The NFL is back in business

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It comes as no surprise that this National Football League (NFL) season has kicked off to a fast and entertaining start. NFL fans across the country are thrilled to finally see some football during the difficult times we are facing due to the coronavirus. The limited practice each team had in the offseason and improper training led to many injuries, forcing many big-name players to sit out. At quarterback you have Dak Prescott, who was having one of the best seasons of any quarterback this year, until he broke his ankle. He had the most passing yards in the NFL through four games, and was on pace to break the record for most passing yards in a season. Courtland Sutton, the young star at wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, was lost for the year due to a knee injury. However, the running back position has been the most plagued position due to injuries by far. A few of the running backs most affected have been Saquon Barkley, Raheem Mostert, Nick Chubb, Austin Ekeler, and Christian McCaffrey (the number one pick in
the majority of fantasy leagues). All of these running backs were at the top of the league last year, but they sadly had to miss time this year. Michael Thomas has yet to even complete a game this season, after he broke the record for most receptions in a season last year. Also, we have seen a lot of injuries across the offensive lines, especially concerning the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

COVID-19 has also been a threat to players’s availability for certain teams. The Tennessee Titans had to miss time due to an outbreak in the organization, and it also caused concern when star players such as Cam Newton and Stephon Gillmore were diagnosed with the virus. Danny Wellner ’22 stated, “I think the NFL has done a good job so far considering the league is still playing. It has positively affected me because now I get to sit and watch football from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. every Sunday. I love the NFL and I am very pleased with it so far.”

In terms of teams that are outperforming their competition, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, and the Kansas City Chiefs look the best at this point in the season. Additionally, the Buccaneers bolstered their roster in the offseason with much needed help, and continue to do so by adding key players like Antonio Brown to their star-studded offense. This move is important to the team to improve their recent success; people are too quick to forget that Antonio Brown was the best receiver in the NFL just two years ago. He obviously had many problems off the field, such as getting into fights with teammates, getting into legal issues with his ex-wife, and having a loud personality on social media. However, when he is on the field, he is a force to be reckoned with. The Seahawks, on the other hand, have an impressive offense, boasting the Most Valuable Player (MVP) front runner: Russell Wilson. They also have a dynamic wide receiver duo in Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Bobby Wagner and Jamal Adams are arguably the best at their respective positions, but besides that, their defense has struggled. The Chiefs have the best offense in the NFL, no doubt. They have a speedy wide receiver core in Meecole Hardman, Tyreek Hill, and Sammy Watkins, as well as arguably the best pass-catching tight end in football with Travis Kelce. Let’s not forget the reigning superbowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, though. Their rushing attack has been bolstered with the signing of Le’Veon Bell, and their first round selection: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (CEH). After week seven, CEH was the second leading rusher in the NFL. The Steelers, last but not least out of these contenders, remain undefeated to this point. They started the season with an easier schedule, but just won back-to-back road games against the Titans and Baltimore Ravens, both of whom are 5-2. The Steelers have an offense that is averaging around thirty points per game, in part due to having the best pass rush in the NFL and a strong secondary. They arguably have the most balanced roster in the entire league.

Another student at LM, Alex Frankel ’22, expressed how this NFL season has affected him: “The NFL season has affected me as a student negatively so far, as there have been multiple times that I have been paying a little too much attention to NFL games or fantasy football when I should have been catching up on schoolwork.” Students across LM enjoy football in many different ways, and it’s interesting to see the different opinions on the season, and to see how many students are impacted by the season as of right now. The best part about this season is that it hasn’t been canceled due to COVID-19 and many teams have encouraged fans to vote in the recent election. Not only that, many are helping to support the Black Lives Matter movement as well, which allows football to have a social impact in addition to an obvious impact on the sports world. This season has been a very exciting, albeit interesting, one so far, and we all hope there is much more yet to come.