Secrets of the 2014 NFL Season
June 6, 2014 by Jeffrey Boswell • Print Story •
* Aldon Smith inadvertently causes chaos at Los Angeles International Airport, when, while waiting to board a plane, answers a call from Jim Harbaugh's father with the words, "Hi, Jack." Smith is detained, then later jettisoned by the 49ers, only to be picked up off waivers by the Seahawks in a move known as "Baggage Claim."
Smith records 3 sacks in four games for the Seahawks, but is busted for public intoxication in October atop the Space Needle, and is cut. Marshawn Lynch breaks the news on social media, saying Smith is in "Released Mode."
* In his return to Philadelphia as a Redskin, DeSean Jackson torches his former team with an amazing stat line in Washington's 28-20 win. Jackson scores on a long touchdown pass from Robert Griffin, returns a punt 87 yards for a TD, scores on a two-point conversion, passes for 45 yards, and records a tackle. After the game, Eagles coach Chip Kelly labels Jackson a "one man gang."
Jackson's time in Washington sours in the rematch in Philadelphia, where he suffers through a first half with no catches, then demands a renegotiated contract at halftime.
* Colts' owener Jim Irsay completes his rehabilitation program in June, and celebrates with a lavish party catered by super-chef Guy Fieri, with entertainment provided by the Jack Black/Kyle Gass-fronted band "The Controlled Substances."
Roger Goodell, intent on upholding his image as the face on the NFL, makes an appearance, along with his hologram, which the Twitter-sphere cleverly dubs the "Double Standard."
However, Irsay hits rock bottom early in the morning on New Year's Day, when he shows up at Andrew Luck's door, desperate for a bathroom and an electric razor, mumbling some gibberish about Jesus telling him to "lose his 'stache."
The Colts struggle out of the gate, losing three of their first four, and finish the season with a 9-7 record, good enough to win the AFC South over the 8-8 Jaguars.
* Chaos reigns at the ESPN ESPY Awards Show in Los Angeles on July 16th when a wrong turn leaves celebrity e-lister Tara Reid in the same bathroom with Ben Roethlisberger and Colin Kaepernick.
While Roethlisberger and Kaepernick argue over who will guard the door, Reid sneaks escapes through a small window to freedom. Later, after an emotional pitch to SyFy Channel, production begins on a movie chronicling Reid's ordeal. The movie, titled "Two-Headed Mega-Douchebag vs. Ultra Skeezer," premieres nine days later to record ratings.
Kaepernick goes on to a Pro Bowl year, while Roethlisberger and the Steelers struggled to a 7-9 finish in the NFC North.
* The Bills post a 10-6 record, second to the 12-4 Patriots in the AFC East, and earn a wild card playoff berth.
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins leads all rookie receivers with nine touchdown catches, and endears himself to the city of Buffalo with his charity, "Sammy's Jammy's," in which citizens can trade their handguns, no questions asked, for an authentic Watkin's jersey.
* Visitors to the New York Jets official website vote on a nickname for the team's running back tandem of Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory. "Chris X2" leads the voting early until Ivory is hit with a marijuana possession charge in late August, and "Hash and Dash" becomes the runaway winner.
* The Raiders end the year as the most-improved team in the AFC West, going from being the only team not to make the playoffs in 2013 to one of three teams not to make the playoffs in 2014.
The Raiders finish 5-11 as the 12-4 Broncos win the division.
* Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling joins Raiders owner Mark Davis and illusionist Criss Angel for Oakland's October 12th game against the Chargers. Sterling abruptly walks out before the kickoff, castigating Davis for bringing "magic" to the game.
* On October 31st, Johnny Manziel dons a Jets cap and sweater vest and attends several Halloween parties in and around Cleveland as "Johnny Foot Fetish."
Manziel gets his first start on November 2nd after starter Brian Hoyer is sidelined with a nagging hamstring injury. Manziel dazzles in his debut against the Bucs in Tampa, running for a score and leading the Browns on a game-winning, 75-yard drive. After the game, Manziel hooks up with Lil' Wayne, LeBron James, and Justin Bieber and their respective entourages for a late-night cruise on a stolen yacht captained by Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis.
The Coast Guard breaks up the party, but Manziel gets away with a stern reprimand and a talking to from Browns great Jim Brown.
The incident, however, pales in comparison to Manziel's worst decision of the year, when he assumes the passenger seat of Josh Gordon's car for a ride to alleviate Gordon's chronic case of the munchies.
* Disaster strikes on December 6th in Miami, when Ray Rice and his wife Janay Palmer find themselves on the same elevator as Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Solange Knowles.
As Beyonce and Palmer look on, Solange inexplicably attacks Rice, while Jay-Z comes up with the title for his new album, "Elevator Music."
In the following day's game against the Dolphins, Rice rushes for 22 yards on 17 carries before walking off the field at he two-minute warning. Rice is fined $25,000 by the Ravens. However, Rice is soon tabbed in Bud Light's new ad campaign, which spoofs Dos Equis commercials. In it, Rice plays the "Most Disinterested Man in the World," whose catchphrase is "I like my beer just as I like my violence — domestic."
* At the WWE SummerSlam on August 17, Richard Sherman makes an appearance as special guest surprise manager of C.M. Punk, who challenges Jack Swagger, seconded by Jimmy "The Mouth of the South" Hart, for the Intercontinental Title. After an inadvertent chair shot incapacitates the referee, Sherman cleans house, bashing Swagger and the megaphone-wielding Hart with an even bigger, oversized megaphone.
Punk pins Swagger for the title, then turns on Sherman, rendering him unconscious with the "GTS," then introduces Michael Crabtree as his new partner in the new tag team, "The Punks."
Sherman gets the last laugh, as the 49ers win the NFC West but lose to the Seahawks in the divisional round. Seattle's season ends in New Orleans with a 24-22 loss to the Saints in the NFC Championship Game.
* The NFL produces an animated public service video addressing the perils of locker room bullying called "Haze-y With a Chance of Meatheads." The program world-premiers at Miami's Au-Rene Theater, where Dolphins offensive linemen man the red carpet and taunt patrons.
* LeSean McCoy, the self-proclaimed best running back in football, blazes to a fast start, rushing for 1,035 yards in the Eagles first eight games. But, in a lackluster second half to the season, McCoy struggles, and is overtaken by Minnesota's Adrian Peterson. Peterson leads the NFL with 1,435 yards to McCoy's 1,426.
* After a brief stint with the Dolphins, Ed Reed retires and joins the studio for NBC's "Sunday Night Football." Reed partners with Hines Ward for a segment in which Ward diagrams plays while Reed has an imaginary conversation with Ray Lewis. The segment, called "X's, O's, and the U" becomes an instant sensation, and an animated version later finds a home anchoring Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" program.
* Philadelphia wide receiver Riley Cooper creates a firestorm of controversy when he announces on Twitter that he's signed an endorsement deal with Crest Whitening Toothpaste.
After a hasty apology, Cooper pulls out of the deal, but later agrees to serve as spokesman for a local Philadelphia dry cleaning specialty store, "Whites Only."
Cooper leads the Eagles with 50 receptions for 935 yards and 7 touchdowns.
* Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, a Queens, New York native, is selected as ceremonial coin tosser for the Giants November 3rd Monday night home game against the Colts. With allegiances to both teams, Hibbert shows up in a No. 0 Colts jersey, then removes it, revealing a No. 0 Giants jersey underneath. "Monday Night Football's" John Gruden quips, "Double zero's? That sounds like a Hibbert playoff stat line."
Gruden later takes Hibbert under his wing, putting him through the paces as Gruden's Quarterback Camp," with an emphasis on footwork.
* Minnesota's Cordarrelle Patterson, combining the speed of a Randy Moss with the hands of a Cris Carter, leads the NFL in touchdown receptions with 14. The feat is made even more impressive by the fact that the 14 TD passes are thrown by seven different quarterbacks.
The Vikings finish the season 6-10, last in the NFC North, while the Lions win the division with a 10-6 record.
* In a rematch of last year's AFC Championship Game, the Broncos beat the Patriots 17-14 in a snowstorm in Foxboro. Denver goes on to defeat the Saints in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona.