neighborhood.
The Chiefs finish 7-9, second in the AFC West.
* San Francisco's Jim Harbaugh fuels the fire in the San Fran-Seattle rivalry when he refers to the rivals as the "Pee-hawks" when questioned by reporters about the Seahawks' performance-enhancing drug issues.
Pete Carroll fires back, quipping to reporters that "at least my players pee standing up." Harbaugh gets the last laugh as the 49ers sweep the Seahawks in the regular season. The animosity spills over during the post-game handshake when Detroit's Jim Schwartz comes out of nowhere and pats the two on the back.
* In the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers topple the Packers in Green Bay, as Colin Kaepernick becomes the first player in NFL history to record a passing, rushing, receiving touchdown, two-point conversion, and new tattoo in a single game.
* Whereas John Madden utilized the "Madden Cruiser" for travel to and from games, Al Michaels advocates the "Police Cruiser," which keeps him off the road.
Michaels stipulates that broadcast partner Cris Collinsworth is forbidden to say a number of phrases on air, including, but not limited to: 1) referring to coverage as "blown." 2) describing a game or stadium's atmosphere as "intoxicating." 3) characterizing a defense that doesn't allow 100-yard rushers as "100 proof." 4) referring to taking a big hit as getting "plastered."
* With Carson Palmer a Cardinal, Larry Fitzgerald welcomes another new quarterback to Arizona as only he knows how, with a phone call to Kurt Warner pleading for his return.
Warner politely declines, and advises Fitzgerald to say his prayers and keep reaching for the stars. Fitzgerald obliges, converts to atheism, and sees his Hall Of Fame hopes slip further away.
Fitzgerald catches 76 passes for 985 yards and 6 TDs, mediocre by his standards, but incredible considering the circumstances.
The Cards finish 5-11, dead-last in the tough NFC West.
* In an interview with Leslie Visser on CBS prior to the Vikings September 29th game versus Pittsburgh, Adrian Peterson elaborates on his spring statement that he's "not with" gay marriage, and is later voted "NFC Offensive Player of the Year" by the PFLAG.
Peterson is delivered his comeuppance in the game, in which the Steelers defense shuts him down in Mall of America Stadium. Peterson is held to zero yards on 11 carries, leaving him confused after his first "home-0" experience.
Peterson straightens up, and leads the NFL in rushing yardage with 1,763 yards despite missing two games, one with a sprained left pinky, the other with an ingrown toenail.
* At Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium, the Broncos, led by Peyton Manning's 3 touchdown passes, edge the 49ers 30-27 in the NFL's first cold-weather Super Bowl.
At halftime, Maria Carey performs in a form-fitting gown, and the chilly 27 degree weather leads to the halftime show's first fully-clothed wardrobe malfunction.