Yes, I’m ready.
I found myself watching the Florida-Miami game last week, rooting for the Canes for no particular reason other than I think they were the underdog, when it occurred to me —
I’m ready for some football.
But I want the pros. Nothing against college football, but I’ve always enjoyed the pro game more. And the fact that I was watching an August college matchup between two teams I’m not particularly fond of tells me we are on the brink. Enough of these farcical exhibition games NFL, bring on the real stuff!
So here’s a quick Top 10 appetizer as SportsAttic takes a zip around the NFL as the season’s first set of games descends upon us:
- Yup, it’s gotta start with a quick acknowledgment of Andrew Luck’s decision to call it a career. In this day of social media and “fake news,” the rumor mill and conspiracy theorists were bound to turn Luck’s retirement announcement into more than it needed to be. Can’t we just applaud Luck’s maturity and guts? There can never be “good” timing for such an announcement, so stop with the whining all you haters. Vontae Davis did the same thing at halftime of a game in progress last year, and was vilified for his decision. Barry Sanders? Jim Brown? If you were a Lions or Browns fan, you were understandably crushed when your star walked away earlier than you were ready for to happen. But this is clearly the player’s decision to make. Give Luck a break for gosh sakes, and wish him well. Andrew Luck is somebody’s kid, and preserving a young man’s long-term well being should be something we can all relate to. Colts fans booing? Both understandable and inexcusable. Move on Indy, and here’s hoping Jacoby Brissett has a big year and the Colts make the playoffs.
2. I’m seeing 10 wins (including one over the Patriots) and a playoff berth for the 2019 New York Jets. But here’s saying that the most important change to the Airplanes this year won’t prove to be adding Le’Veon Bell, or the year-two maturation and improvement of Sam Darnold, but rather the signing of veteran center Ryan Kalil off the retired list. This guy will make the entire offense better and is worth at least two wins just by showing up.
3. Could I ever be more of sick of a player than I am of Antonio Brown right now? There’s been a lot of horse’s asses we’ve seen pass through the NFL over the years, but this guy is an all-time, Mount Rushmore-worthy malcontent. I also must admit it makes me happy to know Jon Gruden will have to deal with this creep all season while planning his money-driven exodus from Oakland to Vegas next year.
4. Who’s our biggest short for the 2019 NFL season? Look no further than last year’s Super Bowl runner ups. Sean McVay may not look like quite the genius he was a year ago when the dust settles on this year’s Los Angeles Rams. I’m seeing 9-7, regression on both sides of the ball, and a second place finish.
5. Can Patrick Mahomes actually improve on his superhuman performance of a year ago? And if he does, can Andy Reid still find a way to have his Chiefs come up small in the playoffs? Yes. And yes.
6. Is it mean spirited to hope that both Jerry Jones and Ezekiel Elliott end up losing big in their ridiculous contract stalemate? Here’s hoping the holdout lasts until a few games in, when Jones is forced to cave while looking at a 1-4 Cowboys start. He then overpays the petulant running back to return and save the Cowboys’ season, only to see Elliott tear a hamstring his first game back. Hey, a boy can dream, can’t he?
7. Somehow I anticipate quite a different negotiation process to take place when it comes time for the Giants to pay Saquon Barkley. In the meantime, we’ll be forced to dream about what this beast will one day accomplish once he’s finally rewarded with a good offensive line to open holes for him.
8. Can anyone hazard a guess as to what Jimmy Garoppolo shows us this year in San Francisco? Can he be as good as what we saw before the injury in 2017? Or as bad as what we’ve seen during the preseason this year? Yeah, somewhere in between lies the answer, but that is a vast divide.
9. I sure hope the Falcons make the playoffs this year, or at least continue to take a patient approach in allowing Dan Quinn to hold onto his job as head coach down in Atlanta. The work Quinn does with veterans groups is an example for all, and the type of individual the NFL needs more of.
10. Yeah, the Browns are going to be scary good, and fun to watch for a long time, aren’t they?
Fire it up, NFL — I’m ready.