NFL 2021: An Exciting Regular Season, a Boring Superbowl, and a Potentially Interesting Offseason


Photo Courtesy of USA Today

Pictured is Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (left) and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs (right), the dueling QB matchup for Super Bowl LV.

Jack Houston, Sports Editor

In a time of unprecedented scenarios for sporting events, this NFL season sure had a lot to give to its fans. From miracles to tragedies and from absolute excitement to utter boredom, the events of national football can be described with one word: unpredictable.

The regular season showcased glimpses of why it’s so great to be an NFL fan. One of these moments was the incredible comeback of Washington Football Team’s QB Alex Smith. On November 18th, 2018, Smith’s life was put in jeopardy after experiencing a compound fracture in his leg. However, after braving through the prospect of amputation, two years of rehabilitation, 17 surgeries, and even almost death, Alex Smith was able to take on the football field once again (Sporting News). 

Players fighting against all odds seemed to be a recurring theme this season. Aaron Rodgers, one of the greatest QBs of all time, was shocked when his team, the Green Bay Packers, traded up in the draft to pick their QB of the future, Jordan Love. But with no fear at heart, Rodgers stepped up to the plate and won league MVP, showing his worth at 37 years old (NFL). 

Of course, it will be impossible to fit all of the spectacular moments of the season within one article, but this league was not shy of giving even more to its fans. From Derrick Henry’s impenetrable stiff arm to Justin Herbert’s impressive rookie year, it’s not surprising that that avid were stoked for their favorite part of the year: the Super Bowl.

After a clash in the playoffs featuring surprise teams such as the Cleveland Browns and regular season giants like the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Super Bowl ended up featuring, on paper, an exciting matchup: the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As a battle of the new generation against the old, young QB star Patrick Mahomes took on that of presumably the greatest football player and QB of all time, Tom Brady. Would this be a hand off of the torch? Is this the final step of Patrick Mahomes becoming the face of the league? Not really. With a 31-9 win for the Bucs, Tom Brady secured his 7th Lombardi Trophy. While there was controversy behind the game with fans criticizing certain pass interference calls against the Chiefs, the game would have still been over without them. With a master performance by the Buccaneer defense and a horrible performance by the Chiefs in general, the game was over before it really even started.

However, this next offseason could potentially drown out that boring end to the year. Tradings and dealings kicked into action when QB Matthew Stafford was sent from the Detroit Lions to the Los Angeles Rams for 2022 and 2023 first-round draft picks, a 2021 third round pick, and QB Jared Goff (CBS NFL). 

Other QBs have also been predicted to eventually be circulated around the trade market. This theory was further proven when former Eagles QB Carson Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2021 third-round pick. QBs Matt Ryan and Sam Darnold could debatably have the same fate as these other players depending on the futures of their respective teams (The Athletic). 

However, what’s not debatable is the horrendous offseason some teams are bound to have, most notably the Houston Texans. After almost defeating the eventual Super Bowl champions in the 2020 playoffs, the Texans are on a clear downward trajectory after making potentially one of the worst trades in NFL history with the DeAndre Hopkins trade. And after mismanagement after mismanagement, the Texans released historically great defensive end J.J. Watt instead of trading him. Surprisingly, Watt ended up signing with the Arizona Cardinals as I was editing this piece to team up with former Texan DeAndre Hopkins, thus solidifying the fact that the Cardinals now basically own the Texans. Not only that, but after signing surprisingly bad coaching staff, star QB Deshaun Watson is on trajectory to leaving. The Texans encapsulate the definition of a poor offseason with the amount of high ranking picks they flushed down the drain in trades and the number of losing seasons that are bound to come (The Athletic).

Other than Texans fans, avid NFL viewers are extremely excited for the coming months.

“It will be one of the most exciting in league history,” says NFL fan and Ramapo Student Ciro Schiro. “A record number of franchise elite level QBs are on the market and, even up to about 5 years ago, franchise QBs usually stayed on one team for the majority of their career or maybe had a second team for a little while at the end of their prime. Outside of QBs, it’s still a deep free agency class at every position and it can propel bad teams from last year with a lot of cap space like the Jags.”

 However, what’s a great offseason without a great draft class?

“This draft class is also incredibly deep but very odd to scout because of the college opt-outs this season due to Covid-19,” says Ciro Schiro once again. “Also, because of the record number of potential first-round QBs, we can see up to 10 to 15 teams possibly trade up. The amount of quality QBs in this draft class just adds to the wild and unprecedented QB movement already happening. As a Giants fan though, this draft class could be one of the most volatile and unexpected ever. Overall, I hope the Giants can take an offensive weapon to advance Daniel Jones’ career.” 

For a season capped with dead silence from the stands, this NFL season surely did make up for it with a boom of unpredictability.