From the Press Box: NFL Kick-Off felt the same as it always does
The Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans kicked off the 2020 NFL season on Thursday night and while it wasn’t competitive after halftime, it was nice to see Patrick Mahomes, DeShaun Watson, J.J. Watt and other NFL stars on the TV screen again.
While the social injustice vignettes and pre-game demonstrations still took place, much to the chagrin of pro sports critics, once the ball was kicked off it was about X’s and O’s. I didn’t even realize the unity message on the back of the end zones were there until the fourth quarter.
That being said, there was plenty to takeaway from the game.
• Preseason? Who needs preseason? — I fully expected the teams to be sloppy last night. You can only go full-speed to an extent when you’re practicing with the guys you gotta see a few minutes later in the locker room. While there was a fair share of dropped passes, there was only six penalties. There is a conspiracy theory that NFL referees are told to swallow their whistles more on prime-time games. Maybe that was the case.
• The rich got richer — As if the Kansas City Chiefs offense wasn’t already the best offense in the NFL with their Legion of Zoom receiving corp, rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire made his debut as head coach Andy Reid’s new toy and rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown. Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes “only” threw for 211 yards.
• Bill O’Brien has met his ceiling — I had been a fan of Houston Texans Coach Bill O’Brien, who has been both the head coach and general manager of the Houston Texans for the last two years (officially named GM in 2020, the position was vacant last year). But I feel like he is holding quarterback DeShaun Watson back. Yes, he has won 21 games the last two years, but he has went 1-2 in playoff appearances and was out-classed by Reid. If he doesn’t make it to the AFC Championship this season, he may find himself on the hot seat.
Thursday was just the appetizer for a hot slate of NFL games this weekend that includes Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees, Cowboys vs. Rams, Green Bay vs. Minnesota and Seattle vs. Atlanta.
Football is back.
John Lee is the editor of The Pampa News and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @jcl1987.