Saturday, August 10, 2013

Secrets of the 2013 NFL Season (Pt. 2)

By Jeffrey Boswell

Also see: Secrets of the 2013 NFL Season (Pt. 1)

* Arizona rookie Tyrann Mathieu, after originally trying to distance himself from "The Honey Badger" nickname, decides to embrace it, and finances the printing of 10,000 placards given to fans at the Cardinals home opener versus Detroit on September 15th.

Regrettably, a printing error that remarkably goes unnoticed results in home fans waving signs that read "THC" instead of "THB."

Mathieu laughs off the error, and returns an interception 81 yards for a score in the Cardinals 27-24 win. Later in the week, Mathieu celebrates his selection as NFC Defensive Rookie of the Week, and then laments his selection for a random drug test.

* Russian president Vladimir Putin meets Robert Kraft in Foxboro in late August as a guest of the Patriots' owner. At a press conference to finally quell the controversy surrounding the Super Bowl ring "gift," Putin promises to return Kraft's Super Bowl ring in 3-4 days, then swallows it.

* Kansas City's Jamaal Charles leads the league in yards from scrimmage, amassing 2,489 in the Chiefs 7-9 campaign. Charles' crowning achievement comes on September 19th in Philadelphia, when he records 269 totals yards and 3 touchdowns to lead the Chiefs to a 27-21 win over the Eagles.

* Adrian Peterson, who boldly predicted that he'll catch Emmitt Smith in 2017 to become the NFL's all-time leading rusher, in fact catches Michael Irvin instead, when Peterson's speedboat overtakes Irvin's chartered yacht on Lake Minnetonka on October 6th.

Peterson requests permission to board Irvin's vessel, but is shot down, thus becoming the first football player "denied entry" on a Lake Minnetonka sex cruise.

Peterson rushes for 1,893 yards on the year as the Vikes finish 8-8 in a three-way tie for second in the NFC North behind the 10-6 Packers.

* In late September, Arian Foster pulls a left hamstring in a charity game of Twister for radio station Sunny 99.1 FM. During a subsequent visit to the hospital, doctors make a shocking discovery when they realize that Foster's leg has two hamstrings.

Upon learning of the diagnosis, Texans head coach Gray Kubiak says, "You're pulling my leg."

Foster misses six games on the year, but the Texans finish 10-6, tied with the Colts atop the AFC South, and tumble in the wild card round to the Steelers.

* The Packers retire Brett Favre's No. 4 jersey during halftime of Green Bay's November 24th contest versus Minnesota at Lambeau Field. During the ceremony, Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy announces that a street will be named in Favre's honor. The road, called "Brett Favre Drive," is a one-way street that leads directly out of Green Bay.

After the ceremony, Favre inadvertently walks to the Vikings side of the field, then misses his flight to Mississippi and instead ends up at LaGuardia International Airport.

* Seattle's Percy Harvin, after a break from an intense rehabilitation workout in late September, re-injures his hip while skipping to the bank to cash a check in downtown Eden Prairie.

* Already a cult hero in Pittsburgh, Brett Keisel's popularity skyrockets worldwide when his new t-shirt, featuring the slogan "Get a Face Full of Hair," goes on sale on his web site. Sales reach 1,000,000 in one week, and are particularly brisk among 18-35 year-old males, and fans of the Indigo Girls.

* While in London for the 49ers October 27th matchup against the Jaguars, Colin Kaepernick adds to his notable tattoos with new ink that reads "I Love Queens!" It's a popular tattoo with the British, and becomes even more popular upon Kaepernick's return to San Francisco after a 31-9 49ers win.

The 49ers capture the NFC West with an 11-5 record, and advance to the NFC title game, where they fall 28-24 to the Falcons in Atlanta.

* Buffalo rookie EJ Manuel wins the starting job over Kevin Kolb, wowing coaches and teammates with elusiveness and arm strength that reminds many of a cross between Jim Kelly, Doug Flutie, and O.J. Simpson hurdling through an airport.

After a tough period in mid-October, Manuel briefly loses the starting spot to Kolb, but regains it one play later.

* Rob Gronkowski reinjures his left forearm high-fiving Johnny Manziel after the two successfully double-beer bong a 12-pack at a Los Angeles party hosted by Wilmer Valderama in early October.

The pair later hooks up with Amanda Bynes and Lindsey Lohan, resulting in further injury when Lohan backs over Gronkowski's right foot in a stolen Bentley.

Gronkowski is confined to a leg cast for eight weeks, during which his weight balloons from a healthy 265 to 325. Upon seeing the overweight Gronkowski on the sidelines during New England's November 18th Monday night game at Carolina, ESPN's John Gruden dubs Gronk's rear end the "Badonka-Gronk."

* St. Louis defensive ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn combine to record 29.5 sacks, tops among defensive end duos in the league. The Rams end the season as the NFL's sixth-ranked defense in the league, as St. Louis finishes 9-7.

* Rex Ryan names Geno Smith the starter two weeks before the Jets season opener against Tampa Bay. Ryan neglects to inform Mark Sanchez, who learns of the news from a New York Post headline reading "No Gen'-ius."

Despite the demotion, Sanchez is supportive of Smith, and has nothing but good things to say about the rookie, quipping than "in addition to girls, I like guys four years my junior, as well."

* In an online poll on the Jacksonville Jaguars web site, participants are asked to choose a starter at quarterback. Two weeks later, after the poll results in no responses, a new poll is launches, offering participants a list of QBs from which to choose.

Eventually, Blaine Gabbert collects the most votes amongst current Jaguar quarterbacks, while write-in candidate Mark Brunell easily wins the poll.

On the season, the Jaguars start a total of seven quarterbacks, including two McCowns, and finish 5-11, last in the AFC South.

* For their December 8th meeting with the Seahawks in Candlestick, the 49ers promotions department offers fans a "Stimulant Package," which includes a free sample of Adderall, a pamphlet warning of the dangers of illicit stimulants, an "Adderall Stars" poster, a signed photo of the Seahawks No. 1 octogenarian fan, Poppa Pill, and a Richard Sherman sock puppet.

San Fran whips the angered Seahawks 19-6, and Pete Carroll confronts Jim Harbaugh at midfield after the game, asking "What's your deal?" Harbaugh replies that he'll postpone his answer for four weeks, more familiarly known as a "four-game suspension."

* Roger Goodell attends a Legends Football League game September 1st and is immediately struck by the physicality of play, as well as the scarcity of clothing. Looking for a cross-promotion opportunity, Goodell names Week 4 "They Say 'Legends,' We Say 'Lingerie'" weekend, and instructs officials to toss yellow lace panties to indicate penalties.

The promotion is a bust to everyone but Ben Roethlisberger, who leaves the field in Minnesota after the Steelers 24-23 loss with a handful of souvenir "flags."

* New father and new husband Jay Cutler accepts an offer from Chicago native Oprah Winfrey to appear in a new reality show on OWN network called "And Baby Makes Two Babies."

The show follows the life of Cutler, wife Kristin Cavallari, and their son Camden Jack. "ABM2B" becomes a sensation when Camden Jack blows out his knee in a game of Duck Duck Goose yet remains in the game until the end.

In the series' touching finale, Cutler and Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose discuss toughness while pedaling on stationary bikes.

* Philadelphia's Riley Cooper challenges LeSean McCoy to a 40-yard race in training camp, with the stipulation that the loser must attend a concert of the winner's choosing. Cooper edges McCoy by half-a-yard, then immediately plays the race card, forcing McCoy to attend a Merle Haggard concert Altoona, Pennsylvania.

* Vince Young makes the most of his signing with the Packers, earning the backup job to Aaron Rodgers after an impressive preseason. Revitalized and renewed, Young rebrands himself "Vince 2.0," which he insists has nothing to do with his recent retaking of the Wonderlic test.

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