NFL Off to a Fast-Paced Start

Jonathan Lampert

The NFL season is off to a tremendous start with unbelievable plays, incredible finishes, inspiring upsets, and bitter disappointments. I would first like to acknowledge all those who jumped on the Panther bandwagon before the season, as they are off to an impressive 0-2 start. And to those who wrote off the currently undefeated Saints and Vikings; good call there, that’s what you get when you listen to the ESPN “experts.”

Perhaps the biggest name headlining this NFL season was Reggie Bush. Bush is indeed having an immediate impact on the Saints, having gained 192 total yards in his first two games. The Saints are off to an impressive 2-0 start and look to continue the streak next Monday night when the Superdome reopens for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. Mario Williams, the defensive end that the Texans brilliantly decided to draft before Bush, has racked up a whopping four tackles in two games. As part of his logic for picking Williams over the Bush, former Texans GM Charlie Casserly claimed that Williams would help stop Peyton Manning and the Colts, the strongest team in the AFC South. In week two the Colts matched up against the Texans in Houston. Final score: Colts 43 Texans 24.

In the coaching realm, Brad Childress and Art Shell highlight a list of nine new coaches in the league. Childress, the former defensive coordinator of the Eagles, has led the Vikings to an improbable 2-0 start. Even more impressive than the undefeated record is the fact that Childress attempted a fake field goal in week two against the Panthers. And, the kicker did not attempt to roll left and scramble towards the end zone, only to get blindsided after a few strides by Julius Peppers, as was the case in my Madden game the other night. Rather, Ryan Longwell threw an accurate pass for a touchdown and Minnesota tied up the game late in the fourth quarter. Longwell kicked a field goal in overtime to win it. Art Shell, on the other hand, is not enjoying the same success as Childress. He has lost his first two games by a combined score of 55-6. That’s right, his team has not scored a touchdown in two games. Even funnier than the Raiders’ play on the field is Shell’s expressionless, motionless demeanor on the sidelines. Watch this the next time the Raiders play. It is almost as if he has forgotten that his team is playing a professional football game. Maybe he has.

The most prominent player who moved teams this off-season was Terrell Owens. After essentially being booted off of the Eagles, Owens landed in Dallas and has not made it one day without being mentioned on Sports Center. Unfortunately for Cowboys fans, Owens’s performance has not nearly matched the hype he received. In his last game against the Redskins, Owens dropped a touchdown pass and later left the game with a hand injury. Owens will need surgery to repair a broken ring finger on his right hand (symbolism, much?), and will attempt to return to the Cowboys on October 8 for a critical divisional match-up against the Eagles. Despite all the negative baggage Owens carries with him (or has peons carry for him), he is definitely committed to returning from serious injuries, as displayed by his comeback from a broken leg and subsequent remarkable performance in the Super Bowl against the Patriots. The Cowboys will need a healthy Owens in order to compete in the extremely talented and competitive NFC East.