Game On! NFL Celebrates 100 Years!
By Kendall Haney
This is for you Dad…
The first quarter of the NFL’s 100th year has been met with few surprises as the league celebrates its long history of quality entertainment. The players, like modern gladiators of historical lore, earn lots of fanfare and (ahem) money. And, for good reason. They put their current and long-term health on the line every week.
Let’s start with the winners. The New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs look like the two best teams in the league. There is competition from, most notably, the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, and New Orleans Saints. But, let’s be honest here, the top two teams look like they are far ahead of the rest.
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew has developed a large following in the wake of the injury to former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Minshew has been lauded for his gamesmanship and interesting handlebar moustache, bringing us all back to the glory days of the 1970s. He looks like he’s the ‘real deal’ to many.
The San Francisco 49ers are also among other winners at this stage as they are unbeaten and much improved from last year’s squad. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott also appears well on his way to earning a huge payday this year based on his stellar play so far.
Unfortunately, there must also be some losers in the first quarter with more certain to follow. We’ll start with the benching of New York Giant quarterback Eli Manning. The two-time Super Bowl winner’s poor play hastened the decision, and his career looks like it’s nearly finished.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are another loser as the team appears to be heading toward its first losing record in years. The Miami Dolphins, however, are both losers and winners at this stage. They are undoubtedly the worst team in the league but are almost assured of landing the top pick in next year’s draft and have stockpiled other high picks while trading away their existing talent for the future.
Finally, the biggest ‘loser’ is in a category all by himself. Former Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, and New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown threw away close to $39 million in guaranteed salary after assaulting an Oakland Raiders’ executive, and for other bad behavior. The Patriots signed him after Brown’s release from Oakland for a ‘measly’ $9 million guaranteed but then released him after allegations of assault became public.
The NFL season is akin to a marathon in many respects. Fortunes shift. Some teams that have a rough start end up in the playoffs while other early season surprise teams fall by the wayside come December. If anything is clear, the NFL is the biggest winner in all of this as it continues to get record earnings in TV, merchandizing, and through other revenue streams.
Who says I didn’t pay a little attention amid all those nachos?