x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Anything can and did happen

Year Review 2008 was a year in NFL where the form book was thrown out of the window.

We take certain NFL truths as granted. A 10-6 team does not beat a 16-0 team in the Super Bowl. Rookie quarterbacks are not supposed to lead teams to the play-offs. When a player retires, he's done if he cries at the press conference. The NFL in 2008 flew in the face of all of the above. If you go back to January, the story was the New England Patriots on the cusp of finishing the season 19-0 with a Super Bowl win. Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady was about to snag his fourth Super Bowl ring, but then the script got flipped. The New York Giants made it to the Super Bowl against the Pats. This team was not supposed to be there. This was a team that started the season with two losses. But here they were, with a chance to derail the mighty Patriots. The Giants did just that. It took an unreal pin-the-ball-to-my-helmet catch by wide receiver David Tyree on the final drive to get the 17-14 win.

Things got stranger from there. During the offseason legendary quarterback Brett Favre retired, un-retired and left the Green Bay Packers for the New York Jets. This season started with Tom Brady getting knocked out for the year, but the Pats kept winning with unproven Matt Cassel at quarterback. The lowly Miami Dolphins went from 1-15 to the brink of the playoffs. And from the 'even more bizarre' department, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson legally changed his name to Ocho Cinco. You cap that with rookie quarterback Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons playing like a veteran to put his team into the playoffs. This is the same team that was dealing with the Michael Vick dog-fighting fiasco just a year ago.

The playoffs are just days away and we could see an all-Manning Super Bowl. Peyton Manning is again carrying his Indianapolis Colts to a strong season. His little brother Eli is doing the same with the Giants. Could you imagine living near their parents? You're excited that your kid got a new job. They pull out photos of EACH of their sons winning a Super Bowl. Not a fair fight. Now the NFL is broadcasting games in 3D. The NFL invited some of the media to see a test run of football in 3D at a New York theatre. It is similar to HD TV, but takes it a step further.

The players, as you would expect, leap off the screen. When they show a replay with a running back coming at the camera, you will flinch the first few times. All they need is to bring wind and snow into the theatre and you would not have to go to games anymore. Just business as usual in the NFL, where 2008 proved the only safe prediction is that most predictions will be way off. ppabst@thenational.ae