RedState Sports Report: The Week That Kicked off the 2023 NFL Season

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Greetings from the sports desk located somewhere below the decks of the Good Pirate Ship RedState. Sammy the Shark and Karl the Kraken are busy composing a richly deserved salutatory farewell to Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price, so I’ll handle the rest of the sports reporting.

Week One of the NFL season is in the books. While the main story is Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending, and possibly career-ending, injury suffered just four plays into his debut as the New York Jets quarterback, there were other stories of note.

First, some words about Rodgers. We don’t want to see true superstar athletes ending their careers on the back of a cart taken off the field. The preference is definitely to go out the way Ted Williams did, who homered in his final at-bat at Fenway, ran into the dugout after circling the bases, and never reappeared.

Who knows if Rodgers can, or wants to, try coming back from his torn Achilles tendon. Hopefully he does. If for no other reason, as with all true superstar athletes, you want to see them leave the game on their terms.

Back to football. As noted, there were other stories in week one that deserve attention. One involves the Los Angeles Rams — yeah, I know, shocking that I’d bring them up, right? — who, after a spirited first half against the favored Seattle Seahawks in the Emerald City in front of the usual deafening Lumen Field crowd, suddenly transformed on defense from Aaron Donald and the 10 Whoareyous into a living reincarnation of the 1985 Chicago Bears. The Rams allowed a whopping three — yes, three — yards of offense to Seattle in the second half as they scored 27 unanswered points en route to a 30-13 win. The Seahawks’ final six possessions were three and outs. It’s not like Seattle is devoid of offensive talent, either. Los Angeles was that dominant. The Rams’ next game, at home against the San Francisco 49ers, figures to be a much stiffer test. That said, if we can tell anything from the first game, the Rams may not be nearly as terrible as many of the “football experts“ picked them to be before the season started. But enough about ESPN.

Elsewhere around the league:

  • Either the Dallas Cowboys are way better than expected, the New York Giants are way worse than expected, or both. 40-0 on the road? Ouch.
  • A healthy Tua Tagovailoa is a joy to behold … unless your team happens to be playing the Miami Dolphins this week. Speaking of such, was it my imagination, or were there way more Dolphins than Chargers fans at SoFi Stadium for the game? Go back to San Diego and build your own stadium, bolt boys.
  • Rough day for rookie quarterbacks, as all three first-round picks who played — Anthony Richardson for the Indianapolis Colts, Bryce Young for the Carolina Panthers, and C.J. Stroud for the Houston Texans — all lost their regular season debut. But take heart. Peyton Manning went 3-13 for the Colts in his rookie season. (No, I’m not comparing any of the three to Manning.)

Speaking of ESPN, the call of the Monday night game with the Jets and Bills was about as enjoyable as listening to fingernails on a chalkboard mixed with simultaneous squeaking balloons, crying children, barking dogs, and cats hocking up a hairball. Apparently, the new contract model at ESPN is for whatever announcers remain after the last cost-cutting exercise to be paid by the word, as neither Joe Buck nor Troy Aikman—especially Aikman—shut up once during the entire broadcast. After 15 minutes or so, I would have preferred the chalkboard, balloon, etc., as it would have been less annoying. Guys, the game is on television. We can see what’s going on. You don’t have to tell us every everything, and you definitely don’t have to opine on every single everything after every single blankety-blank blank play, regardless of whether it’s germane to the action on the field. Give it, and us, a rest once in a while. Thank you.

In other sports news related to ESPN, former Indianapolis Colts head coach and man of true faith Tony Dungy excoriated the network for completely misinterpreting Coco Gauff’s moment of prayer following her win at the U.S. Open. While criticizing her “this is for all the haters“ bit after the championship match was over remains a legitimate complaint, one should neither knock nor ignore her faith which she has openly spoken about on many occasions. But then again, this is ESPN. ‘Nuff said.

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