Why Week 1 may not mean as much as you think
Happy Week 1 of the NFL season.
We start Thursday with Steelers at Patriots, and, apparently, commissioner Roger Goodell won’t be in attendance for some reason. Please do check those footballs. (Oh, never mind.)
There’s always a lot of emphasis put on the opener. I’m sure broadcasters will bring out stats about X-percentage of teams that won their opener that went on to the playoffs and so on.
Our message for Week 1 — chill the heck out.
We’re turning the calendar back one year to show you why you shouldn’t jump off the roof if your team doesn’t win this weekend.
49ers 28, Cowboys 17
This score was deceiving. The Niners kicked the crap out of the Cowboys at Jerry-World. This was 28-3 at the half. Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick looked sharp. San Francisco tight-end Vernon Davis caught passes. Tony Romo looked old and confused. The Cowboys had no hope.
How’d that work out for everyone?
The Niners imploded. Their rushing game disappeared behind an avalanche of offensive-line problems. Davis was a non-factor for most of the season. Kaepernick struggled. San Francisco went 8-8. Coach Jim Harbaugh was fired. The Niners imploded. The Cowboys went 12-4, won the East, and was a questionable call away from the NFC Championship Game.
Dolphins 33, Patriots 20
The Patriots did not look good. Things went from bad to worse in Week 4 when the Chiefs shellacked New England, 44-16. The Pats were done like dinner. Some reporter even asked whether Bill Belichick would consider a change at quarterback, benching Tom Brady.
We’re pretty sure New England got rings after all was said and done.
Seahawks 36, Packers 16
It looked like all was well defending Super Bowl champion Seattle after pasting the Pack. It wasn’t Seattle started 3-3 and looked like it wouldn’t make the playoffs.
When the two teams met again in the NFC Championship, the Seahawks pretty much needed a miracle to beat Green Bay.
Vikings 34, Rams 6
Adrian Peterson ran 21 times for 75 yards and the Vikings cruised.
And then, the fecal matter hit the cooling device. A.P. was indicted on child-abuse charges and didn’t play another down in 2014.
We certainly don’t want to see this sort of stuff happen again, but we’d be naive to think that it won’t. Stuff happens.
Bengals 23, Ravens 16
Speaking of running backs behaving badly, opening weekend last year was when the Ray Rice tape came out. Rice had been suspended for two games by the league, and then he was released.
The Ravens were a mess, done for the season.
The Ravens made the playoffs.
Jets 19, Raiders 14
The Jets won a football game, one of only four in 2014. Geno Smith played well, completing 23-of-28 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown.
What’s more no one slugged Smith and broke his jaw.
Titans 26, Chiefs 10
This was quite an outlier. Tennessee finished 2-14 and ended up with Marcus Mariota.
Broncos 31, Colts 24
Peyton Single Initial Manning and the Broncos won and all was well. Andrew Luck and the Colts were just upstarts and the Broncos were going back to the Super Bowl again. Except for the minor fact that these two meet again during the divisional playoffs and Colts beat the Broncos.
Enjoy the return of football — it’s a beautiful time to be a sports fan. But don’t go booking your tickets to Super Bowl 50 quite yet.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.