NFL Preseason: The Top 20 Things You Need to Know
With the NFL season right around the corner, and the preseason games about to kick off, we look forward to that weekly ritual of having our friends and family over, donning our favorite team's jersey, having a few cold ones, and rooting on our team to victory.
With the NFL season comes some of the biggest storylines to watch; there's even been some storylines we didn't expect that have reared their ugly head in just the first few weeks of training camp.
There are rookies to watch, there are coaches that could be fired or hired as the season progresses, and there could be teams that will come out of nowhere to surprise us all.
What are the top 20 things to watch during the NFL season? I'm glad you asked, because here we go...
No. 20: NFC Championship Rematch In Week One
NFL fans won't have to wait long to see a rematch of the NFC title game from last year. The Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints will match up in Week One of the NFL season on September 9th from the Louisiana Superdome.
What we don't yet know is, Brett Favre or no Brett Favre?
No. 19: The First Ever Monday Night Game at Meadowlands Stadium
The New York Jets and New York Giants begin a new era in 2010, as both teams move from Giants Stadium to the brand new Meadowlands Stadium.
The first Monday Night game of the season will be the first ever at Meadowlands Stadium as the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS will host the Baltimore Ravens.
No. 18: The Battle of the 2009 Heisman Trophy Candidates
The Heisman Trophy finalists from 2009, as well as two winners from previous years, will take center stage during the 2010 NFL season.
Colt McCoy (Browns), Ndamukong Suh (Lions), and Toby Gerhart (Vikings), along with Heisman winners Sam Bradford (Rams) and Tim Tebow (Broncos), will all get to showcase themselves this season.
No. 17: Battle of Bad Blood
They don't like each other and one team wants payback, so you better believe there's going to be some trash talking when this game rolls around.
The Dallas Cowboys took three games from the Philadelphia Eagles at the end of last season; one of those games included an Eagles reporter spitting on the Cowboys' star at midfield.
They will play in Dallas in Week 14 and in Philadelphia in Week 17.
No. 16: Can Ryan Mathews Replace LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego
The San Diego Chargers will have a brand new running back when the 2010 season opens. No longer will the initials "L.T." be mentioned when they talk about the Chargers backfield.
Instead, it will be rookie running back Ryan Mathews out of Fresno State that will have the weight of the Charger fans on his back. There's been a lot of talk about Mathews, and how good experts think this young kid will be.
But, until he proves it on the playing field, only time will tell as to how well he does replacing arguably the most famous running back to wear the lightning bolt, LaDainian Tomlinson.
No. 15: Can the New Orleans Saints Repeat as Super Bowl Champions
The New Orleans Saints look to be one of the favorites to return to the Super Bowl in February of 2011, which will take place in Arlington, Texas, not far from their home state.
Drew Brees is back, Reggie Bush is fresh off causing USC's problems, and head coach Sean Payton is also returning.
No. 14: Who Will Be the Best First-Year Quarterback?
Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, or Jimmy Clausen? All four of these former college standouts could be the starters for their respective teams this season.
Who will be the best of these four and will their college days translate to the pros?
No. 13: Payback Waiting in the Wings
The Dallas Cowboys went into their NFC playoff game against the Vikings with high hopes, especially after dispatching the Philadelphia Eagles right out of the playoffs.
However, the Cowboys forgot that they couldn't walk into a stadium and expect the other team to lay down. In fact, the Vikings laid a severe beatdown on the 'boys, and one of the most lopsided playoff victories in recent memory.
The Cowboys want payback, and they want it badly. They'll get their chance in Week Six as the two teams will match up in Minnesota.
No. 12: Jake Delhomme Faces His Former Team in Week 12
In one of the sappiest exit press conferences I've seen in a long time, quarterback Jake Delhomme said a teary goodbye to the Carolina Panthers organization and its fans.
He'll get a shot at his former team as the Cleveland Browns will host the Carolina Panthers in Week 17.
No. 11: Mike Shanahan Begins His Tenure in Washington D.C.
He had success in Denver, now the Washington Redskins are hoping some of that rubs off on them as they welcome in first-year head coach Mike Shanahan.
Only time will tell just how well Shanahan works with owner Dan Snyder. Is there a blowout in their future?
No. 10: Kevin Kolb Takes Over the Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagle fans got their wish as the team shipped off former quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Redskins, and will once again go with Kevin Kolb as their leader.
The fans like him, the team likes him, but can he bring the team back to the "big dance?"
No. 10: Donavan McNabb to Face His Former Team
Speaking of quarterback Donavan McNabb, the former leader of the Philadelphia Eagles will get a shot at redemption twice this season as a member of the Washington Redskins.
The Eagles and Redskins will face off in Week Four in Philadelphia, where McNabb is likely to get a less than warm reception, and Week 10 in Washington D.C.
No. 9: How Will Ben Roethlisberger Be Received Around the NFL?
After all the off-the-field drama this past offseason, some may wonder how Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be received around visiting NFL cities this season.
After rape allegations surfaced, Roethlisberger was the center of media attention for weeks. While the Steelers have said they have brought him back, even their patience has to be a little frayed at this point.
No. 8: Showdown Between Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy
One from Oklahoma, one from Nebraska, and both will have an immediate impact on their new teams. The Detroit Lions passed on Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy to draft Ndamukong Suh from Nebraska.
The two college standouts will be center stage in Week 15 as the Detroit Lions will head to Tampa, Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
No. 7: Who Will Make Their Case for Rookie of the Year?
This could be one of the more talented class of rookies and it will make for interesting reading all year long.
Guys like Dez Bryant (Cowboys), Ryan Mathews (Chargers), Ndamukong Suh (Lions), and Gerald McCoy (Buccaneers) all have a shot.
No. 6: LaDainian Tomlinson Begins His Tenure in New York
After spending most of his career in San Diego, one of the softest media markets there is, LaDainian Tomlinson begins his tenure in one of the more harsh media markets in the country, New York. LT signed with the Jets in the offseason after the San Diego Chargers opted not to bring him back.
After a few slings of mud from the running back, he'll have to prove that he's the LT of old or risk the media questioning the move from Week One.
No. 5: Shoulder Pad Gate
Will he or won't he carry his shoulder pads? It wasn't a good start to his career as a Dallas Cowboy but Dez Bryant said he didn't know anything about a "rookie tradition."
If it were anyone but Roy Williams that was involved, this may have not been that big of a deal. But, since it was Williams, one has to wonder if these two will be able to coexist.
No. 4: Batman and Robin In the Flesh
Who would have ever thought we'd see these two guys on the same field at the same time, let alone playing on the same team.
But, alas, we have Ochocinco and Terrell Owens on the same team at the same time. Not saying these two guys won't have fun playing together, but let's not be mistaken: They both want the ball and they want it all the time.
Roger Goodell already has his "NFL Fine" paperwork out and his pen at the ready.
No. 3: The NFL Media Is Salivating Over the Cincinnati Bengals
Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Pacman Jones, and Tank Johnson in the same locker room for 18 weeks? This is too good to be true.
What kind of quotes could possibly come out of Cincinnati's locker room all season long?
No. 2: Dallas Cowboys In the Super Bowl in Their Home Stadium?
Could there be more pressure on Wade Phillips, and the Dallas Cowboys than this season? Owner Jerry Jones wants this team to win every year and be in the Super Bowl, every year.
But, in 2010, things are a tad bit different. The Super Bowl will be played at Cowboys Stadium, a.k.a. Jerry World, and the Dallas Cowboys are one team that's favored to get to the big game. Can they handle the pressure or will they fold come playoff time?
No. 1: Will Brett Favre Retire After the Season, if He Plays at All?
While he hasn't officially announced that he's coming back, most of us know that Favre just can't stay away from another year in the NFL.
The Vikings have already pleaded with him to come back, knowing full well that they're not nearly as much of a threat as they would be with him under center.
If he does come back, do we face another "will he play again" offseason? I don't know how much more of that I can take.