NFL Season Kicks Off

The first week of September at Swarthmore College is always full of excitement. Not only did classes resume this past week after three months of summer break, but the National Football League returned to screens for its first week of the 2019-2020 season. The week was full of dramatic matchups and was a great preview of the upcoming season.

On Thursday, Sept. 5, the Green Bay Packers traveled to Chicago, Illinois to play their long-time rivals the Chicago Bears to kick off the 100th season of the NFL. The game resulted in a 10-3 victory for the Packers, who lead 98-95-6 in overall matchups against the Bears.

It’s fitting that the first game of the 100th NFL season was between the Packers and the Bears. This historic rivalry between the two teams began in 1921 and celebrates the traditional competitive spirit of the NFL.

On Sunday, September 8, thirteen games were broadcast including fan favorites such as the Philadelphia Eagles, the Baltimore Ravens, and defending 2019 Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots. 

The Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers with a decisive win 33-3. During this game, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady covered 341 yards and threw three touchdown passes to kick off his 20th season. Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett scored two touchdowns and wide receiver Josh Gordon scored one touchdown for the Patriots during the game. 

At 42 years old, Tom Brady is considered one of the most fearsome players in the league. After joining the Patriots in 2000, the team has found great success and are entering the 2019-2020 season as defending Super Bowl champions. The Patriots are also predicted to be serious contenders to win the Super Bowl this year. Another Super Bowl victory would earn them most Super Bowl wins overall in the league.

One of the biggest NFL controversies of the season so far has been initiated by Patriots’ wide receiver Antonio Brown. After starting with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010, Brown left the team amid controversy in December of 2018.

Brown was picked up in 2019 by the Oakland Raiders only to cause a fiasco over the team’s new helmets. Brown was adamant that he should be allowed to wear his helmet from the previous year, causing multiple practice interruptions and disagreements between him and his coaches.

Brown was benched indefinitely after multiple other squabbles regarding the use of his old helmet as well as skipping practice multiple times. He then took to Instagram to ask for the termination of his contract with the Raiders publicly. After his hasty release, Brown was immediately picked up by the Patriots this week on Saturday, September 7. The controversy did not stop there. Brown was just recently accused of sexual assault by a former personal trainer of his. He has denied the accusations and countersued the alleged victim. It is unclear whether or not Brown will suit up this upcoming Sunday. 

One of the most devastating defeats of the first week resulted from the Baltimore Ravens playing the Miami Dolphins. The Ravens annihilated the Dolphins with a 59-10 victory, going up 42-10 by halftime and setting an NFL record for number of points scored during the first half of an opener. This was certainly a disheartening first game of the season for Dolphins fans.

Next week the Dolphins will have to face the Patriots and this matchup could result in another devastating loss for the Dolphins if their playing style from this previous week carries over. 

2018 Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles narrowly pulled out a win for their first  match of the season against Washington 32-27. The Eagles are Swarthmore’s home team and spirits are high for the beginning of the season. Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver DeSean Jackson to clinch the game and close a 17-point gap against Washington. 

This is Jackson’s first game back with the Eagles since 2013 after he was cut by the Eagles’ former head coach Chip Kelly. The Eagles now play under head coach Doug Pederson, who has been with the team since 2016 and helped lead them to their Super Bowl victory in 2018. Pederson is reported to be signed on as head coach for the Eagles through the 2022 NFL season. 

The results of this game were closer than expected, since the Eagles were projected to win much more easily. However, this is only the first game of the season for the Eagles, and it seems like they’re off to a great start. 

After this disappointing loss to the Eagles, Washington will have an opportunity to redeem themselves when they go up against the Dallas Cowboys this upcoming Sunday, September 15. 

So what’s next? This week was only a preview of the upcoming season, full of unexpected wins and a couple of heartbreaking losses. Although it’s only 1/17th of the way through the season, there will be plenty more exciting matchups to watch for this upcoming weekend as we transition from week one of the NFL to week two. 

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