Tonight we kick off the 2015 NFL season with Thursday Night Football! The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Superbowl winning New England Patriots, with Tom Brady’s suspension overturned just in time to have him back in the game. Now you may be asking yourself, “Didn’t I see an NFL game last weekend?” That was just a “pre-season” warm-up. Week 1 of the 16 game regular season is finally here and it’s time for the starting lineup to take the field. Here are the 10 things you need to know to sound sassy, sexy and smart should you find yourself in the middle of an NFL conversation…
1. TOM BRADY AND “DEFLATEGATE…
On the field or on the bench? You may have heard that during last year’s AFC playoff game versus the Indianapolis Colts, Tom Brady may have deflated the footballs so that he and his teammates would have a better grip in the poor weather conditions. Originally suspended four games for “general awareness of ball deflation by others”, that decision was recently nullified on the argument it was unfair. A federal judge criticized NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for dispensing “his own brand of industrial justice.” The union had planned to call Goodell as a witness, but was denied that opportunity when Goodell appointed himself as the appeal officer. Which brings us to number 2…
2. NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL
Once again the center of football news, for nine years Roger Goodell has sat at the helm of the most popular sport in America. As NFL Commissioner, Goodell is judge, jury and executioner on all things league related. He even gets to hear appeals of his own rulings, and is often is the hot seat as a result of his decisions. You may recall last year’s Ray Rice scandal, when then Baltimore Ravens’ running back knocked out his fiance and dragged her unconscious body out of the elevator of the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. He was originally only suspended for two games (which makes Tom Brady’s 4 game suspension really bizarre), which was later overturned to an “indefinite suspension.” If you really want to “break the ice” at an NFL viewing party, just ask someone, “Who does Roger Goodell think he is?”
3. RG3 & THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Robert Griffin, III or “RG3” as he is known, was the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins up until a few days ago. Entering his third year in the league, to say his tenure has been polarizing is an understatement. He’s gone from offensive rookie of the year, to fans clamoring for his backup to take the job, to getting injured this preseason, and finally losing his starting job. If you want to sound like you’re “in the know” you might ask “Can RG3 be a starting quarterback again?”
4. ADRIAN PETERSON IS BACK
Adrian Peterson missed the last 15 games of the 2014 regular season. He was suspended after being charged in an incident involving negligent injury to a child, as a result of disciplining his four-year-old son with a “switch.” Obviously a very sensitive subject, it was resolved legally. The bottom line as it relates to football is Peterson is considered the best running back in the league and will be back playing for the Vikings this season. That means trouble for everyone else.
5. The Rookie QB, Jameis Winston
The rookie starting quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be living under an intense microscope this season. The former Heisman trophy winner from Florida State and #1 draft pick has all the gifts to be a top flight professional quarterback. Will it happen? And, how will his season stack up against fellow rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota of the Tennesee Titans, #2 overall pick?
6. Football across the pond. we’re not talking soccer
You might notice the Union Jack and a different atmosphere in the stands if you are watching a game on a Sunday October 4, 25 or November 1. The NFL is convinced that it can make the game global and for the third consecutive season will have three games played in London at the famed Wembly stadium.
7. Repeat after me… Aaron Rodgers is the best
Lighting quick release, rocket arm, able to elude pressure and deadly accurate, Aaron Rodgers is at the height of his powers. 31 teams would gladly trade their starting quarterback for him. He is THE BEST QUARTERBACK IN THE NFL. Need we say more? Ok, yes. He’s also dating actress Olivia Munn. Some guys just live the dream!
8. Not Tebow Time
The big story up until last week was Tim Tebow back in the NFL and vying for the No. 3 quarterback job of the Philadelphia Eagles. The team just cut the former Heisman Trophy winner. Despite multiple opportunities from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets to the New England Patriots, he hasn’t played in a regular-season NFL game since 2012. Could this be the last we will see of Tebow at quarterback?
9. The Sophomore, Odell Beckham Jr.
Last year’s NFL sensation, played in only 12 games but led the New York Giants in catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns — watch this leaping one handed grab! He won offensive rookie of the year and was selected to the Pro Bowl. What will he do for an encore during his sophomore season? Was last season a flash in the pan or will he continue on this historic run?
10. Peyton Manning, the Greatest of All Time?
Is this the final year we see, arguably, the greatest quarterback of all time? Will he make one more super bowl run? Will he be healthy all season? We don’t know the answers to any of these questions but watching Peyton Manning play quarterback is one of the greatest experiences for a football fan.
-by Jarod Hector