2002 NFL SIMULATION: RUN, RICKY, RUN..

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Our 2001 NFL situation featured Kordell Stewart making a triumphant return to the city of New Orleans to claim a Super Bowl title for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In 2002, Ricky Williams was acquired via trade with the New Orleans Saints, who traded all of their draft picks to acquire the rights to draft the Heisman Trophy winner. 2002 proved to be by far Williams best season as a pro with 1,853 yards rushing and his lone Pro Bowl appearance.

In the sim, Williams returns to his San Diego roots for Super Bowl XXXVII and provides a performance for the ages.

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  • Realignment takes place following the 2001 season to accommodate the arrival of the Houston Texans. The new format of eight four team divisions remains unchanged as of 2016.
  • The Texans lost the first 15 games of their existence in alternate reality but finish their inaugural season on a high note with a home upset of the division champion Tennessee Titans, the franchise that previously graced Houston.
  • The New York Giants enjoy their best sim regular season in franchise history, their lone blemish a Week 16 loss at Indianapolis.
  • In real life, 2002 represented the Cleveland Browns lone playoff appearance since their 1999 return, where they lost to the Steelers. In the sim both Cleveland and Pittsburgh both finished 6-10.
  • In their first season in the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks had a respectable real-life record of 7-9. In the sim the team took their lumps with a 1-15 campaign.

The Cincinnati Bengals 8-8 record earned them the AFC North Championship and the right to host 11-5 Denver on Wild Card Weekend. The Bengals won that game but lost in the divisional round to the Dolphins, who then traveled to Oakland and defeated the 14-2 Raiders for the AFC Championship.

The NFC West Champion San Francisco 49ers welcomed the 13-3 Carolina Panthers in the wild card round and won 24-10. The Niners defeated the 13-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers to advance to the NFC Championship game against the St. Louis Rams, who upset the top-seeded Giants.

The Rams and 49ers met to determine who would represent the NFC for the 15th time in the Super Bowl between the two franchises. The 49ers won 27-15 to earn a return trip to San Diego, where the franchise won a faux Super Bowl XXXII for their fourth and most recent championship.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Williams rewrote Super Bowl history with 257 rushing yards and three scores in the Dolphins 39-10 victory for Miami’s second title in four Super Bowl appearances. Williams scored from 12 yards out in the first quarter, followed by a 47-yard scamper before halftime and a 24-yard run to put the Dolphins up 39-3 in the fourth quarter.

Needless to say, Ricky’s career reached an all-time high that day.

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