The Best Of Times? 5 Reasons This Will Be The Best NFL Season In Years
Before we start, I’d like to point out one thing. The NFL is great—and has been great for some time now. From the preseason Hall of Fame game in August to the Super Bowl in February, there’s really nothing quite like the NFL in this country in terms of sports right now. Sure, baseball is our pastime. And superstars like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and now LeBron James have turned the NBA into the sport that every little kid dreams of growing up and playing. But, as far as the most captivating sport in the country? Football. No question.
I say that first, because what I am about to say may surprise you: The NFL is going to be the best it’s been in years this season. That may be a little hard to believe, because: A) Just a few weeks ago, we weren’t even sure that we’d have an NFL season to talk about, B) Every NFL season in recent memory has been good and seemingly better than the season before it, and C) It sounds like Brett Favre is finally retired, so how can this season possibly live up to the hype provided by Favre’s media circus act the last few years? It can’t right?
Wrong. The NFL is going to be better than ever this season—and not just because we’re all so glad for it to be back. Rather, it’s going to be better than ever because of some of the things that have happened around the league since the lockout ended in late July. To show you what we mean, we’ve put together a list of the five reasons the NFL is back and better than ever right now. If this doesn’t get you ready for some football, we don’t know what will.
1. The league finally has a villain for everyone to root against!
We know what you’re thinking: “What about the New England Patriots!?” And you’re right—to a degree. The Pats have been the most hated team in the league for the last few years now because of the level of excellence that Bill Belichick has established up in New England. But, if you remember, the Pats actually started out as an underdog team back in the early 2000s, which is why they’ve never really been a true villain in the NFL. Sure, plenty of people hate them, but there are plenty of people who love them, too. This new team the Philadelphia Eagles have put together, though? Oh, boy. They’ll about to have everyone outside of the City of Brotherly Love rooting—and rooting hard—against them this season. We all saw what happened when the Miami Heat became the villains of the NBA, right? Automatic excitement and entertainment. We expect the Eagles to do the same.
2. For the first time in forever, holdouts won’t be a factor for NFL teams.
Every year in the NFL, a few key players hold out for larger contracts and we’re stuck listening to the same tired story week after week after week until the players either finally come to terms with their teams on a new contract—or decide to end their holdout. Thanks to the new CBA, those days are over. Players are now fined so severely that you won’t see many players holding out beyond this week. That’s good for the fans who want to see the best players on the field every week.
3. The lack of OTAs and mini-camps will undoubtedly lead to a bunch of surprises at the beginning of the season.
There are always a few teams who overachieve or underachieve during the NFL season. But we expect things to be even more topsy-turvy because of the NFL lockout. With so many free agents joining new teams recently—just a little more than a month before the start of the season—so many rookies trying to adapt to new situations, and so many teams struggling to install new offenses and defenses right now, the first few weeks of the season are bound to be wild. Look for a couple bad teams to perform well, a couple good teams to struggle, and a whole lot of craziness going on within the NFL standings this season.
4. The news about players, teams, coaches, and everything else involved with the world of football will continue to come at us more quickly than in years past.
The bad thing about the lockout? We couldn’t talk about roster moves or make predictions about the 2011 NFL season because, well, we didn’t even know if there would be a 2011 NFL season. The good thing about the lockout? Once it ended, the floodgates broke down and all of that information came to us very quickly. It’s made for a really fun couple of weeks. We don’t expect that to stop anytime soon, either. Right now, most talk shows would be talking about their preseason predictions. But they’ve been so caught up in all of the trades and free agent signings that they haven’t been able to talk about them yet. So they’ll all be forced to play catch-up virtually all year, which will keep us on the edge of our seats as we talk about football 24/7 for the next six months.
5. The NFL lockout has made us appreciate the game now more than ever before.
I’m not sure about you, but I’ve always taken Sunday afternoons in the fall for granted. I’ve come to expect football to be there once one o’clock rolls around on Sunday afternoons. I spent a lot of time this spring and summer wondering what it might be like without the NFL, though, and…well, I didn’t like the thoughts that went through my head. If you’re an NFL fan, you probably did the same. So, how sweet will it be to turn on the TV for the first time this season and watch a kickoff? Technically, the NFL didn’t go anywhere. But it very well could have. And we’d be stuck picking pumpkins and putting up Halloween decorations all fall, instead of kicking it on the couch all day and watching football. It’s the number-one reason that this NFL season will be the best one in years.