A Look Into the New NFL Season

Ben Williams '19, Sports

It’s the start of a new season, and I’m not talking about fall. After the incredible run by the Philadelphia Eagles that will be inked in history forever, it is time to take a look at what teams have the potential to claim that top spot. Or will the Eagles continue their success and remain as leaders of the league?

This season has the potential to be one of the most exciting in recent
memory. There is so much young talent in the league that are ready to prove they belong, blockbuster trades have occurred, and MVP caliber players are set to return. With all of these factors coming into the new season, you could say this year will be viewed as optimistic.

With week 1 of the 2018-19 season complete, there have already been many surprises. These range from a disastrous performance by a Saints defense that was thought to be dominant, to an epic 20-0 comeback by Aaron Rodgers on one leg against the Bears. Of course we have to remember in week 1 of 2003 the Patriots lost to the Bills 31-0, and later went on to win the Super Bowl. The season is very young and we should not make lasting opinions on a team solely based off of the first game. We can however assess player performances and see if they have contributed to their teams growth.

Cleveland Brown fans have suffered the most and I think that is something we can all agree on. Finally they received some relief as they tied their divisional foe in the Pittsburgh Steelers. An unbelievable game they had a chance to win on multiple occasions, the last of which was a blocked field goal in overtime. Even though they did not take advantage of their 6 takeaways in that game, you have to admire their 14-point comeback in the fourth quarter against a team that has dominated them for so many years. Ben Roethlisberger has the most wins in their stadium, so it must’ve felt good to at least earn a tie against him. Despite their disappointing tie, the outlook on their season and future as a whole is very bright. They have some of the best young talent in the league, wide receivers that are proven competitors in Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon, and a great management staff looking to push them in the right direction. They will learn from this game and help this team grow. The hope is that college star quarterback Baker Mayfield will become the face of their franchise. He did not see any time against the Steelers, but it is a real possibility that he will take over as starter by the end of the season. For once, Cleveland fans have a lot to be excited about and rightfully so. If this team can gain confidence, look out.

Last year the NFL saw a great deal of injuries, especially to star players. The most notable that comes to mind is quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In week 6 of last season against the Minnesota Vikings, Rodgers took a vicious hit (one that would now be deemed illegal with the new helmet rule) from linebacker Anthony Barr. Taking him to the ground, Rodgers knew immediately what had happened. Lying motionless on the field, everyone knew what had happened and hoped for the best but fears the worst. It was later revealed that Rodgers broke his collarbone and was likely done for the season. Just like that, the Packers season was over too, eventually finishing 7-9 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. After a long offseason, one in which Rodgers became the highest paid player in NFL history, it was time to make his return. Going up against the Bears would not be a walk in the park the Packers were accustomed too. The recent acquisition of arguably the best defensive player in the league, Khalil Mack added to the already stout defense they have. Halfway into the 2nd quarter, Rodgers fell down as he was about to get sacked and a bears player collapsed on top of him. The only thing is, Rodgers did not get up. As silence fell over Lambeau Field, the game went from bad to worse. It was halftime and it looked as if the season was already over for the Packers. Suddenly, Rodgers jogged out of the tunnel and led the Packers to a win after being down 20-0. This will go down as one of the most legendary performances especially with him essentially being on one leg.