3 Takeaways From This Season Thus Far
In Backups We Trust
Setbacks are inevitable. In every NFL season, each team will experience multiple personnel losses. The most devastating, and often disastrous, occur at the most important position in sports— quarterback. Within the first few weeks, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Eli Manning, Nick Foles, Drew Brees, and Ben Roethlisberger all required replacing with backups. The results? Better than expected:
- Jacob Brissett and Teddy Bridgewater impressed, going 3-2 and 3-1, respectively
- Gardner Minshew II and Kyle Allen far outperformed expectations, showing some special talent along the way
- Daniel Jones led a thrilling game winning drive in his first career start
Many said these teams were hopeless without their starting QBs. All have responded with resounding performances, proving that the backups are not just capable players, but star players.
New Rules Make No Sense
This NFL season is replay happy. Over the summer, the NFL passed a new rule allowing coaches to challenge pass interference calls. This was in response to numerous missed calls throughout the 2018 season, most notably in the NFC Championship game.
So how is this rule going? In short, terrible.
The new rule was implemented to avoid disaster. But, as Tony Dungy said on NBC’s Football Night in America, “I thought this was going to be a disaster… and I believe it is.” Coaches are challenging pass interference, but they rarely get overturned.
In a crucial play late in the 4th quarter of their game against the Chiefs, Colts receiver TY Hilton was called for offensive PI. Colts head coach Frank Reich challenged the call. Multiple replays show Hilton barely contacting the defender. Yet, it was not overturned. There have not been any blatant miscalls yet, but it’s only a matter of time before this new rule drastically impacts the outcome of a game.
The Future is Here
For years, the NFL has been dominated by the same elite class of QB. The group of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, and Ben Roethlisberger has dominated the league for years, redefining every record imaginable. They have largely been untouched by time— the average age of that group is 38. Their careers are nearing the end.
With the fall of one group comes the rise of another. Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, and others are taking the baton from the old guard. Wilson and Jackson are dual-threat MVP candidates that have the ability to change any game with their arm or their feet. Goff, Watson, Prescott, and Wentz are young and still have plenty of room to grow.
And then there is Mahomes. Simply put, he may be the most talented QB in the history of the league, and he is only 24. After winning MVP last year, he has put up insane numbers through the first month. More so than the stats, his style of play simply cannot be ignored. He does things with football that no other person in the league would even think of doing. He gained fame with no look passes and creative scrambles, and has continued to add to the highlight tape. Patrick Mahomes is already one of the most unstoppable QBs of all time, and he is just getting started.
The first month is done. There are still more than 10 games left to play in the season. The first stretch has taught us a lot, but we still have more questions than answers for almost every team in the league. But, the NFL season is back, and there is more to talk about than ever.