With Seattle dominating Supr bowl victory in the books, SI.com revisits some of the other defining moments of the 2013 NFL season.
2 of 30Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Peyton Manning opens season with a bang
A scheduling conflict forced the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens to open the 2013 season in Denver, where Peyton Manning stole the show. Manning threw seven TD passes on 462 yards, setting the stage for a record-breaking season.
3 of 30Michael Conroy/AP
Browns trade Trent Richardson
Midseason trades don't happen too often in the NFL. Blockbuster trades involving a former first-round pick are even more rare. Well, the Browns sent Trent Richardson to the Colts for a 2014 first-round pick after Week 2. Richardson was just the third overall pick in 2011, but the new regime in Cleveland apparently wanted to start over. Browns fans and national media bashed the deal at first, but Richardson went on to disappoint in his new home. It will take a few years before we know which franchise actually won the bizarre midseason deal.
4 of 30Ann Heisenfelt/AP
Buccaneers release Josh Freeman
Josh Freeman was the Tampa Bay starting QB for the first three games of the season. By Week 5, the Bucs released Freeman and the QB was free to sign with any team in the league. The Minnesota Vikings eventually inked Freeman but he struggled in his only appearance with his new team.
5 of 30Greg Nelson/SI
Cowboys' moral victory
Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones declared a "moral victory" after a Week 5 loss to Peyton Manning and the Broncos. "I know what's going to happen to me when I say this, but that's a good team. This is a moral victory. It's not a loser talking here," Jones said. Well, fans and media didn't necessarily agree and Jones was ripped on talk radio across the country. "Moral victory" became a hot button topic and it didn't even help the Cowboys. Dallas finished 8-8 and failed to make the playoffs.
6 of 30Carlos M. Saavedra/SI
Nick Foles emerges
Nick Foles never looked back after replacing Michael Vick in Week 5. Foles went to on throw 27 TDs with only two interceptions while racking up 2,891 passing yards in 13 games. Foles finished with a league-leading QB rating of 119.2 and proved to be a perfect fit for Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense. The Eagles have found their quarterback of the future... and present.
7 of 30Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Bradford goes down
Former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford had a lost year in 2013. The fourth-year signal caller tore his ACL in Week 7 and missed the remainder of the season. Bradford was on his way to a career season, with 14 TD passes and 1, 687 yards and only four interceptions. The Rams are expected to stick with Bradford and enter 2014 with him entrenched as the starting quarterback.
8 of 30David E. Klutho/SI
Andy Reid turns around Chiefs
The 2012 Kansas City Chiefs finished 2-14, suffered through the Jovan Belcher tragedy and cleaned house within the coaching staff and front office. Enter, Andy Reid. The longtime Eagles head coach was hired in Kansas City and paid immediate dividends. His first season on the job, Reid's Chiefs started a franchise-record-best 9-0. They went on to make the postseason and looked like legit Super Bowl contenders for much of the year. The revamped Chiefs will enter 2014 as respected contenders, which is amazing considering the state of the franchise prior to Reid coming aboard.
9 of 30Lynne Sladky/AP
Miami Dolphins bullying scandal
The most polarizing story of the NFL season didn't occur on a football field. Starting lineman Jonathan Martin left the team on Oct. 28 amid allegations that he was constantly bullied by teammates, specifically Richie Incognito. The scandal divided the country. The Dolphins brass obviously felt Incognito was at fault, because he was suspended for the remainder of the season. The NFL appointed Ted Wells to lead an investigation but no ruling has been made by season's end.
10 of 30Nam Y. Huh/AP
Aaron Rodgers suffers Week 9 injury
The Packers had won four consecutive games and looked like Super Bowl contenders entering Week 8. Then Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone and everything came to a screeching halt. The Packers simply weren't the same team without Rodgers. Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien and Seneca Wallace combined to go 2-4-1 in Rodgers absence. The superstar QB retuned in time for Week 17 and the postseason, but Rodgers' injury sapped the team of its mojo.
11 of 30Simon Bruty/SI
Rob Gronkowski suffers another injury
After starting the 2012 season on the PUP list, Gronk returned in Week 7 with a 114-yard performance. In Week 14, Gronk suffered a torn ACL and MCL that ended his season. In seven games, the game-changing tight end caught 39 passes for 592 yards with four TDs. In addition to the devastating knee knee injury, Tom Brady's favorite target has now broken his forearm twice and underwent back surgery since the beginning of the 2012 season.
12 of 30John W. McDonough/SI
Arian Foster disappoints investors, fantasy owners
In Mid-October, Arian Foster announced that he was selling 20 percent of his future football earnings in exchange for an upfront payment of $10 million. The unprecedented business decision caused controversy and could have changed the landscape of sports in America. A few days later, Foster suffered an injury that resulted in season-ending back surgery. Needless to say, fans who invested in Foster for either monetary or fantasy purposes were left severely disappointed.
13 of 30Gene J. Puskar/AP
Schwartz fake field goal and undoing
Jim Schwartz opted for a controversial fake field goal in a Week 11 loss to the Steelers. With a 27-23 lead, Schwartz tried a fake FG on fourth-and-five early in the fourth quarter. The Lions were unsuccessful and the Steelers won the game 37-27. Little did Schwartz know, the Lions would only win one more game for the remainder of the season. The fake FG seemed to completely demoralize the Lions, who went 1-6 over their final seven games -- leading to his dismissal.
14 of 30Joe Mahoney/AP
Last season the replacement officials dominated headlines with bonehead mistakes, urging fans to call for the "real" officials to return. Well, be careful what you ask for. Quick flags and controversial calls irritated fans all season long in 2013. Fans spent the season complaining about the length of replay reviews, what exactly determines a "catch" and how defensive players can tackle without drawing a flag.
15 of 30David J. Phillip/AP
Coaches suffer health scares
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak collapsed at halftime of a Sunday night game against the Colts. NBC cameras captured the scary moment and doctors later determined Kubiak had a mild stroke. Meanwhile, Broncos head coach John Fox underwent open-heart surgery and missed four weeks of the season. While both coaches have reportedly returned to full health, Kubiak was later fired.
16 of 30 Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Josh Gordon emerges as elite WR
Josh Gordon was suspended for the first two games of the season. All he did upon his return was catch 87 balls for a league-leading 1,646 yards over 14 games. Gordon posted the 10th best single-season receiving yardage of all time. Michael Irvin never surpassed that total and Jerry Rice only did it once. It's crazy to think the Browns were reportedly shopping Gordon early in the season. It's safe to say the 22-year-old star will be back in Cleveland in 2014.
17 of 30Jed Jacobsohn/SI
Jamaal Charles scores five TDs
Jamaal Charles made history when the Chiefs traveled to Oakland in Week 15, and it happened to be during the fantasy football playoffs. Charles caught eight passes for 195 yards and four TDs. He reached pay dirt on the ground for a total of five TDs on the day. The only time a player ever scored more TDs was Gale Sayers, who scored six TDs in 1965.
18 of 30Jack Dempsey/AP
Prater sets new field goal record
Broncos kicker Matt Prater broke the record for longest field goal in NFL history when he nailed a 64-yarder Week ___ against the Titans. Prater's 64-yard bomb broke a four-way tie atop the all-time leader board by one yard.
19 of 30Carlos M. Saavedra/SI
RG3 struggles to look healthy, gets shut down
In his return from offseason knee surgery, Robert Griffin III didn't look like the RG3 that fans have come to expect. Through 13 games, RG3 was remarkably durable. He didn't miss a start, threw for 3,203 yards and even ran for another 489 yards. However, he just didn't seem to be 100 percent healthy. The explosiveness that defined the young QB as a rookie seemed diminished. In a bizarre move that may have led to his dismissal, Mike Shanahan shut down his medically cleared quarterback with three games remaining. We'll probably never know the true motive behind RG3 being shut down, but Redskins fans won't care if he's back to full strength in 2014.
20 of 30John Biever/SI
Continued maturity and greatness of Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck continued to develop into an elite quarterback in his sophomore season. Luck's statistics don't jump off the screen, but everyone around the NFL seems to agree that he's oozing with the "it" factor. With 11 game-wining drives and eight fourth-quarter comebacks in two seasons, Luck is close to being mentioned in the same breath as the best QBs in the game. To put things in perspective, Luck has so much potential that Colts fans don't even mind seeing Peyton Manning break records in Denver.
21 of 30Karl Walter/Getty Images
After awful start, Steelers find groove
The Pittsburgh Steelers started uncharacteristically 0-4 and were a measly 2-6 by midseason. Mike Tomlin righted the ship and the Steelers went 6-2 in the second half of the year. They managed to finish 8-8 and almost snuck into the playoffs.
22 of 30Lenny Ignelzi/AP
Chargers sneak into playoffs
The San Diego Chargers went 9-7 in 2013, but that was only good enough to finish third in the AFC West. The Chargers managed to finagle a playoff spot, but it wasn't easy. San Diego needed losses by Miami and Baltimore in both Weeks 16 and 17, and then it took overtime for the Chargers to defeat the Chiefs in Week 17. At one point, a 41-yard field goal by Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop (pictured) would have sent the Chargers packing. Not only did Succop miss, but also the officials missed an illegal formation penalty that would have given him another shot from five yards closer.
23 of 30Tim Sharp/AP
Cowboys, Romo go down
The Dallas Cowboys season essentially ended when Tony Romo underwent back surgery prior to Week 17's NFC East title game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys had to depend on Kyle Orton in a must-win matchup that they lost, 24-22.
24 of 30Jed Jacobsohn/SI
Chip Kelly is here to stay
Chip Kelly had many doubters when the Eagles hired him from Oregon to run a face-paced, college style offense in the NFL. It didn't take long for him to prove he belonged. The Eagles finished 10-6 to win the NFC East in Kelly's first season at the helm, while his dynamic offense finished fourth in the league in points, second in yards and first in rushing. He made a star out of Nick Foles and it's safe to predict that coaches at all levels will copy Kelly's style.
25 of 30Gary Bogdon/SI
Cam Newton takes next step
In 2013 we watched Cam Newton go from a talented quarterback to full-blown MVP candidate. Newton guided the Panthers to a 12-4 record, without many offensive weapons outside of veteran receiver Steve Smith. He showed remarkable maturity, learning to stay in the pocket unless it was absolutely necessary to scramble. He completed a career-high 61.7 percent of his passes and was at the helm of four game-winning drives. Statistics don't always translate into victories, and Newton proved that in 2013. He threw for a career-low 3,379 yards but the Panthers finished above .500 for the first time in Newton's tenure.
26 of 30Guillermo Hernandez Martinez/SI
Giants, Eli have dreadful season
Why the elder Manning was setting record, his younger bother had a season to forget. Eli Manning threw a league-high 27 interceptions, compared to only 18 TDs. The rest of the Giants underperformed, too. The G-Men finished well below the league average in points and yards, but did manage to lead the NFL in something: Turnovers, with 44.
27 of 30David J. Phillip/AP
Manning breaks TD record
Peyton Manning had a magical regular season, breaking the single-season TD record by throwing 55 scores. Manning surpassed his archrival Tom Brady, who previously set the record with 50 touchdowns in 2007.
28 of 30Rod Mar/SI
Saints struggle away from home
To put it simply: the Saints are a dominant team at the Superdome and mediocre on the road. The 11-5 Saints went 8-0 at home and 3-5 away from New Orleans.
29 of 30Kellen Micah/Icon SMI
Patriots: Next man up
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady had, arguably, their best season together in 2013. No, the Patriots didn't go undefeated or even win the Super Bowl. But the Patriots did a remarkable job of overcoming injuries and made the best out of a revolving door of receivers. Aaron Hernandez is locked up, Rob Gronkowski started only six games and Danny Amendola battled numerous injuries. Prized-rookie Aaron Dobson wasn't healthy for the stretch run, Shane Vereen missed half the season with a broken wrist and Austin Collie was limited to only seven games. The defense was equally diminished. Five-time Pro Bowler and defensive leader Vince Wilfork's season ended in Week 4 with an Achilles' injury and a shoulder injury ended two-time Pro Bowler Jerod Mayo's campaign a few weeks later. What did The Pats do with such limited options? They managed to finish 12-4 with a trip to the AFC title game. Not too shabby.
30 of 30Robert Beck/SI
Seattle Seahawks' 12th man dominates
The Seahawks fans are known as the 12th man, and the 12th man was arguably the team's MVP in 2013. The Seahawks went 7-1 at CenturyLink Field en route to a 13-3 record and eventual berth in the Super Bowl, which Seattle won. The 12th man reached a world-record noise level of 137.6 decibels when Seattle hosted the Saints on Monday Night Football in December. A measly 12.4 decibels from the level that will, literally, explode eardrums. Yeah, they're loud.
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