Upcoming NFL Season


Picture by Cody Wilson

   Do not worry, Rebels: the wait for the NFL season is over with the first game on Thursday, September 8th. The upcoming NFL season will kick off with a rematch of the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. All the other teams in the league will get their chance to play on Sunday, September 11. The highly-anticipated Super Bowl 51 will be hosted in the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, with its traditional date of the first Sunday of February.

   There are many expectations and hopes for teams that are major contenders for postseason success. In fact, the most favored team to win is not the Denver Broncos, primarily due to a lack of a quality starting quarterback. While the Broncos are in search for a good quarterback, the New England Patriots get their left tackle, Nate Solder, and their running back, Dion Lewis, back from injuries that had plagued the team in the previous season. Those two, along with the great Tom Brady, inevitably make the Patriots Super Bowl contenders for another year. The Carolina Panthers are also expected to have success in their post-season; however, the Panthers’ success will solely rely on Cam Newton’s growth as a quarterback.

   As proven repeatedly in the National Football League, one should only expect the unexpected. For example, Tajae Sharpe (a fifth-round draft pick) proved that he is a starting-caliber receiver for the Titans with his preseason success. Furthermore, the Cleveland Browns offense showed the NFL a great deal of entertainment during preseason. After years of a “skill drought” that had become a recurring joke throughout the NFL, the Browns now have a multitude of intriguing offensive weapons, including quarterback Robert Griffin III, wide receivers Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon, and cornerback Joe Haden, all of whom have the potential to be starts in the league.

   There have also been several rule changes since the last season of football. Since the 2015-2016 season, the Rules and Competition Committees of the NFL have implemented a plethora of rules, including the automatic ejection of a player with 2 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and the touchback line beginning at the 25 yard line; however, the NFL still has not clarified what determines the process of a complete catch. With the Broncos hosting the Panthers on Friday, I hope every Rebel is ready for a great and competitive season.