2008 NFL Predictions
*Tony Romo connects with Jason Witten 83 times on the season. 84 if you count their Mexican vacation during a bye week. While there, they are joined by faux-R&B crooner Nick Lachey, and the three are photographed skinny-dipping in an inflatable pool.
*In a preseason game in Toronto, Pittsburgh defensive end Brett Keisel is penalized for a late hit on Buffalo's quarterback Trent Edwards. Later in the game, Keisel is engaged by former Toronto Maple Leafs goon Tie Domi, who beats Keisel to a pulp before linesmen intervene.
Keisel, known more for his finesse than his physicality, has trouble from the start, fumbling to get his gloves off, then becoming totally incapacitated when Domi pulls Keisel’s shoulder pads over his head.
*To add to his growing collection of rings obtained in 2008, which includes a Super Bowl ring and a wedding ring, Eli Manning adds a nipple ring, a souvenir of a drunken night out the town with teammate Jeremy Shockey. Afterwards, Shockey confides to Manning that he’d like to be traded, seemingly discontented with his status, much like that of former Cowboy Larry Brown and current Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, as a player who has won a Super Bowl ring for doing absolutely nothing.
*Matt Leinart, experiencing some down time due to a sore groin, invents a variation of the whirlpool machine, a product he calls the “Sub-ma-wiener.” The contraption, which is essentially a whirlpool machine that seats eight, also features a full bar and seven sets of underwater breathing gear. The gear, dubbed "SCUBA" by a chuckling Leinart, stands for "Self-Contained Underwater Blowing Apparatus," and comes standard on all "Sub-ma-wiener" whirlpools.
*St. Louis Rams first-round pick Chris Long quickly impresses in the first half of the season with six sacks, stunning many offensive linemen with his quickness and relentlessness. He reminds many of his father, Raiders great Howie Long.
It’s not until a Nov. 9 game at the Jets that an offensive lineman appears to find the secret to blocking Long. Jets offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson holds Long to no sacks and no tackles, and credits film study of Howie Long for his success.
Ferguson professes that after viewing tape of the elder Long, particularly as an analyst with the Fox Network, he notices that Long always turned to jelly in the presence of weather girl/eye candy Jillian Barberie. A craftily-placed picture of Barberie on Ferguson's visor incapacitates the rookie, and Long, just like his father, turns into a bumbling idiot anytime he sees Barberie.
*Recently retired Packers quarterback Brett Favre, after viewing the blockbuster action flick Iron Man, experiences a startling revelation—that Robert Downey, Jr. would probably make a better quarterback than Aaron Rogers.
*On Dec. 14, in blizzard conditions at Arrowhead Stadium, San Diego’s Antonio Cromartie returns a wobbly, snow-repelled punt by the Chiefs Dustin Colquitt one yard for a touchdown, thereby giving him not only the longest return touchdown in NFL history, but also the shortest.
*Upper Deck introduces its new “LaDainian Tomlinson Playoff Action Figure,” which features Tomlinson dejectedly sitting on the bench with his knee wrapped, cursing the name of the New England Patriots.
*The Browns go 11-5 to win the AFC North and secure the No. 3 seed. In an AFC Divisional game in Foxboro, Derek Anderson leads a fourth-quarter drive to set up a 49-yard field goal attempt by Phil Dawson for the win. Dawson's kick has the distance, but the ball hits a camera mounted on the goal post's support bar and bounces into the end zone. The Patriots win 23-21, adding to a growing list of playoff games won with the benefit of a camera.
*After moving from left defensive end to the right side, Carolina’s Julius Peppers abruptly withdraws his presidential support for Barack Obama and aligns himself with Republican John McCain. Peppers inexplicably is named a starter to the Pro Bowl in January, despite registering fewer sacks than Minnesota's Jared Allen, New York's Osi Umenyiora, and Seattle’s Patrick Kerney.
*In an effort to make fans forget about 2005’s embarrassing “Sex Boat” scandal, safeties Darren Sharper and Madieu Williams head the day-long “Vikings Care: Boat Safeties” workshop on Lake Minnetonka in August. The event is a huge success, attracting a turnout of 102,381, of which 102,379 are male, although most go home disappointed when it becomes apparent that the workshop actually is about boat safety, and not about how to manage strippers at sea level, with "sea" meaning "waist."
*All Indianapolis Colts radio and television on-air personnel are ordered to take sensitivity training to ensure that, when describing passes from Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison, the phrase “fired a bullet” is not to be used.
*Raiders coach Lane Kiffin, frustrated with the meddling ways of Al Davis, issues an ultimatum to Davis in August, demanding that Davis fire him or die. Kiffin is fired immediately.
*Atlanta Falcons rookie quarterback Matt Ryan enjoys a successful season, starting the Falcons' final six games, and throwing 11 touchdown passes. However, his business undertakings don’t fare as well, particularly his venture into the popcorn field, unfortunately called “Bad Newz Kernels.”
*In November, Denver Broncos running back Travis Henry fathers his tenth child, and reaches a monumental personal milestone. The tenth child's mother is also the mother of Henry's seventh child, the first instance of Henry fathering two children with the same mother.
“I thought that was only possible by having twins,” quips Henry.
In December, Henry fails a drug test and is criticized by Broncos coach Mike Shanahan. Shanahan accuses Henry of being selfish, and showing the same amount of disdain for the NFL's drug policy as he does for birth control, and garnished wages.
*Tom Brady, who in May, compared ESPN to MTV, hosts the 2009 ESPY Awards, and, during his initial monologue, is slimed, Nickelodeon-style, with buckets of green goo. Infuriated, Brady then uses his good looks, charm, and demonic, telekinetic powers to lock the doors of the Kodak Theater and set it ablaze, burning to death numerous athletes and entertainment icons, including John Travolta. Brady spares a few ESPN employees, including Sage Steele, Rachel Nichols, Melissa Starke, and Bonnie Bernstein.
Later, outside the scorched theater, Brady presents Patriots head coach Bill Belichick with a lifetime achievement award in the field of unethical practices, an award known as the “ESPY-onage.”
*Gatorade unveils its much anticipated new product, “Gatorade Water,” with a media blitz starring Peyton Manning, who cements his status as professional sport's greatest endorser by successfully pimping a product available to practically all consumers, with a clever slogan of "You're already 3/4 full of it. Why not be totally full of it? I am."
*At the Oct. 26 Chargers-Saints contest at London's Wembley Stadium, rowdy British fans witness sloppy play that results in nine turnovers, eleven counting the two suffered by husky-voiced singer Amy Winehouse, who fumbles the lyrics to the "Star Spangled Banner" prior to the game, then fumbles her crack pipe after the game. Later, Saints star Reggie Bush meets his family, enjoying a luxury suite at Buckingham Palace courtesy of some well-connected USC boosters.
*The Giants Michael Strahan returns for his 16th season when former Packer quarterback Brett Favre lays down before a one-year contract, which Strahan pounces on.
*New Dallas cornerback Pacman Jones quickly endears himself to the Cowboys faithful, returning a punt for a touchdown in Dallas' 28-24 win over Philadelphia in their home opener on September 15th. Jones enjoys a career season, at least up until Week 15, when he is arrested for “ignorant exposure” and stealing a key chain at the “Texas Gun and Stripper Show” at the Texas State Fairgrounds.
*The New England Patriots win Super Bowl XLIII, beating the Dallas Cowboys 31-23.
*Under Armour, seeking to smother consumers with its ever-expanding apparel market, teams up with The Food Network to produce grilling aprons and caps bearing the Under Armour logo, and patented moisture-wicking capabilities. Under Armour also partners with furniture giant Rooms To Go, where the “Look Like An Athlete, Even Though You’re Not” room design quickly becomes a top seller.
*Randy Moss’ new Craftsman truck racing team sports the longest team name in NASCAR racing history, the lengthily, yet aptly titled “’Fro’s, Cornrows, Ho’s, and Mo Fo’s On Pit Row,” and makes a splashy debut at Martinsville on October 18. There, Moss’ truck, driven by Willie T. Ribbs, Jr., finishes on the lead lap in 19th place. Unfortunately, the No. 81 car is disqualified when a post-race inspection reveals that Moss’ truck exceeds the weight limit, most likely the result of three audio speakers with 16” woofers stashed in the truck’s bed.
*The Carolina Panther Cheerleaders 2008 season calendar goes on sale in June and sells briskly. The calendar, titled “The Top Cats Brand Spanking New 2008 Season Calendar” features the Top Cats in provocative poses in various bathroom stalls throughout the Charlotte area. October’s photo is particularly sensual, depicting two gorgeous cheerleaders in their Halloween costumes, each wearing the face of the other.
In a related note, Panther quarterback Jake Delhomme, a huge fan of the Top Cats, makes a strong return from last year's injury, with his elbow at full-strength, and then some. Delhomme throws for 4,100 yards and 36 touchdowns, 14 to Steve Smith, and the Panthers win the NFC South with a 10-6 record.
*Chad Johnson, after scoring on a 80-yard bomb from Carson Palmer on the first play from scrimmage in the Bengals preseason opener against Green Bay, celebrates with a new and well-practiced routine he calls the “Hissy Fit.” Johnson then demands a trade, a plane to Casablanca, $1.5 million in unmarked bills of low denomination, and a tender shoulder to cry on.
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