There are several instances where a certain play or event can send ripple effects throughout the rest of the league. Even when it’s indirect, these events can have a massive butterfly effect on the rest of the league. Here are some of the best examples of “domino effects” in the NFL.
Mo Lewis Big Hit On Drew Bledsoe, Brady wins 6 Super Bowls
On a warm Sunday in Foxboro, the 0-1 Patriots looked to get back on track against another 0-1 team, the Jets. With 5:11 left in the game, the Patriots are down 10-3 but are looking to put together a drive to try and tie the game. Then on the ensuing play, the unthinkable happens. On 3rd and 10, Bledsoe scrambles to his right, second-year defensive lineman Shaun Ellis (who ended up signing with the Patriots in 2011) chases him down, wraps him up from behind, and leaves Bledsoe defenseless as Mo Lewis lays a hit that seemed to spell out doom for the future of the Patriots franchise. Many left the game as an unknown second-year backup quarterback from Michigan entered the game. While Tom Brady failed to win that game, this play will be known as the turnaround of the Patriots franchise, rather than the downfall it was considered to be when it first happened. Bledsoe’s career fell into a downward spiral, and with Tom Brady at the helm, the Patriots went on to win 6 championships and turned into one of the greatest dynasties of all time. Mo Lewis’s hit seemed to destroy Patriots fans’ hopes and dreams, but instead, the hit inflicted years upon years of pain to Jets fans as they watched Brady dominate their division and blossom into one of the greatest players of all time.
Andrew Luck Stays in College for Another year
Andrew Luck was the consensus number one pick leading up to the 2011 NFL draft, but his decision to stay at Stanford for another year shook up the NFL we know today. Carolina and Denver held the top 2 picks in this draft, with the Panthers selecting first. After the decision, the Panthers seemed to be deciding between picking Cam Newton or trying to develop Jimmy Clausen. Ultimately, Carolina took Cam Newton, who won an MVP, and led them to Super Bowl 50 to face the Broncos. Back to the 2011 draft, after the Broncos decided they were going to stick with Tim Tebow for the 2011 season, they drafted Von Miller. Tim Tebow played well that year, but when Peyton Manning hit free agency the Broncos could not resist and Tebow was traded to the Jets. If Luck had not decided to stay in college for another year, it’s possible that after the Panthers selected Luck, the Broncos would’ve selected Cam Newton second overall. Manning would never have signed with Denver, and Tebow Mania may have never happened. Although it may have seemed foolish to take Cam Newton with the second pick, the Broncos were in a spot to draft a future superstar, and the team was definitely not sold on Tim Tebow for the future as they ended up benching him behind Kyle Orton for the start of the 2011 season before Orton and the Broncos started out 1-3. In a scenario where Luck declares for the 2011 draft, the Panthers take him, and the Broncos then may have taken Cam Newton. Manning may have gone to the Seahawks, Cardinals, Jets, or even 49ers. This would also mean that since Luck isn’t in the class, Robert Griffin III goes to the Colts the following year. The effect that Andrew Luck’s decision had on the future of all of these teams changed the face of the league today.
Social media hack resulted in dolphins getting Jaylen Waddle
Laremy Tunsil was projected to go in the top 3 picks of the 2016 NFL draft, but those projections were thrown out the window when pictures were posted on his social media, showing him smoking weed and also revealing messages between him and Ole Miss staff where he asks for money and receives it. Chaos ensued and no one knew what was happening with Tunsil or where he would be drafted. Eventually, Miami took a shot in the dark and picked him up after he fell to 13. He played very well in Miami and was quickly identified as one of the elite young tackles in the league. However, his time in Miami was cut short as he was traded to the Texans along with Kenny Stills in a trade where the Texans gave up two future first round picks and another second-rounder. Since that trade, the Texan’s bright future has been torn apart and the two picks traded to Miami have turned into Noah Igbinoghene and Jaylen Waddle. It’s now clear that the Dolphins won that trade, one that was only possible because of the unbelievable Laremy Tunsil social media hack on draft night.
Teddy Bridgewater’s injury gives the Cardinals Kyler Murray and also allows the Minneapolis miracle to happen
NFL fans mourned after Teddy Bridgewater went down with a nasty injury during the Viking’s training camp back in 2016. Bridgewater has since been traded to the Broncos, and a lot has changed. Through his road to recovery, Bridgewater saw lots of changes within the teams he was a part of leading up to today which brought tons of ups and downs and changed the league. When he went down with his injury, the Vikings traded for another quarterback in Sam Bradford by trading their first round pick to the Eagles. Bradford came in and played average, but was injured the following year and was then replaced by Case Keenum. Keenum and the Vikings went on an unforgettable run where they made it all the NFC Championship game after the Minneapolis Miracle. Even though they lost to the Eagles who were the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Vikings exceeded everyone’s expectations and that season run will be remembered forever. Eventually, Bradford joined the Cardinals to help mentor their young quarterback Josh Rosen who they selected with the 10th pick the previous year. Bradford was supposed to start out the season so that Rosen could be eased into the starting job, and also so he could be developed more before taking over the starting spot. Instead, Sam Bradford got injured, and Rosen was forced to start for the rest of the year. With his limited experience and below average weapons, the Cardinals struggled with Rosen and were awarded the first pick of the coming draft. Of course Kyler Murray was selected by them and now they are looking to be playoff contenders for years to come. Teddy Bridgewater’s devastating injury shook up the NFL. The impact on the Vikings was felt by the rest of the NFL as multiple teams have been indirectly affected, and now are looking at completely different futures than they were 4 years ago.