The NFL regular season is just days from getting under way. On September 8th, the defending champions, the LA Rams, will face off against the Buffalo Bills — who are favorites to win the Super Bowl on the NFL lines at around +600 — in the first clash of the regular season.
There’s a lot of anticipation and expectation as fans, pundits and the teams themselves all wait to see if the various draft picks and trades they’ve made during the year have paid off. Could this also be the year Tom Brady, who came out of retirement not long after going into it, finally decides to hang up his boots for good, or has he still got a few seasons left in him?
But what if you’re new to the NFL experience? Where do you start? Don’t worry, because you’re in good hands. Below is a guide to NFL games, including what to expect, how to enjoy the game and some of the best teams to watch when the season kicks off.
What to expect from an NFL game
An NFL game is an experience. The crowds are absolutely massive, with stadiums hosting anything between 60,000 and 100,000 people or more, depending on the team. Now, imagine all those passionate fans cheering and chanting and you get an idea of the atmosphere as they get behind their team. You’ll be in awe.
The games are fast-paced and exciting, and seeing them live is intense. You’ll see the players up close, and as they zip up and down the grid, the speed of the game will become even more evident to you.
At stadiums, you’ll see fans who don’t enter the stadium but just attend the parties after the games (tailgating). These parties are a huge tradition among NFL fans, who’ll go to socialize, savor some grilled, smoked or barbecued food and, if there’s a TV set up, catch on the game on TV.
Getting transport to games
Driving to games is possible but not recommended, especially during Super Bowl week, when the host venue city is even busier than usual. Often, stadiums only have limited parking space.
Public transport is often a better option. Underground services and trains are a better option, with services often leaving you close to the stadium itself.
Enjoying the game
The 50 yard line, which is in the center of the grid, is generally the best place for a consistent view of the game. Sitting around here, 10 to 20 rows up, will offer you the best view. If you want the up-close-and-personal experience, you might prefer the first row, because you get close to the players and can hear what they’re saying and get more insight into what’s going on. However, they may unintentionally block your view of the game.
Eating at a game is an experience in itself, too. You can buy all manner of foods, depending on the hosting team. Burgers, tacos, hot dogs, pretzels, chicken sandwiches, bratwurst… the food at some stadiums will have you just as eager to attend game as the actual matchup itself. The Washington Redskins in particular offer fine catering.
The best teams to watch
There’s almost no such thing as a dull NFL game, but some teams in particular will have you on the edge of your seat. Here are some to keep a special eye on this season:
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are unbelievably entertaining to watch. They have a fast, explosive, creative offense willing to try new things, and Patrick Mahomes is possibly the strongest-armed thrower in the game. They have the fastest player at just about position in the form of their receiver Tyreek Hill as well.
The Rams have major star power, and not just in the form of Aaron Rodgers. Part of the reason for the excitement the Rams generate is that they’re not really a team that keep a cautious eye on the future. They play for today and to win, which is why they’ve invested in so many star players, and it’s rewarded them with appearances at the Super Bowl, not to mention a win as well.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucks have their star man, Tom Brady, back, and although the team might not be the top dogs just now, the world saw what they could do last season. The boys from Tampa Bay have a strong defense, and with Brady as their quarterback have a formidable offense. He throws deep and is quicker now to get rid of the ball before the rush pass takes him down.
It’s a going to be an exhilarating NFL season as always. If you can get to a game, you won’t regret it. The atmosphere is electric, and you’ll love seeing your favorite team doing battle on the grid in the flesh. Why not catch a game featuring one of the teams above?
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