*After an offseason on the celebrity circuit, Terrell 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, and wholeheartedly devotes his time studying for the lead role in Tyler Perry’s new project, Madea *****.
*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 1. Despite a miserable preseason behind the Rams woeful offensive line, in which he throws nine interceptions and is sacked 12 times in four games. Despite his troubles, Bradford, an official citizen of the Cherokee Nation, exudes confidence, and even asks to be addressed by his Indian name, “Thrown To Wolves.”
*Reeling from Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension, the Steelers begin the year 2-4 with Byron Leftwich behind center. In week 8 at New Orleans, a rusty Roethlisberger throws an interception in the end zone, killing a potential game-winning drive. The Saints win 26-21, and 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, outdueling Tom Brady in a 37-35 Steeler win.
Pittsburgh goes 9-7 and misses 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 and holds it high in the air, as one would at a rock concert.
Allen is flagged for using a prop in a celebration, and his action lands on the desk of Roger Goodell, and 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 pushes a new show to producers of VH1. The show, featuring the exploits of Ochocinco and new Bengals teammate Pacman Jones, entitled ’Cinco And The ‘Man, is accepted, and episode one debuts on August 1st 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 Pee Wee Herman’s famous “Tequila!” dance from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.
White credits the reclamation of his previous form to the return of tequila to his diet, a regimen which returned him to his hefty 2008 playing weight of 260 pounds and earned him 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, where he is joined 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 and advises him 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 matchup 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.”
*The Giants, desperate for positive publicity in the wake of Lawrence Taylor’s arrest, kick off a flurry of contests and giveaways aimed at improving the Giants sullied image. One promotion backfires when their offer of free tickets to any 16-year-old runaway causes a public outcry from community leaders.
The situation is exacerbated when 22-year-old wide receiver Hakeem Nicks enters into a relationship with 51-year-old former Runaway Joan Jett.
The G-Men ride a high-powered passing game, led by a blissful Nicks, to a 11-5 record and an NFC wild-card berth.
*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. There, 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 strongly, 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 with 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 to 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. It’s in the AFC championship in which the symbolic “passing of the torch” occurs, when 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, while head coach John Harbaugh doesn’t react as well to becoming “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, inprove to 21st, and Suh easily wins the NFC Defensive Rookie Of The Year award.
*The Super Bowl 45 halftime extravaganza in Dallas, featuring Lady GaGa and Adam Lambert, becomes the highest-rated Super Bowl halftime show of all-time, and the sexually-charged performances leave censors on high alert. As the two performers unite for the finale, the stage lights go out. When the lights return, viewers are greeted by a totally naked GaGa and a nude Lambert. Viewers are stunned, as the sight of two breasts easily surpasses the controversy of the Janet Jackson fiasco of 2006. But it’s the sight of two penises that really sends the moment into the stratosphere of shocking t.v. moments.
*The Colts beat the Cowboys 27-24 in Super Bowl 45 at Cowboys Stadium, as 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.
*ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden is secretly filmed naked in a hotel room in New York as he prepares for the Ravens-Jets September 13th MNF opener. The grainy, poorly-lit video is posted on the internet, and is viewed 74 times on Youtube alone. When the culprit is identified in October, Gruden refuses to press charges, and instead opts to sit the amateur auteur down in a dark film room, where he meticulously grills the young man on his video decision-making thought processes, and criticizes his nasally, effeminate voice.
*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 bootlicking 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 grandfatherhood when he tells a friend “I guess I’ll have to start seeing older women.”
*Mark Sanchez leads the Jets to an 11-5 record and the AFC East title. Sanchez throws for 3,233 yards and doubles 2009’s touchdown output from 12 to 24, while slicing his interceptions in half, from 20 to 10. However, it’s one bad decision that defines Sanchez’s season, a regrettable New Year’s Eve sexual rendezvous with Snookie from Jersey Shore.
The hookup ends badly for both parties. Sanchez misses the Jets final regular-season game against the Bills with an undisclosed illness, rumored to be an infection, and plays miserably in their 26-16 first-round loss to San Diego in the first-round of the playoffs. The New York Post headline the following day reads “Cold Sore Leads To Eye Sore.”
Tests later reveal Sanchez suffered a severe allergy to penicillin.
Snookie fades into oblivion, never to be heard from again, but gains her place in American folklore when it is rumored that she is buried under the south end zone of the New Meadowlands Stadium.
*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.”
*Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, in a September interview on The Howard Stern Show, publicly lambastes Miami general manager Jeff Ireland, who asked Cowboys rookie Dez Bryant, in a pre-draft interview, if his “mother is a prostitute?” Jones says such a question would be a personal affront to any young, soon-to-be-rich athlete, and the question Ireland should have asked is “Was your mother a prostitute?”
Jones continues to predict that Bryant’s character issues are a thing of the past, and he foresees Bryant playing a big role in what he sees as a Super Bowl-winning year for the Cowboys. Jones even guarantees that, should the Cowboys advance to the title game, Bryant’s mother will join him in his luxury suite. As the interview winds down, Stern’s producers go to commercial with Supertramp’s “Give A Little Bit.”
*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.
*Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe, who expounded in an interview with ESPN The Magazine about the act of “importing” women, follows up in an interview with Fox Sports' Jay Glazer. Bowe defends his actions, and claims most women would love the chance to be an “import-ante.”
Bowe’s antics off the field, and subpar on-the-field performance, lead to a public argument with head coach Todd Haley. Soon after, Bowe is “exported” to the Bears for a fifth-round pick.
The “importing” situation comes to a head prior to Arizona’s November 21st visit to Arrowhead Stadium, when several Cardinals are busted by federal agents, as “importing” is in direct violation of Arizona’s immigration laws.