The National Football League is the premier organization of all professional sports. It receives the most attention in comparison to the NHL, MLB or NBA. Sure they all have their seasons, but there is none like football season. Most sports consumers would find themselves setting aside time in their day to sit down and watch Patrick Mahomes throw passes with his non-throwing hand (left hand) than watch a regular season baseball game.
One thing the NFL is great at is stirring the media’s attention in the off-season. Pitchers and catchers are reporting for Major League Baseball but here is a mock draft. The NBA’s LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers are eliminated from the NBA playoff contention but here is a compilation of Rob Gronkowski’s Hall Of Fame career highlight tape. Are you going to watch opening day baseball? No, says the NFL, here is another Mock Draft because the draft is a month away.
The point is, is that the NFL has a massive influence on what you pay attention to. They have an entire day of the week dedicated to themselves and fans of the sport cannot get enough of it. They want so much football in fact, (and the NFL is so big) that they are airing another football league, the Alliance of American Football (AAF) on NFL Network. The NFL knows they are too big to fail. Sure, Johnny Manziel will add excitement into the AAF which is much needed, but even more exciting is the speculation of Kyler Murray to the Cardinals. Some of this may be sarcasm but think about it. Deflate-Gate. Spy-Gate. Teams moving cities. Rule Changes. John Gruden. Mike Mayock. The NFL is so good at keeping your attention throughout the off-season that you almost never look away.
Why is the NFL too big to fail? Their fan base and credibility is a large part of that. Part of having solid credibility is having a history. The history of the NFL goes way, way back. Sure, baseball is America’s past time, but football is America’s future.
The Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears have the richest history amongst any two teams in the NFL. Between the two teams, they have played 198 times with the Packers taking the lead in 2017 with a 97-95-6 record against the Bears. Until recently, the Bears had led the Packers in that series since 1932. If you think the Packers/Bears rivalry is going away anytime soon, you’re wrong.
Last offseason the Bears added Khalil Mack. Mack added an entirely new dimension to the Bears defense and is clearly worth every penny. The Packers were interested in Mack as well, but the Raiders wouldn’t budge. The first game with Mack in a Bears uniform may have resulted in one of the greatest Aaron Rodgers comebacks of all time. Coming off of a knee injury, there is no doubt it was incredibly difficult for Rodgers to play.
Sports Illustrated wrote a piece titled: “NFL Sadly chooses History Over Excitement for Opening Night”.
The Packers/Bears matchup can be both historic AND exciting. It is historic no doubt, this will be the 199th game between the two franchises with arguably more on the line this time than last season when Rodgers came back and won.
The game can still be not just exciting but highly anticipated for fans around the NFL, not just in Green Bay or Chicago.
The Packers added several new playmakers in Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Adrian Amos onto their defense and added depth to the OL with the signing of Billy Turner. Amos was previously a Chicago Bear. The Chicago Bears, on the other hand, have added former Packers first-round draft pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Imagine Trubisky throwing an interception to Amos or Rodgers throwing an interception to Clinton-Dix, it sounds backward.
The article continues to write that the Cleveland Browns would be more exciting than the Packers or Bears. There is an argument to be made that the new look Cleveland Browns with Odell Beckham Junior will be exciting, but who could the Browns play that would be more exciting than a Packers/Bears matchup?
One could bother with a “hyped-up” matchup all day but in the end, this is the NFL’s 100th season they are celebrating. This isn’t just about excitement but history as well. The NFL did get it right. The Packers/Bears are both historic and exciting.
Khalil Mack. Aaron Rodgers. What’s not to like?