Let’s face it, America… You need a little break. With a steady stream of news that could make even the most Zen soul’s heart pound, the United States heartily deserves a brief respite from the constant shitstorms that are swirling around the nation at every waking second. Enter: the breath of fresh air known as football season, a delightful time when the country can sit back, relax and focus on what really matters by trading Tweetstorms for tailgates, political upheaval for locker room trash talk and… wings. Lots and lots of wings. Heading into the NFL’s 98th season, here are some reasons why you should be psyched for Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays – at least until January. More wings, please.
Brady’s Back, Baby!
Sure, everyone’s favorite (or least favorite) quarterback may now be 40 years old. For an NFL superstar, that’s pretty up there, but it’s apparent Brady isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Fresh off his triumphant come-from-behind Super Bowl victory earlier this year (apologies for the reminder, Atlanta fans), Gisele’s husband seems keen on continuing to defying the odds and extending his incredible reign as one of the most powerful and talented names in the league. With fellow Pats star Julian Edelman out for the entire upcoming season after tearing his pesky ACL, the pressure is on Brady even more: not only to continue to live up to his own lofty expectations, but to help New England score yet another Super Bowl ring.
L.A., Meet the Chargers
After San Diego’s beloved team became a lot less beloved upon ditching their hometown after a half century, the Chargers are gearing up for their grand Los Angeles debut. Of course, there’s been some missteps leading up to the move (their new logo reminiscent of the Dodgers was scrapped two days after it was unveiled, for one), but there’s no denying that new and rebooted teams bring a freshness to the league. Now, the only question that remains is whether the Chargers will fit Los Angeles like a snug jersey or fizzle out faster than their new logo. As for San Diego, at least you have… the Padres?
The Falcons’ New Nest
The Chargers aren’t the only ones making moves this season. Another team on the run are the Falcons, though these guys are merely switching stadiums as opposed to cities. The 2017 season will mark Atlanta’s first in their swanky Mercedes Benz Stadium, the NFL’s newest venue, which features everything from a 100-yard-long bar to an immense retractable roof inspired by the Roman Pantheon. In other words, it’ll be the perfect place for the Falcons to shake off their heartbreaking Super Bowl loss and look ahead to the future.
Green Bay Comes to Play
The last time the Packers won the Super Bowl was seven long years ago, following a season when the only thing people worried about was the Y2K apocalypse. If you listen to the pundits, they’re poised to do it all again this season… sans worldwide fears of technical collapse, that is. Coming off of a respectable 2016 season which saw the team go on a six-game win streak and clinch the NFC North, the Packers with the mighty Aaron Rodgers at the helm have yet another shot of Super Bowl glory. With the Patriots also eyed to dominate, if February brings an epic matchup between Rodgers and Brady it’d be the team’s first Big Game face-off since 1996.
The 2017 season is chock full of rookies who are poised to either achieve NFL stardom or, well, just whimper out. Among the most notable include Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey (son of Broncos player Ed) and Marlon Mack who could turn into Indianapolis’s next great hope. Then there’s Derek Rivers, who heads to the Patriots star machine from a star-making turn of his own at Youngstown State.
Welcome to Miami
When Jay Cutler wrapped up his time with the Chicago Bears last season, he thought he was looking at retirement in the face. Then, the Dolphins lose their quarterback (poor Ryan Tannehill hurt his left leg in a season-ending injury) and Cutler swoops in to save the day. Whether or not the QB will rise to the occasion is another story, but there is a chance that pairing Cutler with the Dolphins could be exactly what they both need. At the very least do it for Ryan, Jay!
When the infamous coach was dumped from the New York Jets two years ago, Rex Ryan trekked upstate to see if he can turns things around for both himself and a beleaguered Bills. Not only did neither pan out, but they failed so spectacularly that the squad has now collected so many L’s that the team has the dubious distinction of having not only the NFL’s longest active drought, but of all four major professional sports leagues in the country. (Ouch.) Now with Ryan in the rearview (he was last seen sending a good ol’ fuck you to his former organization and later getting into a bar fight with his twin brother Rob), the Bills are in the hands of Sean McDermott who as Defensive Coordinator led the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50 in 2016. The bad news is that going into the season, two of the Bills’ quarterbacks are MIA thanks to concussion injuries. The good news? No Rex Ryan to deal with!
Three Words: Youngest. Coach. Ever.
Fresh off of a cringe-worthy debut season in Los Angeles, the next step for the L.A. Rams is bringing aboard Sean McVay: the single youngest coach ever hired to helm an NFL team. Following a successful run as a Offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins, McVay will attempt to work his youthful magic in Los Angeles where he’ll either be in over his head or lift up the sagging team. For the sake of L.A.’s floundering fanbase, let’s hope it’s the latter.
Amazon, Meet Football
With more and more Americans chucking their cable boxes and opting for streaming services, the sports and entertainment industry at large is scrambling to find as many ways as they possibly can to show you the latest action on the field. Case in point: After Amazon.com first dominated books, then dominated, well… pretty much everything, the site snapped up the rights to 10 NFL games over the course of the upcoming season, available only to Prime subscribers. That’s right: This fall, you’ll be able to order a wholesale package of toilet paper while watching Transparent and checking out an NFL game. With that in mind, Jeff Bezos will own all of us soon.
It’s a Trump-Free Zone
Perhaps the most exciting reason about the upcoming season? Aside from perhaps a protestor here or a mention there, NFL football will soon become the only place on earth where people aren’t talking about Donald Trump. Regardless of what you think about his presidency, isn’t it great knowing that for at least a few hours every week you can check out, relax and not think about a thing? We thought so too. You need this, America. Enjoy.