September. In an attempt to bolster the sagging ratings of its NFL pregame show, NBC brings back a recognizable personality from its past. On his first day in the studio, O.J. Simpson says that he is "absolutely, 100 percent" sure that Jimmy Johnson will coach the Miami Dolphins in 1997. Fox counters by adding a Simpson of its own to its pregame show. Homer Simpson also predicts Jimmy Johnson will coach the Dolphins next season.
October. Indian outfielder Albert Belle is taken into custody after an eight-year-old girl dressed as a bunny falls into the moat surrounding his house on Halloween night and is bitten by an alligator. When a reporter attempts to ask Belle about the incident, the embattled slugger sprays him with Mace.
November. Deion Sanders snaps at a reporter who mentions the two-sport star's hefty NFL contract. "I've told you 35 million times! Stop writing that I make $35 million. Just because no one else in the NFL makes $35 million doesn't mean you have to mention the $35 million every time you use my name." Sanders announces that he is changing his number to 35.
December. In an odd sequence of events, all 30 NFL teams end the regular season 8-8 and fail to make the playoffs; in place of postseason games, the TV networks run three-hour specials on the future of Jimmy Johnson; Don Shula fuels speculation that he may be reaching retirement age by announcing his engagement to Anna Nicole Smith; and Jerry Jones fires himself as Cowboy coach and then sues himself for $750 million.