After seven long months, the NFL is back. Veterans struggle and rookies shine as the gridiron returns in all of its chaotic glory. Week 1 brought it all: interceptions, high scores, spectacular touchdowns and upsets - as well as everything in between.
NFL truly is unpredictable, which is one of the many reasons to invest time into this short seasoned, highly explosive sport. For all the NFL rookies out there, the season spans just 17 weeks, with teams having 16 games and one bye (rest) week. Everything is to play for as teams aim to finish with the highest win-loss ratio in a bid to enter the playoffs. The goal at the end of the season is the prestigious Lombardi trophy and a signet ring that wouldn’t look out of place on Mr.T.
American football is very tactical and skilful, similar to a testosterone filled game of chess. Competition is fierce and hard hitting. Welcome to Week 1 of the NFL.
Le’Veon Bell has played his joker card in the off-season by refusing to sign the franchise tag offered to him by Pittsburgh, effectively holding him to a single year contract. The bottom line is that he wants more money and a longer commitment. Clearly seen as one of the best, most productive running backs in the league, with the figures and stats to back it up, Pittsburgh fans have been in total disarray all off-season.
Le’Veon failed to report to mini camps and even stood firm on game day; he did not travel to Cleveland with the rest of the team. Considering the $855,000 fine for missing this game, it appears Bell is serious about the contract holdout.
Should Pittsburgh be worried? Now: enter James Connor!
Connor had what can only be described as a one in a million game, and considering this was his NFL debut, makes it even better for the fans in the ‘Steel City’. There is no doubt Connor had incredibly big boots to fill, even off the back of a good pre-season, no one quite expected him to have the impact that he did. A box score of 31 carries for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns is impressive enough, but Connor also caught 5 passes for another 57 yards.
Pittsburgh may have a trump card (no pun intended) up their sleeve in Connor, as looking at the current wages, Bell should receive $14,544,000 in 2018 alone, whereas the rookie sensation will earn a paltry $578,000 with another two years on rookie salaries.
After the shock Khalil Mack deal, should Pittsburgh trade Bell away for a high draft pick? There will definitely be suitors for Bell as he is a game changing runningback, but is he worth the cost and the headache of an offensive line that has already given up on his antics?