The wild nature of the NFL wasn’t limited to the field in 2014. For better or worse, extracurricular events overshadowed a record-breaking season. Most were detrimental to the image of the NFL, but there were also some more lighthearted goings on in the league. Here are just a few:
10. The Surprisingly Anticlimactic Super Bowl
The matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos was, on paper, one of the most formidable in Super Bowl history given that the No. 1 defense faced the No. 1 offense, but Herm Edwards would tell you otherwise. The game proved to be anticlimactic from the first drive when Peyton Manning‘s center prematurely snapped the ball, resulting in a Seattle Seahawks safety. It was downhill from there as the ‘Hawks, led by quarterback Russell Wilson, defeated the Broncos 43-8. But hey, at least the commercials were pretty good.
9. Aaron says relax
The Green Bay Packers began the season in panic mode as the team claimed a paltry 1-2 record after three weeks. Their subpar performance resulted in one of the more lighthearted soundbites in the NFL. On a radio show, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reassured fans with five letters: “R-E-L-A-X.” And it worked. The Packers are currently in the hunt for the NFC North division crown which goes to show that all will be well if you just have with it.
8. Ben Roethlisberger Goes Off
The Steelers weren’t a sexy team in the offseason. Most of their time was marred by a rift between quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. But like most problems in sports, winning fixes everything. And Roethlisberger did just that by having two consecutive six-touchdown performances against the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts. Fantasy football owners were salivating but the Steelers’ staff was even happier after witnessing such record-breaking performances.
7. Johnny Football Falls From Grace
At the risk of sounding jaded and masochistic, it’s pretty fun to see a revered draft prospect get selected lower than anticipated. That was the case for Johnny Manziel who fell to the Cleveland Browns late in the first round after being touted as one of the best players in that draft class. The real excitement came when pick no. 16 was on the clock, which belonged to Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. Despite the incessant rumors about the Cowboys using that selection on a quarterback for the future, the franchise selected guard Zack Martin out of Notre Dame instead. Despite this, Jones still made various allusions to the newly-christened Brown so much that he was advised to no longer mention him.
6. The Jim Harbaugh Trade That Wasn’t
Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers are currently on the rocks if you believe the current rumors floating around in the NFL. But these rumors are not unsubstantiated; they aren’t even recent. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the 49ers were ready to trade their current head coach during the offseason to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for two third-round picks. Though the transaction never happened, word that a franchise was willing to trade away their most successful coach in recent memory is amusing if not outright perplexing.