Yes, kids, the NFL is here! After a long spring and summer filled with free agent signings, draftee holdouts, and…wait, no, we didn’t have any of that. My mistake.
What we actually had was months and months of posturing, lawyers, and millionaires bitching at billionaires over who was getting more of the NFL’s Golden Calf of profits. Finally, both sides realized that if the season had been delayed or canceled, the terrorists would win; lo, there was two weeks of offseason and four weeks of preseason and roster juggling.
Which brought us to now, the glorious kickoff of the greatest show humanity has ever known, NFL football; 32 teams, one champion and one future Hall-of-Famer-less team who suddenly are struggling for an identity.
This will be the first of my weekly NFL columns, which I haven’t technically named yet, so if you have a suggestion for a catchy title, let me know in the comments below.
First off, I’d like to get the look at my game, Eagles at Rams, which I started with a high degree of anticipation; this was going to be our year. The team that went from 1-15 to 7-9 in one year only got better, and The Anointed One, Sam Bradford, Record-Setter and Peyton Manning heir-apparent, was set to lead us back to the promised land of the post-season.
Ol’ #8 went 17 of 30 for 188 yards and no touchdowns. His exemplary accuracy from his rookie season fell to 57%, and all game he overthrew, underthrew, and plain old suckthrew his receivers. Not only that, he left the game with a nerve injury to his finger and may be out for some time.
On top of all that, Steven Jackson, our workhorse and best offensive player, started out the game for the Rams with a 47-yard rushing TD, and he and the fans were all like:
After just one more carry, though, Jackson left the game with a quad injury, didn’t return, and is likely to miss a few games, at least. Cadillac Williams, the Rams’ offseason pickup as Jackson’s backup, had a relatively decent day with 91 yards on 19 carries, but didn’t find the end zone.
The rest of the game pretty much consisted of this:
Eagles win easily, 31-13.
So where does that put the suddenly punch-less Rams? Bradford questionable, Jackson doubtful, and Amendola out, with a Monday night matchup in New York against the Giants next week?
Fucking screwed, that’s where. The 49ers put on a show against Seattle, and the Cardinals allowed 422 yards passing to a rookie and still won. Without the division crown, the Rams’ playoff chances are about as much of a sure thing as a Bernie Madoff informercial.
In Part 2 of the inaugural NFL Kickoff column, we’ll discuss three questions that became infinitely more important after the first game of the year. Read Part 2 here.