Uncertainty adds to intrigue for NFL season

Andrew Hart, Sports Reporter

The return of professional sports to television screens and social media feeds have given people a sense of normalcy during uncharted times.

The NFL kicked off its season on Sept. 10, regaining its hold of Americans’ attention on autumn Sunday afternoons. The Chiefs trounced the Texans, still celebrating last year’s Super Bowl victory.

Still, one could not help but notice that Arrowhead Stadium, typically one of the most intimidating venues in the league, was filled to just 22% capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The unpredictability of whether or not the NFL will be able to run a successful season without a bubble combined with the wide open race for the Lombardi Trophy are fusing to make this season one of the most intriguing in recent memory.

Many teams have seen significant changes to their rosters, turning some teams into contenders overnight. Most notably, Tampa Bay acquired Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Leonard Fournette to add to an offense stacked with All League receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

“It’s a tough one, but I’m going to have to go with the Chiefs,” said junior Nick Zwerle. “They have the best player in the league debatably in Pat Mahomes with great chemistry, experience, young talent and a great coach in Andy Reid.”

Mahomes, fresh off a Super Bowl MVP, inked a 10-year contract with the Chiefs during the offseason worth $503 million — this is the largest contract in North American sports history.

“They’re the team to beat if you’re the Seahawks, 49ers, Ravens, you know?” Zwerle said.

The Chiefs sit at heavy favorites to repeat as Super Bowl champions with 9-2 odds, while the Ravens trail closely behind at 5-1, with reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson at the helm of the offense.

As for the Buccaneers, it seems to be Super Bowl or bust with the addition of championship pedigree in Brady and Gronkowski.

“It’s championship or bust. Brady is a winner,” Zwerle said. “Brady should get them into the playoffs.”

If all goes well for the Bucs, fans could witness the first time a team has played a Super Bowl in its home stadium, as the big game is scheduled to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay this February.

The question of how many people will be able to attend is still up in the air.

According to NBC Sports, only two of 30 venues in the NFL allowed spectators during week one. Decisions regarding capacity are based on guidelines put in place by state health officials.

Some teams have decided to close stadiums to spectators despite small gatherings being allowed. However, the situation is very fluid, and teams like the Saints, Bengals and Broncos have announced they plan to have fans in their stadiums as the season progresses.

Certainly, this season is going to be a season like no other. So buckle up, settle down and get the popcorn ready.