Here’s a new feature for the regular season: a little pregame prep we’ll call What To Know. Every Friday I’ll post the game to know, player to know, and storyline to know for the upcoming week.
And…a handful of recipes to make for your football watching pleasure.
It’s the best of all worlds! You’ll be well-educated AND well-fed!
So, off we go. Here’s the crucial information you need to know about Week 1 of the regular season:
GAME TO KNOW: Steelers vs. Broncos
This marks Peyton Manning’s return to football…and in a new uniform. Last year the Broncos ended the season with Tim Tebow as starting quarterback. They beat the Steelers in the first round of the playoffs, which means two things 1: The Broncos are a playoff-capable, if not playoff-caliber, team, and 2: The Steelers have something to prove. They had no business losing that game. The Steelers are also starting their first season without star wide receiver Hines Ward (retired in the off season) and with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley (former Chiefs head coach), so there will be plenty to watch for on the Steelers side of the ball, too.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Tim Tebow
The Jets actually did a respectable job of not talking about something: how they are planning on using Tim Tebow. Watch for Tebow to be used in unconventional ways and in 4th down situations…or in a completely different way that no one is anticipating.
STORYLINE TO KNOW: Replacement Refs
The regular refs are in a lockout with the NFL over contract disputes. So the NFL has brought in replacement refs to officiate until the regular refs return…and homeboys are struggling. I mean, you can hardly blame them. They’ve been pulled from NAIA college leagues, the ridiculous but legitimate lingerie league, and other conspicuous places. So it’s not like they have NFL experience. But still…it’s been rough. Someone called an eight yard penalty during one of the preseason games. Eight yards. Now, I know we’re all still learning here, but I think it’s pretty cut and dry that penalties come in 5 yard increments. Oh boy.
The replacement refs pose a few sizable problems.
1: Player safety. It’s kind of like the “wait until your father gets home” complex – players will try to get away with more because the replacement refs might be less confident about making harsh calls.
2. Game timing. During preseason, games felt like they took an eternity because it took an eternity for the refs to discuss the penalties and decide on the correct call.
3. Game Integrity. More often than not, it hasn’t been the correct call.
For a hilarious insider’s view on this situation, check out Vikings punter Chris Kluwe’s article on deadspin.
RECIPES TO MAKE:
3 Ingredient Mini Turtle Brownies
5 ingredient baked potato skins
grilled zucchini pizza
maple pecan popcorn
roasted garlic guacamole