It has been seven months since the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers in between Super Bowl commercials to become Champions of the World (of a sport featuring only American teams!?). After months of players changing teams, a shocking amount of crime, and half listening to the ramblings of your Fantasy Football playing friends, the 2013 NFL season is set to begin. Now and throughout the season The Gal's Got Game will be here to keep you up to date with the sometimes controversial but always exciting goings on in the NFL.
There are dozens of storylines heading into 2013 but we're going to highlight just a few here. Keep in mind that this is just the tip of the iceberg!
The New England Patriots Circus
There's always a reason to watch the Patriots, even if it's just for a glimpse of quarterback Tom Brady's eyes through his facemask. New England has been one of the NFL's glamour teams for the last dozen years but this off-season has added a new level of crazy. Not only did the team sign Tim Tebow, one of the most divisive players in the game (and then dump him before the season started), but one of their star tight ends, Aaron Hernandez, was arrested for murder. Not exactly the recipe for success, but if anyone can lead them to gridiron glory, it's Mr. Gisele Bündchen himself.
Adrian Peterson Is Super Human All Day Long
At the end of the 2011 season, star Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson limped off the field with an apparent leg injury. The diagnosis was devastating; both his ACL and MCL were torn, putting his career at risk. The normal recovery time for an injury of this magnitude is 12 months, and even if Peterson were to come back, there was no guarantee he would be the same player he had been. What happened was nothing short of miraculous, as Peterson made his doctors look stupid by returning for the start of the 2012 season, only 8 months after his injury! Not only did he return, but he rushed for the second most yards in a season in NFL history and literally carried the Vikings to the playoffs! Now completely healthy, there's no telling what heights he'll reach in 2013, but it'll definitely be fun to watch.
Who's Ray Lewis Going To Scream At Now?
If you watched any of last year's Super Bowl, you might remember the several hundred times that broadcasters mentioned it was Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' final game. The controversial Lewis was one of the best defensive players of all time. He was also known for inspiring/crazy pregame speeches to his teammates. Lewis is transitioning to broadcasting, and as demonstrated by his delightfully weird Old Spice commercials, the guy knows his way around a camera. But this is one intense dude and there's a good chance he'll say something crazy, stupid, or just plain offensive before midseason. Enjoy the train wreck when it happens! Lewis rarely says offensive things. Other than the one murder trial, he's been relatively controversy free.
Can Exciting Rookie QBs Nail Their Encore?
Last season the NFL got lucky with not one, not two, but three stars emerging from the rookie QB class. Andrew Luck in Indianapolis, Robert Griffin III in Washington, and Russell Wilson in Seattle all excelled at football's premier position in 2013 and they'll be under pressure to do it all again. Luck's polished passing turned the Colts from a 2-14 joke into an 11-5 playoff team, RGIII's energetic play made the Redskins relevant again, and Wilson came out of nowhere to raise the Seahawks to legit contenders. All three were fun to watch and here's hoping they can avoid the sophomore jinx. (An honourable mention also goes to Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers. Not technically a rookie but his first season starting and he did take his team to the Superbowl).
The Crazy Thing That No One Sees Coming
Every season, after about a month's worth of games, someone will invariably say that they've never seen an NFL season like this one. Therein lies the league's biggest appeal; no one really knows what's going to happen in any given season. A perennial loser team will suddenly become a winner, a star player will emerge from the mists, or a crazy play will happen that everyone will be talking about. The NFL is the ultimate water cooler sport because of its chaotic nature, and you definitely don't want to be the one left out of the loop.
Load up on chicken wings, salty snacks, and clogged arteries because football is back! Enjoy the season and be sure to follow The Gal's Got Game for all the latest and most important NFL news.