Year after year, surprises run rampant throughout the world of sports. Many of those events leave us sitting on our couch in bewilderment.
“Oh my god. How did that happen?”
These events consisted of all sorts of things, including surprise teams, star rookies, senior citizens, and plenty of disappointments.
So without further ado, here are the "How did that happen?" moments of 2008, with somewhat of a comical twist.
Little kids making a big splash
Wait, hold on. That doesn’t sound right.
The Falcons and Ravens had a huge amount of success this season, and much of the credit has to be given to these two rookie quarterbacks.
Ryan, the Rookie of the Year, finished his rookie season as the 11th rated passer in the league, with an 87.7 passer rating, 3,440 passing yards and 16 touchdowns. He led the Falcons to an 11-5 record and a wild card playoff berth, where the Falcons lost to the Arizona Cardinals.
Flacco’s numbers are a little less impressive, but he has arguably had a better season than Ryan. Flacco finished as the 22nd ranked passer, with an 80.3 passer rating, 2,971 yards, and 14 touchdowns. He led the Ravens to an 11-5 record and a wild card berth, but, unlike Ryan, led Baltimore to two playoff wins, and a berth in the AFC championship.
If you asked any NFL expert at the beginning of the season about the successes of these two players, none would have predicted they would lead their teams into the playoffs. That’s why they are two of the biggest surprises in the NFL.
Resurgence of the old men
At the beginning of this season, Commissioner Roger Goodell started a senior citizen outreach program, allowing persons over the age of 60 to try out for their favorite NFL teams.
Who would have guessed any of these players would even survive the tryouts?
No one could have predicted it, but two of them quarterbacked their teams into the playoffs.
One of them was the second best passer in the league, and the other led his team to a 13-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Kurt Warner, of the Arizona Cardinals, finished the regular season with 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns, second in the league only to Drew Brees. Tennessee’s Kerry Collins had much less impressive numbers, with only 2,676 yards and 12 touchdowns, but he led the Titans to the best record in the AFC and a first round bye.
So who had the better season? Well, that one’s obvious.
Kerry Collins led his team, whose season ended in a 13-10 upset to the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round. Kurt Warner carried his team, and put them on his back all the way to the Super Bowl.
Plaxico Burress pops a cap in his leg
This one still baffles me. Are you serious, Plax?
First off, how about not bringing a loaded gun into a night club? Second, if you are going to carry a gun, maybe you should consider registering it and buying a permit to carry it. And third, put the safety on the gun. Shooting yourself in the leg is not a strong career move.
Over the past few seasons, we have seen some stupid players do even stupider things. But the Plax fiasco surely tops them all.
Who let these guys into the playoffs?
If I told you at the beginning of the season that 2008 would welcome seven teams that didn’t make the playoffs in 2007, would you have believed me?
What if I told you those seven teams combined to finish 41-71? I bet you would have said no.
Well, the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, and Baltimore Ravens all made the playoffs this season, and none of those teams finished over .500 last season.
Apparently, consistent playoff berths are a thing of the past.
The Arizona Cardinals
On Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals wrote yet another chapter in their magical fairytale, upsetting the Philadelphia Eagles 32-25 to win the NFC Championship.
This is the same team that staggered to a 9-7 finish, closing out their season 2-4.
This is the same team that, while finishing fourth in passing yards, finished dead last in rushing yards.
This is the same team that finished 19th in total defense, giving up 48 points in a regular season loss to the Eagles.
And this is the team that will represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLIII
This is by far the biggest “How did that happen?” of the 2008 NFL season.
Keep your eyes open for the next “Joshin’ Around.”