Disclaimer: The following article is set 10 years in the future. None of the things in the story have actually happened. But, hey! They could. We tried to imagine what the NFL might look like in the 2024 season, and this is what we envisioned…
NOVEMBER 2024 — As yet another NFL season begins to wind down, fans of the world’s most popular sport have plenty of storylines to keep track of during their three-day weekends. This Sunday’s game pits the defending champion London Jaguars against the perennial power Cleveland Browns in an AFC showdown that could go a long way toward determining the No. 1 seed in the upcoming playoffs. The Jaguars, who earlier this year became the first host team in Super Bowl history to win the league’s Big Game, are coming off a 47-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday Night Football.
Of course, by now, every NFL game is available no matter which viewing market you live in, but if you check out Sunday’s game on your iWatch, you’ll see that NFL Everywhere has sent its No. 1 announcing team across the pond to cover the Jags-Browns. Expect to hear plenty from analysts Richard Sherman and Erin Andrews Sunday morning, as well as the predictable excited screaming of lead play-by-play voice Gus Johnson.
Cleveland needs to rebound after dropping a heartbreaker to the Washington Generals last Tuesday. Johnny Manziel thought he had pulled out yet another fourth-quarter comeback win, but a controversial ‘breathing on the receiver’ call against the Browns’ nickel back in the final minute cost Cleveland dearly. Apparently the airbag-equipped helmets and Bubble Wrap 2025 Under Armour uniforms didn’t protect Washington’s receiver enough — at least that’s what the robot back judge’s readout said.
On the North American side of things, the nation will be watching eagerly to see if Nick Saban’s Patriots defense can slow down Broncos star Andrew Luck. Luck, in his first season with the Broncos after a long, successful, and Super Bowl-winning career in Indianapolis, became a free agent after Colts owner Jim Irsay held a tearful press conference announcing the three-time MVP’s release this past offseason. Of course, with his choice of free agent destinations, Luck couldn’t pass up the chance to play for Denver and president/GM Peyton Manning.
Without question, one of the biggest stories of the season to date has been the October firing of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin after a slow start. Insiders expect Cowboys owner Mark Cuban and GM Jerry Jones to throw plenty of bitcoins at Tomlin, with sources close to the veteran coach saying he’d be very interested in working in Fort Worth’s new state-of-the-art 200,000 seat stadium next year.
Just like it’s always been, the NFL is a quarterback’s league, with Tampa Bay superstar Marcus Mariota claiming the last two Peyton Manning MVP awards. The Buccaneers, who recently unveiled their fifth different uniform design in the last seven years (all containing creamsicle), appear to be set under center for a few more years to come. That’s more than we can say of the Bills, who are reported to be in negotiations with 55-year-old Brett Favre to make yet another return to the NFL. Although Favre says he hasn’t tossed a football since retiring from the Giants three years ago, his agent issued a statement to Fox Sports 13 that read, simply, “Never say never.”
On a less-happier note, there are still plenty of issues for Commissioner Barack Obama to sort through as he tries to maintain the sport’s dominance around the globe. Although the league survived the trillion-dollar lawsuit of 2019 and managed to defeat the infamous NFFL proposal that would have turned football into flag football (thanks to the influence of then-senator and current presidential candidate Tim Tebow), no sport stays No. 1 forever, and Mr. Obama is well aware of this. That’s why the league’s braintrust is seriously considering a long-overdue expansion proposal that would help the NFL tap into new markets: According to ESPNInfinity’s Adam Schefter, the plans on the table would give Justin Bieber the Toronto franchise he’s been seeking, with the 34th team going to either Las Vegas or Mars. Las Vegas bookmakers have made Mars a clear favorite to land the team, even though many fans think its players would be at a significant competitive disadvantage because of the extra travel. Regardless, the league is committed to developing new frontiers and expanding its fan base, so you might as well start reserving your 2028 Rockets season tickets now.
And who knows how the game might have changed by then? For all we know, by 2028, the Raiders might have snapped that horrible postseason drought that stretches all the way back to 2002! Nah, probably not.