That's how long this spectacular NFL season was.
On paper, it looked like the '70s and '80s. Many of the same teams made the playoffs from the year before (eight out of 12, which is the fewest new playoff teams since the mid-'90s). Six of the eight division winners were the same as 2011 and three of the four that made it to the conference championship game did just that 12 months earlier.
But if the NFL were a soap opera, the networks would have told the writers "enough already," in fear they were cramming too much good material into one year.
To begin with, the season started on a Wednesday, the first time the NFL played on that weekday since before "Dewey defeated Truman" (1948). Then it continued for three weeks with replacement officials. No big deal or anything, except in one game they ruled an interception was a TD on the final play, costing Green Bay a win. The ruling was the difference between the Packers visiting the 49ers in the playoffs or it working the other way around. Would the playoffs have gone differently? We'll never know.
This was only the beginning of how "strange" it went. A head coach was suspended for a full season and a general manager for half the year because they placed bounties on opposing players. Four players were suspended in the controversy and sued the commissioner, only to have the suspensions overturned.
Tim Tebow went from the most high-profile player in the league to the nation's media capital, which obviously would lead to him being put in mothballs.
Peyton Manning gets released because the Colts aren't sure he can throw the ball anymore, only to replace Tebow in Denver and finish the regular season winning 11 straight games.
Adrian Peterson comes up 9 yards shy of the single-season rushing record just nine months after tearing his ACL.
But the season's biggest story lines were concussions/player safety, the pistol offense and the rise of the young QBs. Maybe that's a sign that the 49ers are going to win, because they benched their starting QB Alex Smith, after he suffered a concussion, for second-year QB Colin Kaepernick, who ran "the pistol" in college.
And 2012 also was the year that experience officially became overrated. Rookie QBs Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson went 32-16 in leading their teams to the playoffs just a year after those same three teams went 14-34.
Who woulda thunk it?
About as many people who thought one day we'd have a Super Bowl where the two head coaches were brothers. The odds against that happening would seem to be worse than winning the Powerball.
It all ends with the third-most inexperienced QB (Kaepernick has just nine starts) trying to defeat a team led by at least two Hall of Fame defenders (Ray Lewis, Ed Reed).
It ends, of all places, in New Orleans. Home to the team of Bountygate but also the city of Katrina, where of the nine previous Super Bowls in the Big Easy, only one was decided by fewer than 10 points.
But this year can't end with a dud. It just wouldn't seem right.
Not after all that has happened.
Not since we have 214 days before the best reality TV show that's going will return again.
* * * * *