The situation was desperate for the Denver Broncos. On the first Sunday of the National Football League's 2009 season, with only 28 seconds left in the game, they trailed the Cincinnati Bengals 7-6. The ball was on the 13-yard line - their own 13-yard line. On second down, Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton heaved the ball downfield, only to see a Bengals defender deflect the pass away from the receiver. And then something remarkable, close to miraculous, happened. Instead of falling to the ground, the ball popped into the air and landed in the outstretched arms of Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley, who started racing down the field. All across America, in living rooms and basements and sports bars, people broke into cries of wonderment and delight, heartbreak and disbelief.
Then they witnessed something even more startling.