Don’t Miss These 11 Overlooked Facts About the Thrilling 2023 N.F.L. Season

The NFL Off-Season: What You Need to Know

The NFL off-season has become shorter with the extension of the regular season to 17 games. However, it still feels long enough for impactful events to fade from memory. As the regular season begins, let’s refresh our minds on some noteworthy happenings.

Damar Hamlin’s Comeback

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s journey back to the field is nothing short of inspiring. After going into cardiac arrest during a game last season, Hamlin made the team’s roster and will provide backup to Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. Hamlin’s recovery progress was steady, from being cleared for football activities to playing in his first game since the incident. He’s ready to step back onto the field with confidence in Buffalo’s Week 1 game against the Jets.

Eric Bieniemy’s Move to Washington

After a decade of working with Coach Andy Reid in Kansas City, Eric Bieniemy has taken on a new role with the Washington Commanders. As the sole offensive play-caller and assistant head coach, Bieniemy has the opportunity to develop and run an offense away from Reid’s shadow. The transition hasn’t been entirely smooth, with concerns raised about Bieniemy’s coaching style, but he’s determined to elevate an offense that has struggled in recent years.

Tua Tagovailoa’s Decision to Keep Playing

Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa considered retirement after sustaining two concussions last season. However, he ultimately decided to continue playing at the age of 25. The NFL has modified its concussion protocol following an investigation into Tagovailoa’s handling, and he has taken up jiu-jitsu to better protect himself on the field.

Flex Scheduling for Thursday Night Football

The pursuit of media money has led to a new rule allowing flex scheduling for Thursday Night Football. The league can now move up to two Sunday afternoon games to Amazon’s Thursday night broadcast, with at least four weeks’ notice. This change has faced some criticism, but it will provide more flexibility for scheduling matchups.

Brian Flores Takes Charge of the Vikings’ Defense

After a season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brian Flores has become the defensive play-caller for the Minnesota Vikings. Flores’s racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and its teams will proceed through the judicial system. He aims to make a significant impact on the Vikings’ defense while fighting for equality in the coaching ranks.

Rule Change: Fair Catch on Kickoffs

In an effort to reduce injuries, players can now call for fair catches on kickoffs and on free kicks after a safety. If a fair catch is made behind the team’s 25-yard line, the ball will be placed at the 25, similar to the college rule. The NFL expects this change to decrease the number of concussions sustained on returns.

Suspensions for Gambling Violations

The NFL’s partnership with legalized sports betting has raised concerns about the integrity of the game. Ten players are currently serving suspensions for gambling violations, and the league insists that no games were compromised. Critics question the league’s consistency in dealing with gambling issues.

Sean Payton Makes a Comeback

After a brief retirement, Sean Payton is back as head coach, this time with the challenge of rehabilitating Russell Wilson. Payton’s tough approach includes not allowing Wilson’s personal performance coaches in the team facility. It remains to be seen how Payton’s return will impact the team’s performance.

Odell Beckham Jr. Joins the Ravens

Odell Beckham Jr. signed with the Baltimore Ravens after recovering from a knee injury. Alongside quarterback Lamar Jackson, Beckham joins a new-look offense that also includes Todd Monken as the offensive coordinator. Expectations are high for the Ravens’ revamped offense.

Emergency Third Quarterback Rule

A new rule implemented this off-season allows teams to dress a 49th player as an emergency third quarterback. This player can enter the game if two other quarterbacks on the roster are unavailable due to injury or disqualification. This rule provides teams with more flexibility in case of emergency situations, as demonstrated during the N.F.C. championship.

Las Vegas Hosts the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl will be held in Las Vegas for the first time since the Raiders’ move from Oakland. The city is buzzing with excitement as it prepares to host one of the biggest sporting events of the year. It’s a momentous occasion for both the NFL and Las Vegas.

As the regular season kicks off, these key NFL off-season events should be kept in mind. Stay tuned for an action-packed season ahead!


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