Western Courier

Celebrating small things in the NFL

Devon Greene, Editor-in-chief

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It’s one of the best times of the year, the NFL season kicks off next week with a matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons.

As the NFL rolls back, we all read articles previewing the season and predictions of every team’s record for the year, but I want to celebrate the small things that make the NFL such a beloved sport around the world.

One of my favorite things to do over the season is trash talk. Whether it be about someone else’s favorite team or about my fantasy team demolishing theirs, it provides me with an unhealthy amount of joy to be able to let them know that I was better than them for at least week.

I’m a fan of the New Orleans Saints and we’re finally good again, so I am salivating for the season to start so I can unleash the pent-up trash talk that I’ve been holding in since our soul-crushing loss against the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs last year.

Speaking about fandoms, watching the antics that some fans put on throughout the NFL season is another one of the things that I am most looking forward to. One of the fandoms that are the most notorious for ridiculous behavior are the fans of the Buffalo Bills, also known as the Bills Mafia.

The Bills Mafia went absolutely bonkers last season and one of the most consistent things that they did was jump and throw people through tables. For research, I looked up “Bills fans compilation” on YouTube and the videos I watched were magical. Large men were throwing women through tables, with consent of course. Guys were jumping off cars and school buses through tables and one of my personal favorites, preforming wrestling moves on flaming tables and catching on fire.

The highlight of the Bills Mafia in 2017 for me was when a fan threw an adult toy on the field during a matchup with the Patriots. The NFL is obviously about the players, but the fans always provide some of the most memorable moments of the season.

One of the more surprising things that I am excited about are the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have been the joke of the NFL for decades and they probably still will be this year but there is actually hope in the Dawg Pound this year. They finally have a quarterback that is not a trashcan or Johnny Manziel. Tyrod Taylor is obviously not Tom Brady or Drew Brees but he’s a step above Uncle Rico or whoever they had under center last season.

The Browns defense looks like it should be fun next year with Miles Garrett running the trenches. My only hope is for the Browns to get at least three wins next year and not have the worst record in the NFL.

Injuries are commonplace in the NFL and one of my favorite things is watching people rebound and tear up the league after their absence. The saddest injury for me last year was Deshaun Watson tearing his ACL in practice.

Watson rejuvenated the Texans on the offensive side of the ball with his dynamic play on the ground and through the air. Watson had proved himself to be one of the best rookies in recent memory and was among the running for rookie of the year even though he missed half the season.

A few other players I am looking forward to watch come back are Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz, and New York Giants’ receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

The Packers were a mess without Rodgers at the helm last season and its completely understandable considering Rodgers is the most talented quarterback in NFL history. I lose my mind watching him play the game sometimes.

He makes passes that I think should be impossible whether it be fitting the ball in-between four defenders or pulling off clutch passes that 99 percent of the quarterbacks in the world wouldn’t be able to. Rodgers does two of my all-time favorite quarterback things.

First, his snap count that is a thorn in every defensive player’s side. Rodgers is a master of drawing a defender offsides and getting a free play for his offense. In three games last season, Rodgers forced eight offsides penalties which resulted in free plays and two touchdowns.

The second thing is his Hail Mary passes. Rodgers has three Hail Mary completions in his career. Rodgers completes the Hail Mary so much, I have begun to call it the Aaron Rodgers. The pass has everything going for it, the drama of a pass with no time left to either tie or win the game, the silence of the crowd as the ball flies through the air and the shoving match that occurs as receivers and defenders jump for the ball.

Some of the smaller things that I am excited for are Carrie Underwood’s performance of the Sunday Night Football anthem, postgame outfits and Skip Bayless’ delusional rantings throughout the season. Underwood has some iconic songs that I am elated to listen to anytime including, “Before He Cheats,” “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “Cowboy Casanova,” but the Sunday Night Football song ranks among my favorites from the country music star.

Cam Newton was the king of the postgame outfit last season with strange hats, ascots, bowties and cubist shirts. I can’t wait to see what Newton brings out this year and to see if he can defend his throne.

Finally, Fox Sports personality Bayless is a massive Dallas Cowboys fan and he will do whatever he can to defend the franchise. He’s made some of the most outlandish claims over the years including the viral tweet from 2014 where he says that the Houston Texans will forever regret the day they didn’t pick Manziel with the first pick in the 2014 draft.

The NFL is storming back, and the teams and franchises make the league good, but it’s the small things that make it one of the greatest leagues in the world.

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Celebrating small things in the NFL