After all the rumors and predictions, the season is finally here!
There are many headlines and questions to be answered. Will Tom Brady still play at a elite level? Will Marshawn Lynch still play like his younger self? Is Colin Kaepernick going to get signed? Will the first round rookies live up to the expectations?
The season kicked off Thursday September 7th with Helix alumni Alex Smith and the Chiefs defeating the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Patriots, with a score of 42-27.
One of the more prominent headlines has been the Super Champion Patriots and the offseason they had. After adding more weapons, like wide receiver Brandin Cooks via trade with the New Orleans Saints to a high-powered offense led by the 40-year-old quarterback in Tom Brady, the Patriots are sure to wreck havoc on opposing defenses.
Another headline is Tom Brady. On Thursday, Brady did not play at an elite level. Given it was only one game, is his age a factor this season?
Isaac Melendez, junior, explains confidently, “ I feel he will still play at a high level, he won’t be able to repeat what he did last year but he will be able to still win games.”
Another eye-popping offseason acquisition was the return of Marshawn Lynch. Lynch played for the Seattle Seahawks, but retired on the day of Super Bowl 50, Feb. 7, 2016. He did not play at all during the 2016-2017 season.
In March 2017, the Oakland Raiders, Lynch’s hometown, had interest in him via trade or release, but Seattle still owned his rights. On Apr. 5, Lynch visited the Raiders, and three weeks later the trade was approved.
On Sunday, Sep. 11, Lynch’s Oakland debut, he ran the ball 18 times and rushed for 76 yards in a 26-16 win over the Tennessee Titans.
When asked how greatly Lynch will impact the team, Jaren Thomas, senior, explains passionately, “He is going to make Derek Carr better. He is going to get this team to the Super Bowl”.
Another storyline that has caused controversy across the nation since last August was the protest where former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, took a knee during the National Anthem as a way to show his protest of the inequality in America. As of today, the protest has affected his ability to get signed because teams feel he would be a distraction and he still remains a free agent.
Kaepernick spoke out to Bleacher Report on waiting to play again saying, “I’m ready right now.”
Other athletes come to his support. Aaron Rodgers, one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, gives his opinion on CBS Sports, “I think he should be on a NFL roster;
Because of the protests he’s not.”
Steph Curry, NBA point guard for the Golden State Warriors, also spoke with the Charlotte Observer, “He definitely should be in the NFL. If you’ve been around the NFL, the top 64 quarterbacks, and he’s not one of them? Then I don’t know what game I’m watching. Obviously his stance and his peaceful protest when he was playing here kind of shook up the world, and I think for the better. But hopefully he gets back in the league – because he deserves to be here and he deserves an opportunity to play. He’s in his prime and can make a team better.”
Given it is only three weeks into the season, a quarterback-needy team is willing to break and sign Kaepernick. It is also too early to tell which teams are contenders and which teams are pretenders.
Some teams will emerge as others will fall. Some unknown young players will make noise while father time will come knock on the veterans door. Top questions will be answered as we trickle down to January and February.
There is a lot to look forward to in the 2017-2018 NFL season.