With 28 of the 32 NFL teams now looking at Week 1 in the rearview mirror, fans in some cities are already freaking out about how surprisingly good/bad/mediocre their favorite team looks this season.

Truth be told, even in a league where every game matters, losing in the first week is never the final nail in any loser's playoff coffin—in the last two seasons, at least four teams that made the playoffs had lost their season openers, some rather poorly. Meanwhile, winning the season opener hasn't exactly offered any kind of season-long guarantee for success.

(The Jets have won their last three season openers. Let's not start planning any parades for Week 1 victors.)

There were some surprisingly bright spots on the first Sunday of the NFL season, with some horribly low moments as well. But remember, through all of the ups and downs of Week 1, the sky is not yet falling…for most of us.


As the 2013 NFL season begins, I can't help but shake the sense that Tom Brady may be the most important man in the world.

There has been so much said this preseason about Robert Griffin IIIColin KaepernickRussell WilsonMatt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers, among others—and holy cow, did you see that opening game from Peyton Manning? Brady, in a way, seems to have gotten a little lost in the NFL quarterback conversation.

With only a handful of true Super Bowl contenders in the AFC, and the AFC East possibly being the weakest division in the league, it feels insane to suggest the New England Patriots aren't one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. And yet, so much of that prediction feels like it's based on one guy.

In an offseason where everything in New England has been about everyone but Brady, there is no player—perhaps in the entire NFL—whose team is more about him as the season begins.


Ryan Braun is a cheater and a liar. We have known the Milwaukee Brewers slugger was a cheater for a while now, especially after years of defiance led to the acceptance of a 65-game suspension in the wake of the Biogenesis investigation.

Looking back on his legendary speech after, ahem, clearing his name during the 2012 drug suspension appeal—and the many denials before and after—is comical at this point. Everything Braun has said about performance-enhancing drugs in the past now serves to expose him as a liar.

With nothing left to lose at this point, Braun released a statement, via MLBlogs, apologizing for the cheating and the lying. And while fans of the Brewers won't forget what Braun did, they certainly can, and will, forgive him. 

While a lengthy tell-all statement seems like a good start, especially after rumors swirled last week that Braun was sullying the name of the test collector by suggesting he was anti-Semitic, there is one way Braun will get Brewers fans back on his side.


Adrian Peterson might be taking the whole "Purple Jesus" thing a tad too literally.

When I saw the quote "I'm juicing on the blood of Jesus" flash across my Twitter feed from NFL humor site Kissing Suzy Kolber, I assumed it was a tease for another one of its clever satirizations, creating an over-inflated egotistical caricature of the league's reigning MVP.

Clicking the link had me ready for hilarity, until I realized it was an actual direct quote Peterson used in a feature for Peter King's new football-centric TheMMQB.com. Sorry, KSK, Peterson outdid you at your own game.

In a feature called "10 Things I Think I Think," King's site asks current and former players to share 10 bite-sized nuggets of information about their careers, upcoming expectations and whatever else is on their minds. Peterson, it seems, has records on his mind. And Jesus.


Chip Kelly came to the NFL from the University of Oregon as something of a football innovator.

Kelly has always prided himself on finding any possible edge to make his team better, even if a new idea or innovation flips the NFL paradigm on its head. In one offseason, Kelly has changed the entire Eagles training camp process, from location to nutrition to the music to the pace in which the team practices and plays.

If everything in Kelly's NFL seems different, why shouldn't that pertain to the quarterback situation as well?

Everyone—from Eagles fans to the players to even the media—has been patient while Kelly evaluates his quarterbacks to determine the best player to lead the Eagles into his first NFL season.


Too often in life, human beings define one another by what makes them different.

Throughout time, the human race has gone out of its way to classify and categorize itself into different subcultures based on color, language, religion and—as is the case in the world of international sports right now—sexuality.

Russia, host of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, recently passed a law that essentially prohibits people from "acting gay" in public. The actual term the Russian law—signed into effect by President Vladimir Putin in June—uses is "propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships."

In other words, you are allowed to be gay while in Russia, but you aren't allowed to be gay in public, or show support for anyone who is gay in public, while in Russia.


What can a soccer fan get for $83 million?

Someone in charge of a top European football club might get an entirely rebuilt midfield for that sum—or, inexplicably, one world-class offensive player—to make a run at a league title and a spot in the UEFA Champions League.

Someone in charge of the top soccer league in America might come close to paying the salaries of every single player in MLS. (The total of salaries in MLS, before Clint Dempsey's mega-deal with Seattle Sounders, is somewhere in the neighborhood of $90 million.)

Or, perhaps with $83 million, someone in charge of an American television network could procure the rights to televise every single English Premier League match for an entire year. That is precisely what NBC did last year to secure the rights to Premier League matches in America for each of the next three seasons.


Jason Dufner was not the best player on the PGA Tour to never win a major, and he never will be after winning the 2013 PGA Championship by two strokes over Jim Furyk on Sunday.

The game may have owed Dufner a major after he lost the 2011 PGA in heartbreaking fashion to his good friend Keegan Bradley. If there was a moniker in golf for the "player who hadn't won a major but really should have," Dufner would have been on that short list—with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Thomas Bjorn, Jean Van de Velde and Colin Montgomerie to name a few. 

But in the competition for the label "best player never to win a major," Dufner started the year behind two of this year's other major victors—Adam Scott and Justin Rose. Now, with them off the list, who's at the top?

Many thought  Scott—the 2013 Masters champion—would have won multiple majors by this point in his career. Dufner was probably not in the same category as  Rose—the 2013 U.S. Open Champion—either, at least in terms of longevity in his career. Regardless, all three are now immortalized in the annals of major golf (as the British Open winner, Phil Mickelson, already was).


I don't know if Albert Pujols has ever taken performance-enhancing drugs. Frankly, I don't care. The Steroid Era in baseball, which rather seamlessly morphed into the PED Era, has become so much more about defending one's innocence that it could ever be about actually, you know, being innocent.

Baseball moralists—many of whom consistently looked the other way as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were saving the sport in the 1990s yet seem to revel in the demise of today's cheaters with perverted delight—have a difficult conundrum on their hands: Should they believe Pujols when he defends his Hall of Fame-caliber career, or believe former St. Louis Cardinal All-Star Jack Clark, who recently accused Pujols of cheating?

Facts, in this particular drug allegation, are hard to come by. The only facts we know are that Clark went on his new radio show and accused Pujols of taking steroids early in his career, Pujols denied those claims, and Clark was removed from his radio job. That's the black and white in this story, with the rest, like everything in this era in Major League Baseball, swathed in a sea of gray.

Clark claimed that Chris Mihlfeld, a former trainer for Pujols, told Clark in 2000—when both worked in the Dodgers organization—that the trainer "shot Pujols up" with drugs earlier in his career. Clark said that he didn't know who Pujols was at the time, but Mihlfeld told him the slugger would soon be a star. Pujols debuted in the majors in 2001 and has been a star ever since.


For much of his first round at the 2013 PGA Championship, Tiger Woods didn't play poorly. In fact, if you only saw Woods off the tee or on the greens, there were times where he looked downright great. 

After carding a two-under 33 on his first nine—the back nine at Oak Hill as Woods began off the 10th tee on Thursday—the top-ranked golfer in the world struggled coming home to finish one over par, six strokes behind the leader at the time he finished his round.

After his double-bogey finish at the ninth hole, Woods "politely declined" to speak on camera with the television crew, but did talk with the assembled media following his round.

As Steve DiMeglio of USA Today noted, on his first nine Woods saved par from eight, four, three, four and five feet after missing the green in regulation, so the notion of Woods leaving the ball right where he wanted it may have been a bit rose colored.