Kicking Off the NFL Season

Isaiah Seo, Photojournalist

Boom!  The 2016-17 NFL season has successfully kicked off!  People all over the world are celebrating as the long wait since February is finally over.  As usual, there was and is a huge amount of hype over the season this year.  Whether it’s Super Bowl favorites, fantasy football sleepers, or controversial stands on the national anthem, nearly everybody is excited about something for this season.


The NFL season kicked off on the night of Thursday, September 8, exactly where it left off: Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers, which was the Super Bowl matchup last year.  As soon as the football was off the tee in the first kickoff of the season, the NFL energy kicked into hyperdrive.  The Broncos and Panthers started it off with a nailbiter in which the Broncos narrowly pulled out a 21-20 victory, and the excitement is not going to slow down from here on out.  A few of the favorites for this year’s season include the Carolina Panthers, the Green Bay Packers, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Seattle Seahawks, and a couple of others.  


In a most likely biased opinion, Shiven Rawal (10) claimed that “the Raiders are gonna go all the way this year, mark my words.”  


However, as it is every year, there are always surprise teams, breakout performances, and unpredictable outcomes, which are the reasons why American football is so appealing.  Since it has only been one week out of a seventeen week season, it is still anybody’s game.  The 32 NFL teams are not the only football teams that fans care about, though.


Fantasy football is a game that has evolved to gain almost as much hype as the actual NFL season itself.  It is played online in leagues in which each person has his or her own team made up of actual NFL players who they drafted before the season started.  Every week, players earn points based on their performances in their actual games, and the fantasy team owners try to put together a team that gains more fantasy points than the fantasy team they are playing against.  Fantasy football takes great amounts of intuition, research, and not a little bit of luck.  Normally, fantasy outputs for players are pretty random, but there are always a handful of players who can be relied on to produce every week.  


In recent years, running-backs were the powerhouses of fantasy football. However, the game of football has evolved, and this year the major weapons are wide receivers, such as Antonio Brown of the Steelers, Julio Jones of the Falcons, and Odell Beckham Jr. of the Giants.  These may be the top players in the league, but again, there are always crafty sleepers who may be under the radar but could have a huge year, such as Dak Prescott, quarterback for the Cowboys, or Torrey Smith, receiver for the 49ers.  Speaking of the 49ers, one of the major controversies of the beginning of the season is credited to one of their players.


Colin Kaepernick, backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, has taken a major controversial stand on the football field.  Kaepernick has decided to kneel instead of stand during the national anthem before football games in protest of civil issues going on within the country.  Some say that he is disrespecting his country that protects him, others say that his protest is well founded.  Whatever the case, his actions caused quite a stir in recent weeks, extending from preseason to now, and it has been and will continue to be one of the major storylines as the NFL season starts up.
Football is a major part of American culture, and the start of the NFL season is a reason for anyone in the United States to celebrate.  Crazy highlights, overtime games, 40 point fantasy performances, or controversial political stands, no matter what, the football season will never fail to entertain, and this year is already looking fantastic.