Specter of Sept. 11 anthem protests overshadows games
To football fans and Fantasy Football League players across the globe, the opening Sunday of the National Football League’s regular season is like Christmas morning.
And having the NFL’s opening weekend fall on the 15th anniversary of the horrifying 9/11 attacks on our country only serves to make today that much more special. After all, those attacks brought about a tremendous, renewed spirit of patriotism in our nation, and what could possibly be more of an American tradition than our own bruising brand of football?
Sure, the 2016 campaign actually opened Thursday night with the defending champion Denver Broncos again turning back the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of last February’s Super Bowl.
But that was just one game, sort of a tasty appetizer that helped whet our appetite for what takes place today, when we get the full-meal-deal, a tantalizing smorgasbord of 13 games that will help usher in another edition of our country’s most popular sport.
And as the NFL season gets underway, there are some questions that will be answered in the weeks ahead as players and teams try to navigate the always difficult path to the playoffs and, eventually, the Super Bowl.
• Who are all these new starting quarterbacks? And will any of them be able to play up to expectations?
In Denver, Trevor Siemian took over for retired legend Peyton Manning and, with virtually zero previous experience in a regular-season game, all he did in his debut is help lead the Broncos to a come-from-behind victory over the Panthers in Thursday’s season-opener.
Rookie QB Dak Prescott takes the reins in Dallas in the wake of veteran Tony Romo’s latest injury. Another rookie, Carson Wentz, has been handed the car keys in Philadelphia, which prompted the Eagles to ship veteran Sam Bradford off to Minnesota.
Brock Osweiler, who started several games in Manning’s absence last season in Denver, is now the new QB in Houston. And another highly touted rookie, Jared Goff, could wind up being the first-stringer for the Rams, who have returned to Los Angeles after relocating in St. Louis for the last couple of decades.