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Sunday, 13 September 2009

NFL, Oh How We Missed Thee

Apologies for the recent silence. I’ve been on holidays. It was lovely.

So, the NFL is back. How we missed it. It’s been a summer where the world of American football has rarely been a quiet one. Between the comebacks of Brady, Vick and Favre and the indiscretions of Stallworth and Burress, the League has flexed it’s muscles as America’s premier sport – it’s creating headlines when it really shouldn’t.

However, now, on Week 1, all of that hardly matters as we’re now back in front of televisions, computers and mobile phones, watching one of the finest sports in the world.

For the record, I think this could be a vintage year in the NFL. Favre is spearheading a Vikings team that could be tough to beat – his games against the Packers will be a treat to watch. Tom Brady is making his return from the best part of a year out. He picked up a serious knee injury against my own Chiefs, meaning that he’s only played about one half of football since his New England Patriots lost in Super Bowl 42, and lost a potential perfect season.

We also have other interesting teams to watch. Can the Steelers repeat after their battling win over Tennessee in the season opener on Thursday? What about LaDainian Tomlinson and the Chargers? Is he still a force to be reckoned with in the backfield? Is Jay Cutler the answer at Quarterback in Chicago? Can Joe Flacco (Ravens) and Matt Ryan (Falcons) build on their impressive debut seasons or will they suffer from the sophomore slump? Who among this year’s Draft class will follow them as first-year sensations? There are so many questions and they’ll all be answered in the coming weeks.

For the record, I think it will be New England’s year. Over in the NFC, there’s no clear winner right now but Green Bay will be hard to beat, though I wonder about their schedule. Don’t underestimate San Diego, or the Jets or Seattle. It’s set to be an intriguing year, no doubt about it.

Yet all is not rosy in the NFL world. Labour strife beckons. The NFL must negotiate a new deal with the Players’ Union, and in a time where both sides are looking for bigger slices of a shrinking pie, this set of negotiations looks set to be long and difficult. Next year is all but certain to be the first uncapped year since 1993, while 2011 may be impacted by a strike. Such a stoppage is seen as more likely than not by many, far more informed people than I. While Favre, Vick and co. made headlines this summer, that’ll be nothing like what will happen should there be no football on the second weekend of September in 2011.

Enjoy this season football fans.  While you can.


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