Five Things to Watch: NFL Week 1

Five things I’ll be looking at in the first week of the 2017 NFL season:

1. How will Tom Brady play in the Patriots Thursday night opener against the Chiefs?

At age 40, Brady has shown no signings of slowing down in training camp. And if Brady is still Brady, they are three games – two home playoff games and the Super Bowl – away from a sixth Super Bowl title before they inflate their first football.

With Brady, they are a lock to make the playoffs again since they play in a division with the Jets, Bills and Dolphins. But sometimes aging quarterbacks can just suddenly fall off a cliff. Or decline slowly.

Brady will be under the microscope for any signs of slowing down all season. Oh, and the other thing about the opener is the reception the Patriots fans will give Roger Goodell. How many will wear the clown T-shirt that defensive coordinator Matt Patricia wore getting off the plane after the Super Bowl? What will their signs say?

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Where have all the (great) coaches gone?

When the AFL-NFL merger was finalized in 1970, the NFL featured nine Hall of Fame head coaches and would have had a tenth if Vince Lombardi hadn’t died that year.

The nine were Paul Brown, Chuck Noll, Tom Landry, Bud Grant, Don Shula, Weeb Ewbank, John Madden, Hank Stram and George Allen.

Flash forward to the upcoming NFL season.

At the moment, there is one sure fire Hall of Famer on the sidelines – Bill Belichick – although there’s always a chance a younger coach may emerge.

The league doesn’t have the larger-than-life figures who were great leaders on the sidelines. They have too many play-callers who don’t know how to manage the game.

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