How Can You Not Like the NFL This Year?



How can you not like the NFL this year?

High scoring games.

Improbable comebacks.

No lead is safe.

Spectacular and unusual plays.

Drama at every turn.

Throughout most of my broadcasting career, scores rarely went through the roof.

If a team tallied 28 points, that was an outstanding offensive day.

Many games were defensive struggles which was never a bad thing.

I’ve always liked a keen defensive battle. But I think I was in the minority.

Remember what made the fledgling American Football League so appealing before the merger?

Lots of scoring. 

That’s what every sport is after. More scoring.

It’s show biz after all. 

High scores does not necessarily mean bad defense, although the rules in pro football unquestionably favor the offense.

So, what have we found?

In week 1, seven teams scored 30 or more points.

In week 2, 12 of the 16 games had at least one team with 30 or more points.

With it, came come-from-behind victories.

For instance, the Falcons led the Cowboys 29-10 at the half, and 39-24 midway thorough the 4th quarter. 

That was the game the Cowboys executed that crazy onside kick to get the ball back and boot the winning field goal to triumph 40-39.

There have been other games with similar scenarios.

Last Sunday alone, here’s what happened.

Those Falcons again, led the Bears by 16 in the third quarter and by 10 with six minutes remaining in regulation. 

The Bears pulled it out 30-26, as they did against the Lions opening day, after trailing 24-6 into the final 15 minutes, 31-30.

The Vikings, who are surprisingly still without a win, led by 12 in the 3rd quarter only to fall short to the unbeaten Titans, 31-30.

Then, the big shootout between the Buffalo Bills and the L.A. Rams.

The Bills were up, 28-3 in the 3rd quarter only to see the Rams take a 32-28 lead with 4:30 left in the 4th.

Only to see Buffalo survive 35-32.

Now, that’s exciting football.

QB Josh Allen is off to a tremendous start for the Bills, who are one of the AFC powers. 

Josh Allen


I predicted a division crown for the Bills, ending the Patriots dominance, and why would I waver now?

Despite a good start by the Pats, and their new quarterback, Cam Newton, the Bills are still superior.

What drives me crazy is all the MVP-talk after only three games. 

Give me a break, Talking MVP three games into a 16-game season is absurd.

I remember when major comebacks were rare in the league.

If a team jumped out to a 17-0 lead they were well on their way to victory. The game produced little imagination, and as a result, contests would, for the most part, drone on to a finish that was the rule more than the exception.

Offenses would line up with two running backs, one a fullback, two wide receivers, and a tight end.

Defenses would have 3 or 4 defensive linemen, 3 or 4 linebackers, and four defensive backs, sometimes five.

Now, the personnel for plays varies from four wide receivers, to two or three tight ends, often either no running backs, or backs lining up as receivers.

Defenses have included only two defensive linemen, and linebackers who can cover receivers and defensive backs who can play the run.

The play-calling has become novel and exciting, and there doesn’t seem to be a lead that is insurmountable.

I was on hand to see Quarterback Kyler Murray of the Cardinals once again, after thrilling performances in each of the first two games. 

Kyler Murray



Arizona won them both and the bandwagon was getting crowded.

They faced the Lions who had blown double-digit leads in four straight games and hadn’t won at all in 11 consecutive outings.

More of the same experts predicted.

For both squads.

But the one thing you learn following all sports, is that when you’re riding high, you better be ready for that game that brings you down to earth quickly.

And beware a team that is cornered, and desperate.

That was the case last Sunday in the Arizona desert.

The Lions, who could not stop the run and had no pass rush, stopped the run and turned Murray into a confused second-year player who I believe will be a big winner, but not yet ready to handle all kinds of adversity all the time. 

Kyler Murray threw three interceptions to a team that had no takeaways going in, he also didn’t break off timely, long runs.

Experience is so important, I suppose, in every walk of life, and the  know-how that Russell Wilson of the Seahawks has, is immeasurable.

For Detroit, it was a gutty win on the road. One that was always a real possibility because of the presence of Matthew Stafford. Without what we call a “franchise quarterback,” you really have little chance.

While Stafford has never won a playoff game despite huge performances, his presence on the field has always given the Lions a chance.

Keep in mind, it was after Stafford went down with a season- ending back injury last season, the Lions never won another game.

I still think the Cardinals will be vastly improved, and I feel they learned something from that loss.

My last game before a bit of a hiatus will be an opportunity to view Wilson against the Dolphins in Miami. 

Russell Wilson has thrown for 14 touchdowns in only three games. 


Russell Wilson


He’s playing the best of any quarterback in the league. So is Allen of the Bills, and, of course, the pair who squared off last Monday, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson.

Don’t get to talk MVP. I know you’re trying hard.

But I won’t go there. Yet.

I’m also curious about the Dolphins who are in a rebuilding program with many new and young players, including rookie QB Tua Tagliavola, who hasn’t seen action thus far. 

Right now, Miami’s attack is in the hands of the ageless and bearded Harvard man, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

But soon, it will be Tua’s team.

I got on board with head coach Brian Flores a year ago when he got started. 

He did better than expected as a rookie.

And I’m just as bullish as ever about his prospects.

One last word about Gale Sayers.

 Gale Sayers


The former Chicago Bears tornado of a running back passed away.

I always thought Jim Brown was the greatest back ever to play the game and I still think so.

Brown was built like a fullback, Sayers was lithe, elusive and fast.

Nobody could run with such brilliance as Sayers, especially the day he scored six touchdowns against the 49ers. 

The first time I saw him play in person was in Syracuse against the Orange in 1965, the year after I graduated.

My long-time buddy, Bill Philips, who I met in school, and I were in Fort Dix, New Jersey, doing our chores as personnel specialists after we completed basic training.

It was a Friday, and we decided to journey north to see the much-heralded Kansas-Syracuse game at the old Archbold Stadium.

The company commander saw us leaving with our 

traveling gear, and asked where we were going.

We told him, and he refused to allow us to leave the post.

We decided to go anyway, risking punishment on our return which wouldn’t be insignificant.

You see, the game was a matchup of two sensational running backs, Sayers of the Kansas Jayhawks, and Syracuse sophomore Floyd Little, playing in his first major contest.

It was a startling showdown.

Sayers was held to 15 yards, while Little scored five touchdowns in the Syracuse rout.

We made the right choice.

Especially when our commander never said another word when we returned to our duties, the following Monday morning.

Sometimes, you have to be lucky.