Back in the Groove | July 10, 2012
First of all, a confession. During the month of June, I pretty much ignored the NFL. Sure, I occasionally visited a few websites (including this one of course!) and read a few articles, but that was about it. I had plenty of other things going on in life and in all honesty June appears to be the least eventful month in the NFL. Now we’re into July, it’s just 2 months before the season starts and only 1 month before Preseason starts, the NFL is coming back and it’s time to get ready for the season.
The initial months following the SuperBowl were a flurry of activity – Bountygate, Manning’s trade, and numerous coaching changes. That’s not to mention the annual Draft, Free Agency and the announcement of the schedule for the new season. February to May was an eventful time in the NFL, but then the trail goes cold. Sure, new players sign their contracts, rookies begin training and speculation mounts. But, let’s be honest, it’s not exactly a roller coaster of excitement compared to the rest of the NFL year.
Don’t get me wrong, I love NFL.com and other NFL websites when stuff is happening, but in June they really struggle to fill in the gaps. Obviously, Tim Tebow was the source of many stories – Tebow gets a dog, Tebow attracts thousands to church, Tebow heals the sick etc etc, but there were plenty of other barrel scrapers. Probably the lowest point was a feature on which NFL players would be good playing in Euro 2012. An article so low in logic, comedy and point, that I seriously considered boycotting the site! I was hoping that July would bring some more interesting features, but when I visited the site today I was confronted by Chad Ochocinco’s wedding, “Which game should be a national holiday?” and various speculation about how well team X’s o line will perform next season. Hmm, maybe I’ll leave it a bit longer before making regular visits!
Over the next few weeks I’ll be previewing various aspects of the new season – so here’s a little taster of the topics I’ll be covering:
Gamepass – On the same day that I return to my slightly unhealthy NFL obsession, the details for NFL Gamepass 2012 are announced. I was very pleasantly surprised by the price (£99 or £129 for the “Premium” pack) and as a Gamepass virgin I was excited about checking out the features. Aside from the obvious advantage of being able to watch almost every NFL game live or on delay, there are a number of other features that I will be taking advantage of over the next 6 months – the NFL Network, big play highlights, coach cams (no idea) and various options I’m yet to discover. £99 seems a fantastic price for all this. As one of my season previews, Ill be writing a more extensive review of Gamepass, but suffice to say, I’d urge all NFL fans in the UK to dip into their pockets and get it.
Training Camp Battles – With just over 4 weeks to go until the Preseason kicks off there are a number of intriguing Training Camp QB battles to be resolved – Kolb or Skelton, Tannehill or Moore, Jackson or Flynn, Hasselbeck or Locker, Manning or Haine. OK, maybe the last one is easy to resolve!
In addition, all eyes will be on some of the players who have a point to prove after disappointing 2011 campaigns: Chris Johnson, Philip Rivers, Nmandi Asomugha to name but 3. Whilst Peyton Manning will under the microscope at Denver and there will be endless speculation on how the Jets will utilise Tebow.
Preseason – Generally speaking, we don’t actually learn a great deal during preseason. Most starter only make brief appearances, there are very few memorable moments and nobody cares who wins. Personally, I’d get rid of a week of it and just have 3 matches. Still Preseason is a part of each team’s preparation, so it’d be remiss of me to not cover it. After all, we do get to see some football and it’s been far too long since that happened.
The Eagles – This will represent my first season following Philadelphia’s finest (it’s a long story), expectations are high, but then again that was the case last season. I’ll be looking at the Eagles prospects for 2012 and trying not to be too pessimistic.
Fantasy – I am an expert at finishing 3rd in Fantasy Football. I’ve been playing Fantasy Football for around 4 years and each time I’ve adopted a different Draft strategy and different selection tactics, but I’ve still finished 3rd! So, what method will I go for this year to ensure the Bronze medal is mine once again?
Predictions – Talking of laughing at me, just before the start of the regular season I’ll be making a poor attempt to predict some of the events that will take place during the 2012 season. Don’t worry, it won’t be yet another list of Divisional winners and SuperBowl predictions. I’ll be trying to be a bit more leftfield – Who will be the biggest star to be released during the season? Highest profile arrest? Biggest fantasy flop? Teams shunned by Sky for the entire season?
After all that, it’ll be time for the NFL 2012 season to begin and the Eagles to begin their march to the SuperBowl.
I’ll be back next week with a look at NFL Gamepass – I just need to stop playing with it for 5 minutes first!