The Most Outrageous Storylines of the 2012 NFL Offseason

Ryan Alfieri@Ryan_AlfieriCorrespondent IIIMay 7, 2012

The Most Outrageous Storylines of the 2012 NFL Offseason

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    Even though the offseason officially started just two short months ago, we have seen massive shifts of power in the landscape of the NFL. Coaches are fired, players are moved, and now, every team thinks they had a great two months. 

    While this is the norm of every NFL offseason, 2012 has been quite memorable. From Peyton Manning's decision to the Jets' trade for Tim Tebow, the offseason has grabbed more headlines than other sports that are currently in season. 

    Here are the highlights of the most outrageous storylines 2012 offseason.

8. The Ryan Tannehill Debate

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    At the start of draft season, Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill was penciled in as a early second-round pick. But as soon as coaches got their hands on the tape, Ryan's stock soared. 

    With only one full year of starting experience, the former wide receiver showed a ton of potential as a passer. But spending a high pick on a raw prospect is rarely a popular move, but when it comes to quarterbacks, beggars cannot be choosers. 

    Tannehill was rumored to be in contention for the third overall selection if the Vikings were able to find the right trade partner.

    In the end, Tannehill went to the Dolphins eighth overall. His success will determine the fate of the current regime in Miami. 

7.The Fall on Vontaze Burfict

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    The former Arizona State product was once considered to be a possible first-round selection. But as his miserable combine results came in and evaluators took a closer look at the tape, Vontaze's stock plummeted. 

    To put the icing on the cake, Burfict failed a marijuana test at the combine. 

    Mike Mayock labeled Burfict as "undraftable." Per usual, Mayock was right, as Burfict went undrafted and ultimately signed with the Bengals. 

    Never have I seen a prospect go from being a possible top-15 selection to being a low-priority free agent in just a few short months. 

6. John Harbaugh Disses Patriots

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    When asked of his opinion on the Saints' bounty scandal, Harbaugh made comparisons to the Patriots' "Spygate" scandal in an interview with a Baltimore radio station:

    Even the thing in New England, no matter whether those things had any impact on whether they won their championships or not, they got asterisks now, it’s been stained.

    Now, to be honest, Harbaugh is not completely out of line in making such comments. There is evidence that the Patriots had a significant advantage in the 2001 Super Bowl. The idea that the Patriots' dynasty of the early 2000's was not authentic is hardly a new concept. 

    Still, I doubt Harbaugh had the intention of drawing so much attention to himself. He's probably not the biggest Pats fan after losing to them in the AFC championship, but this is more a slip of the tongue than Harbaugh trying to bring down the Patriots' legacy.

    Still, Harbaugh was speaking his mind. Clearly, he thinks the Patriots are undeserving of their rings, and he's definitely not alone in his stance. 

5. Tim Tebow's "Decision" to Join the Jets

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    The fact that the Jets traded for Tebow is outrageous enough, but how it went down is worth its own storyline. 

    To summarize, after a botched trade with the Jets, the Broncos had a two-team market for Tim Tebow, the Jets and the Jaguars. The Broncos claim that they gave Tebow the decision as to where he was traded, while Tebow claims that he had little impact as to where he was traded:

    Ultimately, you know, they had my contract, they had all the power. But he listened to me and what I had to say. It was very gracious of them because they didn't have to do that. They could have just done whatever. But he listened to me and talked to me.

    I tend to believe Tebow's word over the Broncos and not just because Tebow seems incapable of lying. It would make sense for the Broncos to at least listen to where Tim would want to go, as it would keep Tebow happy and remove spite from his heart. If anything else, Tebow's preference would be a tiebreaker.

    But make no mistake about it, the Broncos had all of the power in this decision. 

4. Peyton Manning Saga

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    It's not quite Peyton's style to host a one-hour special on ESPN to announce his decision, but the process of finding himself a new team was anything but short and swift. 

    After narrowing down his choices to three finalists, the Titans, Broncos and 49ers, Peyton finally decided to play for his former childhood hero—John Elway. 

    Peyton handled the situation with class, but it sure made for a ton of outrageous speculation and debate on talk radio waves throughout the country. 

3. Mickey Loomis Accused of Eavesdropping

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    In an ESPN report, Saints GM Mickey Loomis has allegedly been able to listen to the opposing bench on game days. 

    Not only would this be a blatant violation of NFL rules, it is also illegal. The NFL will wait until the legal process plays out before it begins any disciplinary action, which could be quite some time. The Saints have denied the allegations. 

    As time goes on, the less weight the allegations seem to have, but it is an ongoing investigation that will certainly be interesting to watch. 

2. Death of Junior Seau

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    In an incredibly saddening story, NFL great Junior Seau committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest. 

    However, the circumstances surrounding his death is what makes this story important to the future of the NFL.

    The fact that Seau shot himself in the chest may indicate that he wanted his brain to be intact. It is unclear as to why exactly Seau killed himself, but it is fair to speculate how much of a factor concussions were in Seau's state of mind.

    It is also possible that he felt an gaping void after walking away from the game, which is a common issue among athletes. Given how long Seau played and how he was willing to come back to help the Patriots in 2007, it makes plenty of sense. 

    In any case, the football world lost one of its greatest players and representatives of the game. It was hard not to like Seau, even if you were a Raiders fan. 

1. Bountygate

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    Unless you have found new residence on the underside of a rock or other large mineral, you have heard the about the Saints' bounty program, which was run and financed largely by Gregg Williams. 

    So far, the punishments against those involved have been severe. Four players have been suspended, including a year-long ban for Jonathan Vilma. Sean Payton has been banned for a year as well, and Gregg Williams, who has been banned indefinitely, may never coach in the NFL again. 

    Whether or not this incident is isolated to one team remains to be seen, but it is, by far, the most outrageous storyline of 2012. 

    This incident has created a whole new headache for the NFL in terms of their concussion lawsuits. A new wave of lawsuits could be coming after a possible link between the scandal with long-term head injuries.