The goodbye and return of Tom Brady, the Rams title and its subsequent fall, the dominance of the Eagles and the sex scandals starring Deshaun Watson and the Commanders captured the attention of 2022 in the NFL.
Tom Brady dropped the first bomb of the year. In February he announced his retirement after 22 years in the league, seven Super Bowls won, six with the Pats and one with the Bucs, 15 trips to the Pro Bowl and a collection of records that place him as the best in NFL history.
Proportional to the outbreak of his retirement was the news of his return, just 40 days later, to play one more year with the Buccaneers, whom he still tries to take to the playoffs to lift the eighth Vince Lombardi trophy of his career.
On the way to his 23rd season, the 45-year-old passer grappled with several controversies. He was absent most of the Bucs’ preseason for personal reasons and in October divorced Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen after 13 years of marriage.
In sports, Brady recorded more lines to his legend; in November, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to surpass 100,000 yards in the regular season and playoffs in the week nine game against the Rams.
The Los Angeles Rams also captured the spotlight for their chiaroscuro shown throughout 2022 which started with the obtaining of Super Bowl LVI with a 23-20 victory over the Bengals.
A title of a team full of luminaries; with Sean McVay the youngest coach to lift a Lombardi Trophy, at 36 years and 20 days, and receiver Cooper Kupp named Most Valuable Player.
Nearly 10 months later, the Rams are a shadow of that accomplishment. Eliminated from the playoffs this season, they have five wins and 10 losses, they became the worst defending champion of the 21st century.
Before the decline of the Rams emerged an unexpected dominator of the 2022 season in the Philadelphia Eagles who have the best record in the league; 13 wins and only two falls until week 16, and are led by 24-year-old quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Hurts has battled for the 2022 Most Valuable Player (MVP) designation to stars such as Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals.
The young quarterback shines for his passing and running ability. Through the air he has 3,472 yards and 22 scores. He rushes for 747 yards and 13 touchdowns, the most for a quarterback.
Unfortunately for the NFL, sex scandals also splashed in 2022.
The most notorious was that of Deshaun Watson, suspended 11 games this season and fined five million dollars for the demands of sexual misconduct of 24 women.
Watson received those sexual misconduct lawsuits in massage sessions during his time with the Houston Texans in 2020. Despite those allegations, the passer was signed by the Browns last August in exchange for $230 million.
Equally embarrassing was the scandal starring the Washington Commanders and their owner, Dan Snyder, who drag since 2020 for harassing several cheerleaders and former workers of the team.
The case on December 8 threw a pronouncement of the United States Congress that accused Snyder and the NFL of interfering in the harassment investigations against him.
The closing of 2022 was promised festive with the retirement of the jersey with the number 32 of the legend of the Steelers Franco Harris on December 24, during the Pittsburgh-Raiders duel, but it was tinged with mourning with the death of the 72-year-old former running back on the 21st.
Harris was the protagonist of the NFL’s most famous play dubbed the “Immaculate Reception,” an action that happened in the divisional duel of the 1972 American Conference playoffs when Harris caught a rebound pass thrown by Terry Bradshaw and scored the touchdown in the Steelers’ 13-7 victory over the Raiders.
It was the 2022 of the goodbye and return of Brady, of consecration and decline of the Rams, of the emergence of the Eagles of Hurts, of scandals, but also of the departure of one of the greatest idols of the NFL, four-time winner of the Super Bowl and member of the Hall of Fame, Franco Harris.