x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Television viewers had good reason to tune in for NFL’s exciting first week

Talk about a flying start, the NFL season could not have begun much better.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, carrying the new wave’s banner, tossed for 412 in Week 1. Denis Poroy / AP Photo
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, carrying the new wave’s banner, tossed for 412 in Week 1. Denis Poroy / AP Photo

Opening weekend brought widespread joy to the intense world of the NFL.

Aside from officials that botched key calls in the 49ers-Packers and Texans-Chargers games, the usual slew of injuries that nibble away at the league’s vast appeal and the Jacksonville Jaguars, the only losing squad out of 16 to get crushed (by 28-2, the first such score ever), the only fitting emoticon was a smiley face.

The margin of 12 games was a touchdown or less, thus buttressing the “any given Sunday” mantra, which holds that every team (except maybe the Jags) has a chance.

The beloved Manning brothers, representing the league’s old guard, passed for a combined 912 yards. San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick, carrying the new wave’s banner, tossed for 412 while the other Bay Area quarterback, Oakland’s Terrelle Pryor, gained 112 ground yards in his coming out.

Philadelphia pulled the sheet off their futuristic fast-break offence and were downright dazzling under rookie coach Chip Kelly, cramming 53 offensive snaps into the first half against Washington.

Television ratings were through the roof, which already was as high as the ceiling in a domed stadium. The 49ers’ win was watched by the largest audience since the Academy Awards seven months earlier. Other networks set records for opening week.

Teams stress getting out of the gate quickly. For sure, the league to which they belong could not have bolted out any faster than it did in Week 1.

sports@thenational.ae