2020 NFL Kickoff

Nora Toscano

Quarantine was an extremely troubling and difficult time to begin with, and the absence of professional sports only made it worse. March Madness often brings people together, as does the NHL and MLB. Believe it or not, watching professional sports on television improves the public’s mental health vastly, giving people something to look forward and someone to root for every week.  While the fanbases for March Madness, the NHL, and the MLB are extremely large, the league that gets America the most excited every year is the NFL. Nothing compares to the anxiety you get watching the last few minutes of a game and wondering if your favorite team will be able to score in time. 

Fortunately, the NFL season recently started, and while there are little or no fans allowed at the games, they are televised as usual. The season brings back a sense of normalcy and community. When all else has failed, at least we still have football. 

The Kansas City Chiefs played the Houston Texans to open the season on Thursday, September 10, a rematch of the 2019 AFC divisional playoffs. In 2019, the Chiefs defeated the Texans 51-31, taking them to the AFC championship and then on to win Superbowl LIV. The defending champs, there was a great deal riding on the kickoff game for the Chiefs; fans and football fanatics questioned whether they would be able to maintain their reputation as the strongest team in the league.  Fans were allowed to attend the game as long as they were socially distant, so the Chiefs’ stadium was about 22% full, with 16,000-17,000 fans. This is much less than normal, but players and fans alike can agree it’s better than nothing. In the end, the Chiefs defeated the Texans 34-20. Patrick Mahomes scored three touchdowns, had 211 yards, and completed 24 of 32 passes, while Deshaun Watson had one touchdown, 253 yards, and completed 20/32 passes. Both young, prominent quarterbacks turned 25 that week, and they continue to be two of the most influential quarterbacks of the league.

While the Chiefs-Texans game was incredibly exciting, NFL’s game of the week was the Saints-Buccaneers game on Sunday night. Since Brady’s move to Tampa Bay, and Gronk’s return from retirement to play with him, we had to wonder how good the Bucs were going to be. This game, held in New Orleans, did not allow fans in the stadium. The Saints successfully came away with a win, Drew Brees with 2 touchdowns, 180 yards, and completed 18 of 30 passes. Brady threw two interceptions, had two touchdowns, 239 yards, and completed 23 of 36 passes. Of course, after only one game together, we cannot truly answer the question of whether Brady and Gronk can make the Bucs a champion team, and we can assume that the best is yet to come. 

Overall, the return on the NFL has brought some sense back into these crazy times. Going forward, we can only hope that the players be allowed to play, and fans be allowed to watch and enjoy.