The most noteworthy thing about Kickoff Weekend – calling it the first weekend of the season is so passé – is that the players and team personnel stayed in their training camp bubble and avoided the Covid 19 virus.
From September 6-12, just two players and five personnel tested positive.
Now that they are out of camp, the challenge for the players club personnel will be to continue to follow the safety guidelines. The league has told the players they can be fined if they go to bars and clubs.
The success of the season depends on the players being responsible.
–The players also showed they don’t need preseason games to be ready to start the season as most of the games were well played. Maybe the public needs them to get in the mood to watch football. The TV ratings for the prime-time games on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights were all down. As well as the CBS Sunday games. What saved the day was Tom Brady’s debut in Tampa Bay. That was the Fox doubleheader game and it was up eight per cent. The Fox regional games were up seven per cent. Now the question is whether the ratings will improve in the coming weeks. The drop will be blamed on some on the league’s promotion of social justice, but it is uncertain if that was a major factor.
–Two aging quarterbacks who changed teams, Brady and Philip Rivers, both threw two picks – Brady’s second was a Pick Six – and lost to the Saints and Jaguars. Brady’s second one was an obvious poor throw, but coach Bruce Arians raised some eyebrows by blaming Brady for misreading the coverage on the first one. The Colts didn’t punt once in their loss to the Jaguars, but Rivers’ two picks and the Colts’ failure to convert on a fourth down instead of taking a field goal made the difference.
–The Kansas City Chiefs looked like a team that can repeat by opening with an easy win over the Texans. They now the Chargers on the road and then play at the Ravens on Monday night and then are home against the Patriots. If they start off 4-0, there will be talk about them running the table because the Saints may be their only tough foe the rest of the way.
–Bill Belichick plugged in Cam Newton at quarterback, changed the offense to suit his running style and beat the Dolphins. But Belichick doesn’t figure to win another Super Bowl as long as Patrick Mahomes stays healthy in Kansas City.
–The Lions blew a 17-point fourth period lead against the Bears but still could have won it if rookie D’Andre Swift hadn’t dropped a pass in the end zone with six seconds left.
–Kickers were shaky as they missed 19 field goal attempts, the worst first weekend record since 1982. Is this a trend or just a fluke? We will see.
–The officials also called only 18 offensive holding calls, a 78 per cent drop from the first week last year. Did the league tell the officials they were calling too many ticky tacky holding calls? This bears watching.