As the NFL season kicked off on Thursday, fans were happy to see teams compete and put on a good show. Although the season started yesterday, fans can expect this season to be different.
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the NFL has given the players an option on whether to play or not. 67 players have decided to sit this season out, the New England Patriots lead the way with 8 players opting out.
Key players that opted out are Green Bay Packers Devin Funchess, Miami Dolphins wide receivers Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns, New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung. New York Giants offensive linemen Nate Solder and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin also opted out.
Reports around the league have stated that some NFL teams will allow fans but limit the amount, while others will have no fans in the stadium.
The Black Lives Matter Protest will be another reason why this season is different. Dating back to 2016 when Colin Kaepernick began to kneel during the anthem for racial injustice, he was shunned upon by owners, players, and fans. The league turned their back on him and ignored what he was fighting for.
The recent events and killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake, were all caused by law enforcement. “This is not the time to ignore what’s going on in the world,” NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell said on Wednesday. During a CNBC appearance, Goodell mentioned the league will back its players who protest.
“We’re supporting our players, we recognize the issues that are going on in our communities. That’s a platform that we want to use to make change and we’re going to do that, we’re going to stand behind our players,” Goodell added.
Some faces around the league have joined new teams. Quarterback Tom Brady left the Patriots after 20 seasons to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Leonard Fournette also joined the Bucs during off season.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater joined the Carolina Panthers, quarterback Cam Newton joined the New England Patriots, wide receiver Deandre Hopkins traded to the Arizona Cardinals and strong safety Jamal Adams traded to the Seattle Seahawks.
According to the 2020 NFL Power Rankings, some teams to watch out for are the Kanas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Seattle Seahawks.
Last night the Kanas City Chiefs took on Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans, beating them 34- 20. The rest of the games remaining in week one, will resume on Sunday.