2018 NFL season kicks off

With the season just around the corner, players (left to right) Tom Brady, Todd Gurley and Antonio Brown are returning for another season of dominance. Week 1 begins with one game tonight, 13 games Sunday, and a double-header Monday night. (Photo courtesy of Matt Weiner)

With the countdown of 214 days of no football almost over, the sports community is buzzing over the beginning of the season. The beginning of school, though tough to adjust to, means a new football season is in order.

Leesville is more than excited to have America’s most popular sport back on their television screens.

Kieron Leonida, a junior at Leesville, is jubilant for football season to return.

“I’m looking forward for the NFL season to start back up. It’s one of the few ways that brings my family and friends back together.. My friends and I all get together to watch the games and participate in fantasy football,” said Leonida.

Fantasy football is very popular among students and is a fun way for students to bond over football through competition.“We share many laughs and moments that we remember for a long time,” said Leonida.

Football brings family and friends together, no matter who is watching. The brutal hits, deep passes, and fantasy points are just three of many things that bring fans to their televisions all seventeen weeks.

The opening ceremonies kick off tonight, when the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, take on the Atlanta Falcons, a rematch of their 2018 divisional playoff game where Philly won the game on the way to their title.

To the students of Leesville, fall doesnt feel as important without football in the mix. The NFL’s growth as an icon in pop culture thrives more and more every year.

Back in April of this year, the NFL held its annual Draft, where the young stars of the future get their chance to shine on the team that place their trust on them. The class of 2018 however, looks stronger than past classes in recent years.

The depth of wide receivers and running backs in the league has grown tremendously in recent years, and the numbers only continued to grow with the first round selections of talent. Players like Saquon Barkley (#2 pick overall), or DJ Moore (#24 pick overall) add to the talent showcased by the league on a weekly basis.

Every season brings a plethora of injuries to all 32 teams in the league. Many injuries that occur in the preseason usually rock a team to their core while rearranging their entire gameplan.

Sony Michel, rookie running back from Georgia, was expected big things in the preseason by Patriots team officials. Due to an injury, Michel had no snaps taken in the preseason and may hurt his playing time in the regular season, which is not a good sign for first year players.

Even players who suffered injury in the previous season are having long recovery periods that continue through the next season. Take Carson Wentz, Eagles quarterback, who tore his ACL late last season. Wentz was officially ruled out for the start of the 2018 season and may not even make it back until weeks later.

Meanwhile, a new tackling rule was put in the rulebook by the NFL. The rule states: “It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.

Penalty: Loss of 15 yards. If the foul is by the defense, it is also an automatic first down. The player may be disqualified.” per the NFL 2018 rulebook.

The rule intends to decrease the number of targeting penalties and injuries. The rule also aims to benefit the overall safety of all players.

Evan Hucke, junior at Leesville, stated his opinion on the rule:

“I think the league should make their rules for head injuries more similar to college football. There should be a targeting penalty for helmet to helmet no matter the position. There should be a 15 yard penalty but not an automatic ejection,”

Hucke, an avid football fan among the many at Leesville, further continued his explanation of a rule change.

“Instead, a player should be given a warning and will be ejected after a second targeting penalty. This will reduce concussions more than attempting to make better helmets,” said Hucke.

The rule intends to decrease the number of targeting penalties and injuries. The rule also aims to benefit the overall safety of all players.

The 2018 NFL season begins tonight, September 6th at 8:20 est. Football is back, and Leesville couldn’t be more excited.

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