Countdown to Kickoff: 10 things to Look Forward to this NFL Season
#2 NFL Changes Tune
This past offseason the NFL loosened its reigns and are allowing more expression from their players. The league is now allowing players to freely wear any cleats they choose during pregame warmups and cleats that are solid black, solid white or a secondary team color. That may not seem like a huge change, but considering how archaic the league’s prior cleats were, this is a huge victory for the players (all eyes are on you Odell Beckham Jr.) In addition to loosening the restrictions on weekly cleats, the NFL has made the decision to bring back #MyCauseMyCleats week. The week allows players the opportunity to wear customized cleats (of any style or design) in effort to raise awareness for a cause that is near and dear to their hearts. The rule change that might be the most anticipated is the allowance for more creative celebrations. Group celebrations, using the ball as a prop and going to the ground are now allowed. As seen on HBO Hard Knocks, the leniency with touchdown celebrations has the players excited.
#1 Patriots Encore
When you just completed the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history and you’re employing the greatest head coach (Bill Belicheck) and quarterback (Tom Brady) of all time, you deserve to have all eyes on you. Talks of an undefeated season have filled the media. A season-ending injury to Julian Edelman gives cause for concern. But, the return of a healthy Rob Gronkowski, a revamped defense (additions of Stephon Gilmore, David Harris and Lawrence Guy) and the addition of speedy wideout Brandin Cooks, resumes talk and gives the chatter bearing. Couple all of those pieces with a full season of Tom Brady (who missed the first four games of last season due to suspension) and all the talk really has some merit. Talks of an undefeated season or of defending their Super Bowl title might be too much for some teams, but that’s the kind of pressure the Patriots thrive on. Their encore performance is the single most interesting facet of the 2017-18 NFL season.