NFL Kicks Off Tonight

Ah, what a joyous day it is. Our old friend the National Football League is back in town, with a terrific opening night matchup (New Orleans at Indy). Everyone will be talking about Reggie Bush going in, but I have a feeling that Joseph Addai will be the real difference maker.

The Panthers open in St. Louis on Sunday, and it’s also an interesting matchup. Jake Delhomme has to be looking over his shoulder at former #1 overall pick David Carr, and John Fox is reportedly coaching for his job this year. Lots of talk about Torry Holt’s knee still not being 100% (which is why I targetted Drew Bennett as my favorite fantasy sleeper).

Enjoy the action – the NFL is easily the best professional sports league, and I would argue that it is the best sports league of any kind (college basketball’s regular season is less interesting, and college football’s post-season is absurd). The post-season is staged perfectly, and they have found the perfect mix for competitive balance and maximum effort from the players (no guaranteed contracts, a “hard” salary cap, and equal revenue sharing). Indeed, the “rising tide lifts all boats” saying has worked very well for the NFL. Every team has a shot, if it is run properly – as close to a true meritocracy as there can be in sports.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

'07 Football General

44 Responses to NFL Kicks Off Tonight

  1. MadWolf92 09/06/2007 at 12:59 PM #

    My vote is for the EPL. I could start a team in the heart of any city (not true with the NFL,) and if I run it properly, I could reach the highest ranks. Each season is a bit unbalanced perhaps, but over the long run it’s more of a meritocracy than *any* US league.

  2. noah 09/06/2007 at 1:48 PM #

    It’s crazy to me that Fox is on the hotseat. The guy’s a terrific coach.

    BTW, interesting article in the Jacksonville paper about the Jaguars. Apparently, their long term future in Florida is seriously in doubt. They aren’t making money, they owe a lot in debt services and the economics of the city are really killing them. I figured you could put the NFL in any city and they’d do well. The hard cap, the shared revenue in merchandising and TV money pretty much guarantees a profit.

    Apparently not. We may be hearing about the Los Angeles Jaguars soon.

  3. BJD95 09/06/2007 at 2:35 PM #

    ^ I agree, noah. Fox would have to screw the pooch 2 more years before I would ask any questions. You have to be a special kind of fuck-up in order to lose money with an NFL team.

  4. Wulfpack 09/06/2007 at 3:17 PM #

    Fox is indeed a terrific coach but that doesn’t mean that he is excused from having to perform from year to year. Let us not forget just how bad the Panthers looked at times last year. If you fail to make the playoffs with a talented but aging team two years in a row, as a PSL holder, it’s fine by me to ask as many questions as you want. Bottom line is if he doesn’t get it done this year you can make a pretty sure bet that Jerry Richardson will have him and Marty Hurney in the office asap.

  5. highonlowe 09/06/2007 at 3:26 PM #

    A dependable running game would solve a lot of the panther’s problems, and looking at the OL, I doubt that would will occur this year.

  6. highonlowe 09/06/2007 at 3:30 PM #

    Just for the fun of it –

    AFC East – NE
    AFC South – Indy
    AFC North – Baltimore
    AFC West – San Diego
    AFC Wild Card – NYJets
    AFC Wild Card – Cincinnati
    AFC Championship – San Diego vs. NE

    NFC East – Philly
    NFC South – NO
    NFC North – Chicago
    NFC West – San Fran
    NFC Wild Card – Dallas
    NFC Wild Card – Arizona
    NFC Championship – NO vs. Chicago

    SUPER BOWL XLII – San Diego over NO, 34 – 17

  7. partialqualifier 09/06/2007 at 4:01 PM #

    First…I got to watch NC State in Carter-Finley
    Now…I get the NFL!

    Damn…I love the fall!

    Big game this weekend….Chicago @ San Diego! First chance to see if Norv Turner can hack it.

    As for the Jaguars….I was looking for tickets to their home game against San Diego and was shocked at how close I could get tickets for a reasonable price. I asked a guy down there who follows the team closely and he told me that they had to close about 2/3 of the upper deck last year in order to sell advertising to make money! That is unreal! Maybe Jax just aint a sports town…but then again they hadn’t had a decent offense there in a decade!

  8. lush 09/06/2007 at 4:02 PM #

    ^^ they lost two starters on the o-line last year. with gross and the other guy back they should be much better than last year.

    the nfc is like the eastern conference in the nba, their best team is 5th at best in the afc. the panthers dont have to be that good to win. i think if morgan stays healthy (big if) or beason can really play, panthers are good for ten wins and a playoff lock.

    ^i agree with everything but arizona, i think it will be either the saints or panthers in that wild card spot opposite dallas. saints have lots of ???s on dfense and as good as reggie bush is i dont think they can possibly perform as well on offense as they did last year.

  9. Cosmo96 09/06/2007 at 4:06 PM #

    Unfortunately, I fully expect another underachieving year for the Panthers. I know the preseason means nothing in the grand scheme, but I really didn’t see anything that told me that this would be a better team this year. Who knows, maybe there will be a shakeup at QB, and it will be exactly what they need.

    Also, maybe I’m the only one, but I’ve really developed a strong contempt for the city of New Orleans, and thus, the Saints. It doesn’t help that they have the biggest hype machine on their team since Michael Vick. Go Colts.

  10. noah 09/06/2007 at 4:13 PM #

    I don’t think 8-8 is underachieving for the Panthers.

    When they went to the Super Bowl, they had a healthy OL, a healthy and young DL, a healthy Dan Morgan and the best RB the team has ever produced in Stephen Davis.

    Davis has retired, last year they lost two starters off the OL, Mike Rucker is a shadow of his former self, Kris Jenkins hasn’t been healthy since the Super Bowl season, and Dan Morgan is one concussion away from drooling into a cup.

    Plus, they lost Moose and Will Weatherspoon to FA. Mike Minter is gone, Deon Grant is gone.

    They need to find a legitimate left tackle (Travelle Wharton is at best a solid backup). They need a between the tackles RB. They need to totally overhaul the safeties and they need to overcome the retirement of Dan Morgan, the drafting of Thomas Davis (over Derrick Johnson of the Chiefs…D’OH!) and the loss of ‘Spoon.

    They’re two years away.

  11. beowolf 09/06/2007 at 4:33 PM #

    I agree with BJD on the relative perfection of the NFL.

    For me, one of the great things is that I don’t “have” a team. I can enjoy all the games. I tend to support those with NC State connections, but I haven’t latched onto a team, and I cherish that — I can enjoy all the games for the pure sport of them.

    So why I am not a committed Panthers fan? Frankly, if they wanted a Wolfpack partisan like me to support them, they wouldn’t have insisted on calling the team “Carolina” and given it a funny light blue color.

  12. lush 09/06/2007 at 4:55 PM #

    ^ i used to think that same exact thing. i used to not pay any attention to the nfl (other than highlights) because i didnt have a local team to root for. then when we got the panthers there was the whole “carolina and funny light blue color” however, after the superbowl run ive been hooked.

    funny thing about that super bowl…. bill simmons sums it up best “I’m beginning to think that Jake Delhomme brainwashed America to irrationally believe in him during Super Bowl XXXVIII right after NippleGate happened.”

  13. StateFoxer 09/06/2007 at 5:03 PM #

    ^^ beowulf, I know how you feel. My hope is that eventually we’ll have been around long enough to get a complete overhaul on the jersey. All black, black and white, khaki, magenta. I don’t really care. Anything would be better then that God awful Windex blue.

  14. TNCSU 09/06/2007 at 5:22 PM #

    I’m about ready for the Panthers to draft a Wolfpack player, too. They’ve had numerous chances – Cotchery comes to mind several years ago, and I still don’t think they’ve drafted a Wolfpacker in their history. I still root for them even with their colors….the Seahawks are too far away, and they don’t have Efren Herrera, Jim Zorn or Steve Largent anymore…oh well 🙂

  15. BJD95 09/06/2007 at 5:24 PM #

    The Panthers’ preseason performance was, at times, dowright terrifying. Like they could be worse instead of better this season.

    I enjoy pretty much all NFL games, although I do have 2 teams that I consider myself a fan of – Denver (existing allegiance) and Carolina (new allegiance). When the 2 have played, I cheer for whichever team needs the win more (i.e., the team most likely to make a playoff/Super Bowl run). They looked to be on the Super Bowl collision course a few years ago, and that would have been a strange game for me to watch.

    I do wish they had gone with “Charlotte Panthers” instead. Same thing with the damned hockey team.

  16. noah 09/06/2007 at 5:26 PM #

    They’ve never drafted a State player, but Mark Thomas, former Pack DE, played for them. So did Eric Swann, former NC State commitment.

    Had they not traded TWO (count ’em! One! TWO!) first-round draft picks for Sean Gilbert, they probably would have drafted Torry Holt. I think that’s right. I think Holt went two picks after what would have been the Panthers’ pick.

  17. highonlowe 09/06/2007 at 5:36 PM #

    lush, arizona’s defense is going to be a little more solid this year and they have plenty of offensive weapons. As for Dallas, I think Romo had his blip and will now promptly regress.
    As for the jags, I think Goodell would rather grant Toronto a team than see another club with lackluster support in LA.
    Aren’t the Browns being shopped around also?

  18. beowolf 09/06/2007 at 5:38 PM #

    I’ve been a fan of the Steelers (Bill Cowher) so long that I favor them generally even with Cowher out, but I still don’t get crazy about them. It was great seeing them win the Super Bowl, though.

    I watch a lot of NFL games, though — it’s not that I don’t pay attention. And the last couple of years my office has had its own Fantasy Football League, so now I watch even more games.

  19. drewhuff 09/06/2007 at 5:39 PM #

    Did anyone see any of hard knocks: cheifs training camp on hbo? Tank tyler was looking really good. He is also the comedic part of every show. That guy cracks me up.

  20. highonlowe 09/06/2007 at 5:41 PM #

    Agree. The windex blue and lame logo makes any panthers gear unpurchaseable.
    I almost hope they bomb this year just so Fox can draft a decent QB. (Matt Ryan/Brian Brohm anyone?)

  21. tvp 09/06/2007 at 6:52 PM #

    I might be in the minority, but I’m not a big NFL fan. The parity in the NFL makes the regular season seem boring to me. I probably wouldn’t watch much at all if I didn’t play fantasy football.

    Lack of a team probably has something to do with that (agree with beo re: the panthers, plus I don’t like Charlotte in general). Now that I’ve moved to DC I considered adopting the Redskins, but between State and the Braves I have enough disappointing sports teams in my life as is.

    I’d disagree pretty strongly with English soccer being the ultimate meritocracy…it’s pretty much the polar opposite of the NFL. Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United can spend so much more than their counterparts, the other teams have little chance of winning. The European Soccer Leagues are more like baseball, though even baseball has seen its share of mid market teams win in recent years.

  22. BJD95 09/06/2007 at 8:04 PM #

    The color does make it hard to buy Panthers stuff, but not impossible. My Panthers NFC championship hat is black, and my shirt is gray with “Panthers Football” in black lettering.

    Perhaps the best thing about the Panthers is that I no longer have to suffer through damned Redskins games. Even when they were good, they were dreadfully boring.

    LA folks kind of like not having a team, in that they aren’t locked into regional coverage anymore. I remember reading that a few years ago.

    My Super Bowl pick is San Diego over Philly.

  23. MadWolf92 09/06/2007 at 10:10 PM #

    Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United can spend so much more than their counterparts because they’ve built their brand *on merit*. There’s no barrier to entering the marketplace, however. I can put a team right smack in the middle of London and build my brand, too. Try putting an NFL team in New York.

  24. bTHEredterror 09/06/2007 at 11:26 PM #

    I’m a Philly fan, and the fact that the Panthers have never even accepted a rookie free agent from State stinks to me. I still pull for them, but one of my worst days was the upset they pulled in the Linc (of course they were doping, but who keeps track of these things). I was almost numb by then because of the TB game the year before to close the Vet, but it still stung me. If Philly gets to the bowl this year, I think they would win it, I just don’t think they have enough on D to make it that far. I was genuinely pissed when Trotter got cut, especially after watching Pitt run all over them a few days later.

  25. choppack1 09/06/2007 at 11:33 PM #

    Hard Knocks – Fantastic show…A little trivia – in the locker room, I think a former State OL is mentioned in a story by one of the Chief’s OL’s. Big George Hegamin. Noah – you’re not the only one who can play this game ;).

    As for the show itself – it really puts into perspective the high risk/high reward line these guys walk. I can see why players on “the bubble” would take performance enhancing drugs. Financially, it makes a lot of since.

    Watching the Horseshoes tonight – Peyton Manning and his receivers are flat out amazing. And their D looks great tonight too.

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