Since then, the NFL has experienced a year's worth of events that are unprecedented, unimaginable and, frankly, unbelievable.
• On Dec. 8, 2012, one week after Belcher murdered his girlfriend and took his own life, Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter after he flipped his car in an accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown in Irving, Texas.
• On Jan. 22, despite witnessing what happened on his team just a month earlier, then-Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff was charged with DWI after his pickup truck struck an 18-wheeler in Grapevine, Texas.
• On May 26, Buccaneers safety Cody Grimm was arrested in Leesburg, Va., and charged with public intoxication -- 2½ months after he had been arrested in Christiansburg, Va., on March 10, and charged with public intoxication.
• On June 26, then-Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with murder and five weapons counts in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd.
• On Aug. 11, Broncos linebacker Von Miller was arrested in a Denver suburb on a warrant because he failed to appear in court on misdemeanor traffic charges -- at a time the league considering extending his four-game suspension to a one-year suspension or even possibly a lifetime ban.
• On Nov. 10, one week before the then-unbeaten Chiefs were to play the Broncos, Kansas City wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was arrested for speeding and marijuana possession.
All this happened in the span of one year. There were plenty of other arrests as well, players charged with a potpourri of assaults, DWIs, drug possession, weapon possession -- a multitude of bads. But a handful of aforementioned events were the headliners, SportsCenter-worthy.
Maybe the league has had other years like this, and it's just that there never has been so much attention on the NFL. But it sure feels like the NFL never has had a 12-month stretch quite like this. Maybe it's just the day and age of social media, in which each civilian can be transformed into a reporter, photographing and videotaping incidents that might have been missed in previous years. Or maybe, just maybe, the league has just experienced the worst year it has had in a long time, if not ever.
At a time when our country celebrates Thanksgiving, the NFL should be thankful this year is almost behind it, while hoping never to have another one like it.
The Schef's specialties
Game of the Week: Saints at Seahawks -- A Monday night battle for what could be the the NFC's top seed.
Upset of the Week: Jacksonville over Cleveland -- Browns not the same team with Brandon Weeden at the helm.
Player of the Week: Bills running back C.J. Spiller -- Coming off a bye, Spiller could have some spring in his step.