There’s always a tomorrow

Story by TJ Wall, staff writer

28-3. That’s the image that still lingers in the minds of football fans across the world. For some, it’s a dream come true; for some, it’s a nightmare that will never be forgotten. Either way, it happened. It is history now. Whether you like it or not, it can’t be changed.

Photo by TNS
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) struggles to break away from the Detroit Lions defense for a short gain Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Brad Loper/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)

The New England Patriots made a historic comeback in Super Bowl LI to defeat the Atlanta Falcons after being down 28-3. The very second the game clock winded down, the clock that showed how much time was left until the next season started ticking. Teams started to scout new and old players and come up with a strategy on how to improve the next season.

There is an enormous amount of anticipation from fans, coaches and players heading into each season. Fans all across the globe start counting down second-by-second until the next season begins. But with each new season comes new possibilities, new expectations and new outcomes.

Looking into the season, many analysts find it difficult to look past the reigning Super Bowl champions. The Patriots have come out swinging since last season ended. This offseason, they picked up more talented players to add to their roster. Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Stephon Gilmore are all elite players who can make a positive impact on the team this year. Each player will add experience, depth and talent. If everyone stays healthy, one could only expect the Patriots to do the same thing they did last year.

“Last year, they won it all, and all they did this offseason was get better,” sophomore Benjamin Witterstaetter said. “If they don’t make it to the Super Bowl, it’s a bust of a season.”

Despite New England being the consensus favorite to win the Lombardi, there are other teams in the AFC who feel that they are equipped to dethrone the reigning champs. The Houston Texans, led by an elite defense featuring J.J. Watt and Ja’deveon Clowney, feel that they are best prepared to face the Patriots. The teams’ matchup is on September 24. Other teams to look out for are the Oakland Raiders who face the Patriots on November 19 and the Pittsburgh Steelers who face the Patriots on December 17.

The Houston Texans may be a huge roadblock that New England will have to face on the road to the Lombardi. Houston has had an elite defense for the past few years and they should expect it to be as good or even better this year since both of their star defensive linemen, J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney will be healthy and on the field at the same time.

The main thing that Houston lacked last year was a solid starting quarterback. Tom Savage was a decent quarterback last season, but not seen as a player who could potentially lead the team to a Super Bowl. However, many people believe that Deshaun Watson, the Texans first round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, is that missing piece; the key to a championship.

“I don’t expect him to be like Dak Prescott at the beginning of the season,” junior Treston Green said. “It may take him a few games to get used to the NFL, but considering that he won the National Championship for Clemson last year, I think he will start heating up towards the end of the preseason.”

While all eyes are on Watson, the Oakland Raiders will have a lot of attention as well. The Raiders have a stacked defense that features Khalil Mack. Also, the return of former Seattle Seahawks running back, Marshawn Lynch, will be a key factor in their success. From 2011 to 2014, Lynch, a 5-time Pro Bowler, was top 10 in rushing yards. The Raiders have an elite quarterback in Derek Carr; that mixed in with their skilled receivers and their top-tier offensive line make the Raiders a promising and scary team.

No matter what happens this season, fans are sure to be entertained. There will be much excitement, many arguments and a good dose of smack talk as there is every season. Just remember, even if your team doesn’t do as well as you’d like, there’s always a tomorrow.