After an offseason on the celebrity circuit, Owens greets August with few teams vying for his services. With last year’s successful The T.O. Show under his belt, Owens looks to expand his range and exposure. The receiver wholeheartedly devotes his time studying for the lead role in Tyler Perry’s new project, Madea Whore .
Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, the overall No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, opens the season as the St. Louis Rams starting quarterback against Arizona in Week One. Bradford does this despite a miserable preseason behind the Rams woeful offensive line, in which he throws nine interceptions and is sacked 12 times in four games.
Reeling from Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension, the Steelers begin the year 2-4 with Byron Leftwich under center. In Week Eight at New Orleans, a rusty Roethlisberger throws an interception in the end zone, killing a potential game-winning drive.
The Saints win 26-21. Roethlisberger, facing taunts from a raucous Superdome crowd, is escorted to the locker room by police, where he locks himself in the bathroom, albeit alone.
Two weeks later, at home against the Patriots, Roethlisberger throws for 401 yards and five touchdowns, out-dueling Tom Brady in a 37-35 Steelers win.
Pittsburgh goes 9-7. They miss the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
Minnesota’s Jared Allen leads the NFL with 15 sacks, and teammate Ray Edwards records 11 ½, making the Vikings end duo the most dangerous, statistically, in the league.
Allen’s first sack comes in the first quarter of the NFL’s Thursday night opener in the Superdome, when he takes down the Saints' Drew Brees. After the sack, Allen debuts his new sack celebration, in which he draws a cigarette lighter from his sock, holding it high in the air, as one would do at a rock concert.
Allen is flagged for using a prop in a celebration, and his action lands on Roger Goodell's desk. The gag soon finds its way into comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck…” bit.
After finding success as a reality T.V. personality on Dancing With The Stars , Cincinnati’s Chad Ochocinco pitches a new show to VH1 producers.
The show, featuring Ochocinco and new Bengals teammate Pacman Jones' exploits, entitled "Cinco And The Man," is accepted. Episode one debuts on August 1 to a huge audience.
In the initial episode, in which Ochocinco accompanies Jones to a Cincinnati strip club, Jones sits quietly at the bar while Ochocinco displays some pole dancing maneuvers that would make a sailor blush.
Jones contributes immediately to the Bengals cause, returning two punts for touchdowns in Cincinnati’s first three games, including an 85-yard scoring jaunt against the Ravens in week 2. Pacman Fever grips the city, which, ironically, coincides with a city-wide crime wave.
Running back LenDale White, lured to the Seahawks by college coach Pete Carroll and the promise of a cheeseburger-flavored mouthpiece, enjoys a fruitful year in Seattle.
White rushes for 936 yards and 12 scores, and creates a sensation with his touchdown celebration, a variation of the title character's famous “Tequila!” dance in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.
White credits the return to form with the addition of tequila to his diet. The regimen returns him to his hefty 2008 playing weight of 260 pounds, and earned White the nickname “Chunk Wagon.”
After Darnell Dockett’s live online shower scene creates a stir in May, Arizona teammate Matt Leinart raises the bar when he broadcasts, live on Youtube, his own shower. He is joined in the video by 14 gorgeous babes.
Leinart casually gives running commentary, and explains that the last time this happened, he decided to commit to USC.
Soon after, Leinart is summoned to the office of Commissioner Roger Goodell, who admonishes the Arizona quarterback. Goodell advises the quarterback that such continued behavior could have disastrous consequences. Leinart is suspended for four games, leaving the pass distribution to Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, and Early Doucet in the hands of Derek Anderson.
Leinart is unapologetic, and claims this is the first step in his goal to live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking receiving corps.
The Cardinals finish 7-9, third in the NFC West.
Prior to the Jets Thanksgiving night match-up with the visiting Bengals, New York cornerback Darrelle Revis baits Chad Ochocinco, calling the Cincy star the holiday-appropriate nickname “Talk Turkey.” Revis promises that if he doesn’t hold Ochocinco without a reception, he’ll drop the final “e” from his first name.
Ochocinco snares a meaningless four-yard reception late in the fourth quarter in a 27-10 Jets win, and Revis follows through on his bet, officially changing his name to “Darrell.”
In the Redskins season opener against the Cowboys at Fed Ex Field, Donovan McNabb’s first pass as a Redskin finds a streaking Santana Moss down the left sideline. Moss slips one tackle, and dashes untouched for a 75-yard touchdown. As the play unfolds, an excited McNabb races the length of the field to celebrate, but collapses in a heap at the five-yard line, where he vomits.
After a lengthy consultation, officials toss a yellow flag, nullifying the score, and announce a penalty on McNabb, who becomes the first offensive player flagged for violating the five-yard chuck rule.
Houston linebacker Brian Cushing, suspended for the season’s first four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, faces severe backlash when the Texans visit Indianapolis on November 1st on Monday Night Football . Colts fans ridicule last year’s Rookie Of The Year with signs hailing Cushing as the NFL’s “R-O-Y-(D).”
One creative third-grader, the winner of a local contest for best sign, proudly displays an image of Cushing adorned with glitter and sparkly jewels with the caption, “Performance Enhanced? No, Performance Bedazzled!”
Cushing survives a tough year, fighting through a slow start to finish strong, in part due to a powerful spiritual connection with fellow Texan, Roger Clemens.
Tennessee running back Chris Johnson’s holdout spans into August. And, with a showdown against Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt out of the question, the young Titans star, starved for attention, issues a challenge to Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans. The two see who can run away from a contract the fastest.
Baltimore running back Ray Rice leads the AFC in rushing with 1,325 yards, and leads all running backs with 70 receptions, further solidifying his status as the team’s offensive leader. The symbolic passing of the torch occurs in the AFC Championship Game.
Rice, in the midst of a dominating performance against the Colts, berates the tired Ravens defense, as Ray Lewis listens, just before Peyton Manning directs the game-winning drive, giving the Colts a 41-38 win.
With Rice the team’s new leader, Lewis becomes the second man in charge, but takes the demotion like a true veteran. John Harbaugh doesn’t react well as he becomes third in charge.
Detroit rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh takes the league by storm, as his unique combination of size and quickness baffles opposing offensive linemen.
In an August 28th preseason game against the Browns, Suh sacks Clevelend reserve quarterback Colt McCoy 4 ½ times, including one spectacular sack in which Suh tosses McCoy clear over his head, with McCoy landing on his back. Teammates and opponents alike are amazed, and wide receiver Calvin Johnson dubs the move the “Suh-Plex.”
The Lions, last in the league in total defense last year, improve to 21st. Suh easily wins the NFC Defensive Rookie Of The Year award.
Super Bowl XLV
The Colts beat the Cowboys 27-24 in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium. A determined Peyton Manning throws for 285 yards and three touchdowns, erasing the memory of 2009’s title loss to the Saints. After the game, a humbled Manning thanks his coaches, teammates, and family, and credits off-season neck surgery for alleviating a chronic “choking” problem.
Former Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell finds a home in Atlanta, a spacious, four-bedroom, ranch-style mansion in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood. With his future as a viable NFL player in question, Russell is forced to downsize, and trims his boot-licking posse from 16 to three.
In early July, Brett Favre hobbles to the podium at the Vikings Eden Prairie training facility, flanked by his wife, children, and grandchild, as well as executives from Hasbro, for two blockbuster announcements. There, he announces his intention to return for his 20th season, and heralds the introduction of Hasbro’s “Operation: Favre” game, in which players use tweezers to doctor Favre’s damaged body parts while simultaneously trying to read his mind.
When he takes the field on September 9 in New Orleans, Favre becomes the first grandfather to play in an NFL game. The gravity of the accomplishment is not lost on anyone, and even former NFL running back Travis Henry finds inspiration, saying “he’d love to become a grandfather.” Henry, already father to 11 children, obviously misinterprets the requirements of grandfather-hood when he tells a friend “I guess I’ll have to start seeing older women.”
Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson leads the NFL in rushing yards, with 1,485 yards, but is again plagued by fumbling issues. Peterson’s seven lost fumbles likely cost him the league’s MVP trophy, as he is narrowly beaten for the award by Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.
However, Peterson’s troubles lead to a major endorsement deal to promote Lay’s new entry into the pork rind market. In an offshoot of Lay’s “Bet you can’t eat just one” campaign, Peterson boasts, after emptying a bag, that “I bet you can’t keep your hands on the pig skin.”
The 49ers defeat the Broncos 23-20 in London’s Wembley Stadium on October 31st, powered by receiving touchdowns from Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis.
While in England, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow takes in a cricket match at Lord’s Cricket Ground. While there, Tebow is asked to launch the ceremonial first “bowl.” Upon doing so, Tebow experiences an unsettling case of déjà vu when his delivery is soundly critiqued, forcing a total revamp of his bowling motion.
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