Shocks, Meltdowns, & Dark Horses: 2022-23 NFL Catchup

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The NFL is one of the world’s most unique sports leagues. First, the sport itself is specific to North America, meaning that the league has few international fans. After all, it makes sense that American football appeals to a largely American audience. Despite this, the league is the world’s most lucrative—with teams outperforming the revenue of international franchises such as football giants FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

But the strangeness doesn’t stop there. Despite a relatively small market compared to football and cricket, and incredibly deep pockets, the league only runs for 17 weeks. This is one of the shortest periods of play for any professional league—and players are only expected to play 16 games a season, possibly up to 20 depending on how the postseason pans out.

While much of this comes down to the physicality of the game (it’s incredibly demanding), it also means that fans experience a whirlwind of American football action each year. And not all of the season’s most interesting stories come from the gridiron itself. Let’s dive into this year’s top stories so far.

Jalen Hurts Leading the Eagles

This year, Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills is the favorite in NFL regular season MVP odds from US sportsbooks. As the quarterback of the top contender for this year’s Super Bowl, the selection makes sense. However, Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles is listed second—a much more surprising pick from a young quarterback.

He’s been the starting quarterback for the team since 2021 and has led the Eagles to the league’s best regular-season record so far. As Week 7 approaches, the Eagles lead the league with a 6-0 record, highlighting Hurts’ offensive power. Already, he’s nabbed an Offensive Player of the Month award for September.

Brady & the Buccs (plus Rodgers & the Packers)

Allen and Hurts aren’t the only quarterbacks making waves in the league. The NFL’s most veteran talents are Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. Both stars are in their last years—Brady just turned 45, while Rodgers is approaching his 39th birthday. 

While both have remained in the league searching for one more Super Bowl win, neither has been able to make much meaningful progress with their teams. Both have 3-3 records and, in the case of Brady, even seem to be experiencing personal meltdowns that have led to on-field outbursts.

Photo by Tim Mielke on Unsplash

Mayhem in the Boardroom

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is approaching a new term in which NFL franchise owners will be partly responsible for his fate. This has led to mayhem in the boardroom, according to reports. Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys (the league’s most lucrative team), and Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots (the league’s most successful team as of late), have been butting heads.

Kraft and other NFL owners support Goodell’s renewed contract, but Jones apparently doesn’t—and the pair got into a heated exchange during an owner’s meeting. But that’s not the only hint of discord. Dan Snyder, the owner of the Commanders, may also be seeing backlash from the notoriously close-mouthed owners.

Snyder has been embroiled in multiple controversies over the last decade, many of which are only now coming to light thanks to public and private investigations. In order for the NFL owner’s commission to give Snyder the boot from his position as owner, at least 24 owners would need to vote him out from a group of 32. As of October 2022, Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay looks to be leading that charge.

Expanding International Interest

While it seems Goodell will keep the favor of his franchise owners (Jones aside), his work in the NFL will be felt for a long time. One of Goodell’s primary projects has been revamping the league’s International Series. In the coming years, the league will see the regular season and exhibition games played in Mexico, Germany, and the UK.

Additionally, Goodell recently allocated special marketing rights for all 32 teams across the world. This means that each team has a specific market they’re allowed to target in order to foster an international fanbase.