If you can sell it they will come
Well the 2015 NFL season will kick off its schedule on Thursday 10th September, as the New England Patriots will play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium , Foxboro, Massachusetts. With the news that Tom Brady will be able to resume his career in the league, will be greeted with a great deal of anger among some fans, while Patriots’ fans will relish seeing the franchise’s all-time leading passer and perhaps its best player in England’s history. What cannot be denied, has been the Patriots’ success since 2001.
The New England Patriots have been the most successful franchise in the NFL over the past fifteen years and the organization’s success has been borne out by the number of divisional titles, conference championships and Superbowl appearances, alongside their historic fourth Superbowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks. In the midst of the latest furor concerning the NFL and the continuous fallout from the “Deflate-Gate” scandal “ , a great deal of the blame must also be laid at the feet of the league hierarchy and the continued incompetence shown NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. An appeal has been made within the US Federal Court of Appeals seeking to overturn the decision rendered by US Federal District Court Judge Richard M Berman , which reinstated Tom Brady back into the NFL , with his four-game suspension deemed invalid.
I seriously doubt the Court of Appeals will seek to reverse the decision of the lower Courts and it now leaves the NFL in awkward and embarrassing position. Something I believe the fans should consider to be a position we will all become accustomed to during the continued reign of Roger Goodell !
The media has already began their prognostications as to which teams they believe will be the likely participants in Superbowl L(SB 50), with several analysts picking the Pittsburgh Steelers as the AFC representative, meeting and beating the best the NFC has to offer. As to who that might be , can best summarized up by stating , if the Seattle Seahawks can’t maintain their consistency seen in the last three years, then we are likely to see another candidate from the conference.
From my own perspective as it relates to this season in the NFL , I believe the league will have to overcome the adverse publicity , seen in light of another scandal dragging down the integrity of this league. Beyond the simple apathy shown by the fans and their belief that the New England Patriots are just cheaters. It seems remarkable , they have not seen fit to point to the pattern of behavior of the other franchises within the league over the past two decades or more and the candid deeds of those teams, the coaches , owners and front office executives. This has been a league with filled its own self-importance , while the fans themselves remain endlessly apathetic, simply ignorant and downright stupid. The players themselves should not be left out of this equation and neither should the NFLPA , who if anything have remained adversarial at every juncture concerning the behavior of their members, be it good bad or indifferent.
If week one of the regular season is anything to go by, then the league will be off to a somewhat inauspicious start. For several players this could very well be their last season playing at the professional level, while some will be looking for redemption and the rookies will be looking to make their mark in the NFL entering their first season. One game which will be of interest to many around the league will be the contest which pits the top two players selected in this most recent NFL Draft. Opposing quarterbacks Jameis Winston the number one overall pick , taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the Tennessee Titans , where Marcus Mariota will be looking to guide the visiting team to an season victory opener over their NFC South based opponent.
Many felt that the Buccaneers erred in taking Winston over Mariota as the top quarterback and player in this past draft. Given the performances of both players during the preseason and the respective preseason records of the Buccaneers and Titans . I certainly believe both of these franchise will have an extremely tough time ahead as the schedule begins to unfold. These two rookie quarterbacks, will a have a great deal riding on both of their shoulders as they are each seen as the future of their respective franchises. It should be noted ,the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans were not among the most visibly popular teams by way of attendance last season. For Lovie Smith of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ken Whisenhunt of the Tennessee Titans this upcoming season will likely prove to be an eventful one for both head coaches.
Live to fight another day and that may well be the case for the San Diego Chargers , as they live to fight another day, after it was speculated on during the off-season the Chargers were considering, parting ways with their quarterback Philip Rivers. After years of solid service for the franchise, it seems ridiculous the front office might have considered such a move.
The San Diego Chargers will enter this season with a newly revamped roster, a number of coaching changes , but the constants being, Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates . However , in light of the rash of punishment meted out to several players before the start of the season. Gates will be among a litany of starters missing from their teams’ lineups for the start of the season. A number of these players will be missing due to they’re abusing the league’s steroid policy , leading me to believe the NFL and the union remain lax on a policy, which has failed to be enough of a real deterrent to the players.
Mike McCoy and the San Diego Chargers will host the Detroit Lions at Qualcomm Stadium , in San Diego , California on Sunday afternoon. Philip Rivers will seek to solidify his record against his NFC North opponents , as Matt Stafford and the Lions will be looking to get off to a winning start to their season. While the Chargers will certainly be looking to usurp the dominant reign of the Denver Broncos and what appears to be the stranglehold the Broncos have on the AFC West divisional crown. I certainly believe San Diego will be the team likely to end Denver’s reign as the divisional champions. The regular season meetings between the two teams in 2015 should prove to be very interesting. These two contests will take place during weeks’ thirteen and seventeen of the regular season. San Diego will host the first of the two divisional games on the 6th December , 2015 , with the second taking place at Sports Authority Field (Mile High Stadium) in Denver, Colorado on January 3rd , 2016 .
During the regular season if offense wins those games then during the postseason defense becomes paramount to the participants during this part of the schedule. The Carolina Panthers may well have yielded the least amount of yards per game during the during last season’s postseason sojourn , but they fell well short of Ron Rivera’s expectations of his team. In spite of the Panthers’ heroics, Cam Newton and his teammates were unable to overcome the offensive firepower of the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round of the 2014 postseason , as they fell to Seattle 31-17 in a rather lopsided contest. If the Carolina Panthers as a team can regain their composure and some semblance of consistency, then there is no reason to believe why they cannot make a successful defense of their NFC South title and along with it, another postseason appearance. The Panthers and New Orleans Saints appear to be the class of the division and the common belief remains the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be left to fight over the table scraps within the division to see which of the two teams might be the worst of the pairings.
Ron Rivera and the Carolina Panthers will begin their quest for the Superbowl with their opening regular season game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Everbank Field in Jacksonville, Florida , this upcoming Sunday. Elsewhere within the division, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers facing the Tennessee Titans and the Panthers facing the Jaguars, the Atlanta Falcons will face off against the Philadelphia Eagles at home , while the New Orleans Saints will be taking on the Arizona Cardinals in an NFC clash.
The departure of Jim Harbaugh from the San Francisco 49ers may well have been a damning indictment of not only former Niners’ head coach and his lax approach in controlling his players, but also the very fact Trent Baalke did nothing to take control of a very bad situation. Instead , it all led to a very disturbing situation where it was said , Harbaugh and the front office exchanged very few niceties, by way of curtness formally or informally as last season wound down for the Forty Niners. The San Francisco 49ers were 1-4 in their last five games of the season and the team was simply mediocre on all fronts , for which a great deal of responsibility laid with Jim Harbaugh as well as the players on the team. Highly paid , but yet this was not a team by any stretch of the imagination , with their being very little leadership on or off the field of play. Harbaugh’s alleged resignation , in some circles it was said to be a dismissal (firing) , led to serious ramifications among the playing and coaching staff.
Jim Tomsula succeeded Jim Harbaugh and now has the tough task of not only gaining the confidence of this current roster , but to also win over the fans of the Forty Niners as well. Colin Kaepernick has now managed to garner himself a big contract , based on his exploits for the San Francisco 49ers, but he has provided very little leadership as a player among his teammates. Granted , he is only four years into his NFL career , with two playoff appearances and a Superbowl appearance which culminated in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens . A game in which Joe Flacco was scintillating for the Ravens as he led his team to a well-deserved victory , while also winning the Superbowl MVP Award .
A fast start will be needed right out of the gate for the San Francisco 49ers, where the NFC West will be a very competitive division this season , perhaps far tougher than in 2014. San Francisco will play host to the Minnesota Vikings , where Adrian Peterson will make a welcome return to the NFL after his league-mandated suspension through part of last season. Jim Tomsula will have to shore up a secondary which ranked among the worst in the NFC as well as the NFL as a whole last season . The San Francisco missed the postseason by a considerable margin in 2014 , and it was the final nail in the coffin for the team , leading to Jim Harbaugh’s departure.
Big things are happening within the city of St Louis and the proposed move of the St Louis Rams back to city of Los Angeles might be the biggest of them all. Team owner , Stanley Kroenke and the board have all but finalized the deal for the impending move , subject to league approval. Yet the coup-de-gras during the off-season might well have been the acquisition of Nick Foles from the Philadelphia Eagles and the moving of Sam Bradford in the opposite direction by the Rams. Foles over the last two seasons has been one of the league’s most accurate passers and will add some potency to St Louis’ lackluster offense.
Jeff Fisher in his second year in charge as the head coach , will bring about some mental toughness in the team , as well as a propensity to play much a sterner type of defense. On the offensive side of the ball, expect to see a real improvement in the passing and rush offense. The St Louis Rams will kick off their season with a game against the Seattle Seahawks in an all NFC West clash, played at the Edward Jones Dome Stadium , St Louis , Missouri , this Sunday. It will be interesting to see what Nick Foles and his teammates will be capable of doing in this contest with a newly revamped roster.
Horses for courses and once again Jason Garrett is being to achieve the impossible , by taking the Dallas Cowboy deep into another postseason run. As infrequent as the scenario has arisen over the past six seasons , you cannot imagine how dire the situation will likely become should the Cowboys fail this season. Jerry Jones has left us bemused over the past decade with his prognostications which can only be matched by the sheer stupidity of the analysts who have consistently picked Dallas to win the Superbowl. Perhaps, the biggest flag bearer of them all has been ESPN analyst Skip Bayless who simply wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys. Granted, Bayless’ unrequited love for all things Tony Romo doesn’t border on being homo-eroticism, but I can’t help but feel, the two were actually made for each other .
Romo has become something of a party pooper when it comes to the postseason, as his record has consistently borne this out. Toughness , has often been used to describe the Cowboys’ quarterback ,but leadership ability is not a trait to be seen on his radar .
Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys have a divisional game to start off their season when they play the New York Giants at Cowboys’ Stadium , Arlington Texas, in what is likely to be one of the most watched games during the opening week of this NFL season. Eli Manning , the opposing quarterback will have a great deal to prove , as he seeks to renegotiate a lucrative contract for himself , by letting the Giants know what they are likely to be missing should they decide to let him go.
Another NFC East quarterback who has come under a deal of scrutiny this off and preseason has been the Washington Redskins’ three- year starter Robert Griffin III. Now demoted to the backup role on the roster , I am not so sure it is a position which fits the player . given his own aspirations and beliefs. Jay Gruden , Scott McCloughan and Daniel Snyder have placed themselves in a corner . Gruden has proven himself to be almost as inept as his predecessor Mike Shanahan , with his handling of Griffin when it comes to the issue of recurring injuries and lackluster play.
With Kirk Cousins now handed the starting quarterback position for the Washington Redskins and the demotion of Robert Griffin in place , it now becomes a question of what ifs and where do the Redskins now go from here ? That answer is likely to become clear during the Redskins’ first five games of the season and if they have winning record heading into week eight , then I fully expect Washington to consider shopping Robert Griffin to any team willing to take the player off their hands. Cousins now has the chance to prove himself worthy of the role by leading the Redskins to an opening day win when they face the Miami Dolphins at Fedex Field in Landover , Maryland on Sunday, 13th September, 2015.
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This NFL season has started off under a cloud and the league hierarchy under Roger Goodell continues to be ridiculed , because the commissioner’s leadership continues to be poor, haphazard and simply idiotic. He has now become everything the NFL should not be seeking to be and that is the laughing stock of the professional sports’ world. It is one thing to have buffoon like political leaders, most notably among the crop of political candidates now seeking their party’s nomination to become the next President of the United States. Yet, the continued incompetence being showed by Goodell , while being mirrored by the Congress and Barack Obama. It has to be said, what the NFL is now selling , has the fans coming back for more, even when they know the on-field product to be mediocre and the off the field issues remain never-ending. Are and will you buy into what the NFL will be selling this season ?
On this date in NFL history