Best Picture: Hollywood-worthy NFL stories for 2013

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With 85th Academy Awards happening this weekend, some of the best “true” and fictional stories told on the silver screen from last year will be honored with miniature gold statues of a naked man. What an honor! And with the NFL offseason just starting to ramp up at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this weekend, we thought it’d be fun to take advantage of this down time to look into the future and see what remarkable story-lines we could be in line for next season.

Last season featured a number of Hollywood-worthy tales, from the Harbaugh Bowl to the rookie sensations at quarterback to Ray Lewis going out on top and on and on. Below are a few highly speculative storylines for next season that seem utterly ridiculous at first, but are just believable enough where we cannot dismiss them entirely.  Let’s get to it!

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REDemption

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Alex Smith is traded to the Cardinals, who he takes to a sixth seed and a wild card appearance in the NFC. Smith and the Cardinals ride momentum to win three straight road games and reach the Super Bowl. Their most notable victory comes against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game, where Smith receives vindication by beating his former team and the quarterback who literally ran him out of town in the last game to ever be played at Candlestick Park. Now who do the Cardinals face in the Super Bowl? None other than the fiery red headed quarterback Andy Dalton, who finally wins in the playoffs to carry the Bengals to the promised land and earn his own redemption, setting up a classic Super Bowl with two franchises seeking their first victory in the big dance.

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The Second Coming

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Unable to secure a trade for Tim Tebow, the New York Jets release ESPN’s favorite athlete, who clears the waivers and ends up on his couch for the first half of the season. That is until fate strikes across the country in the Bay area, where newly minted starter Tyrelle Pryor for the Oakland Raiders suffers an injury after leading his team to a solid 3-4 start. Having kicked Carson Palmer out the door to clear cap room, the Raiders try to trade for Nick Foles or Kirk Cousins but can’t reach a deal. Desperate for a quarterback, GM Reggie McKenzie calls Tim Tebow, and is able to sign him for next to nothing as Tim just wants a chance. Running the Pistol offense, Tebow and Darren McFadden lead the Raiders to the postseason for the first time in over a decade, where they come face to face with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Tebow has just enough magic left in the tanks to stun Manning and co. with a game-winning fourth quarter drive to upset the Broncos and stoking the fire in the debate of whether the Broncos should have stayed with Tebow over acquiring Manning.

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The Odd Couple

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In a bizarre twist of fate, the Seattle Seahawks trade Matt Flynn for Darelle Revis, forming the deepest (and most unnecessary) trio of cornerbacks the league has ever seen. Revis and Richard Sherman are forced to put their Twitter differences aside as they work with Brandon Browner to shut down every passing attack they face. The Seahawks defense from 2012 becomes even more suffocating, and they set new records for points and yards allowed en route to a Super Bowl victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots. This time, however, Revis joins Sherman in trash-talking Brady after the game, and the two complete the most anticipated bro-hug the world has ever seen after hoisting the Lombardi trophy together, no longer enemies, but friends. Cue the awwws.

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O’ Brother Here Art Thou

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Motivated by yet another disappointing postseason, Peyton Manning earns his unprecedented fifth MVP award while leading the Broncos to a perfect 18-0 record and a Super Bowl appearance against the only quarterback to ever defeat an 18-0 team… Peyton’s younger brother Eli Manning. The Harbowl becomes a distant memory as the mainstream media gives up covering anything other than Manning vs. Manning for the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, and the two months following it.

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Look Who’s Elite Now

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With Joe Flacco winning the Super Bowl the same year he declared himself the best quarterback in the league, everyone heads into the 2013 season following suit. Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Phillip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, and even Mark Sanchez (but everyone mostly laughs at his proclamation) all declare themselves the greatest quarterback alive during the preseason. All of these quarterbacks further the debate by leading their team to the postseason (minus Sanchez), when an unexpected dark horse emerges to take the Lombardi trophy home and earn Super Bowl MVP honors – Matt Schaub! The debate continues as Schaub now has the hardware to back up his claim at elite status, while the rest of the league scrambles for answers. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers sit in disbelief that they have as many titles as Matt Schuab and Joe Flacco.

Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar

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