The New Era of NFL Football

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Mitchell Brenner, Sportw

If you grew up watching the NFL in the 2000s or 2010s, you probably remember watching players like Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers play on Sundays. Many of these players’ days on the football field are coming to a close. On February 1st, 2022 Tom Brady tweeted out announcing his retirement, ending his playing days in the NFL. With Ben Roethlisberger retiring just a week before Brady, many of these players that dominated the 2000s and 2010s are getting older and may retire within the next few years. Although fans sadly will be losing many of these players they grew up watching, the young players in the league are shaping up to have bright futures in the new era of the NFL.

The divisional round of the 2021 playoffs was filled with excitement for football fans. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by Tom Brady, matched up against the Los Angeles Rams. Tom Brady, who is known as the greatest football player of all time, was favored to win by 3 or more points. Entering the fourth quarter of regulation, the Buccaneers were down 27-13 and brought it to a 27-27 game with 42 seconds left on the clock. Then, the Buccaneers’ defense allowed the Rams to gather a game-winning drive to win the game with a field goal and bring the score to 30-27. Tom Brady and the reigning champion Buccaneers were knocked out of the playoffs in just the second round, eventually becoming Tom Brady’s last playoff game ever.

The Bills and Chiefs faced off in an AFC divisional round thriller in the 2022 playoffs. After the Chiefs beat the Bills in the AFC championship the prior year, this was a rematch that everyone was waiting for. From the start of the game, neither team let up, ending the first half with a tied score of 14-14. The third quarter had the Chiefs up by a score of 23-21, but the lead was not safe. In the final two minutes of the fourth quarter 25 points were scored, the second-most in NFL history since 1966 and most in playoff history, with the lead changing 4 times. Josh Allen and the Bills led a long drive ending with a touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis and a 2-point conversion pass to Stefon Diggs to make the score 29-26. Then, the Chiefs were able to answer right back with a 64-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill where he outran the entire Bills secondary with 44 of the yards being after the catch. The score being 33-29, the Bills led an amazing drive to score a touchdown with just 13 seconds left on the clock. With the clock against them, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs needed a miracle to win this game, and that was exactly what happened. 13 seconds on the clock is all the Chiefs needed to gather a game-tying drive ending with a successful field goal with no time left on the clock. The game advanced to overtime where the Chiefs won the coin toss and scored a touchdown to win the game 42-36 in a supreme playoff game. With the win, the Chiefs moved on to the AFC Championship final to play Joe Burrow and the Bengals.

2020 first overall pick quarterback Joe Burrow has had a breakout 2021 season after tearing his ACL in week 11 of the 2020 season. Burrow was drafted to a 2-14 Cincinnati Bengals team and was able to turn them into a 10-7 playoff team in just his second season in the NFL. Burrow, nicknamed “Joe Sheisty” after the Tiktoker “TraphouseSports” made a video calling him by the name referencing the rapper Pooh Sheisty. The Tiktok blew up and the nickname “Joe Sheisty” stuck on. Burrow led the Bengals to beat the Raiders 26-19 in the wildcard round of the playoffs, moving them to the divisional round. In the divisional round, the Bengals faced off against #1 seed Titans and pulled out a win to advance into the AFC championship. In the AFC championship game, the Bengals were up against the Kansas City Chiefs that were fresh off of their big win against the Bills. The Chiefs gained a second-quarter lead of 21-3, and when all hope was almost lost, Joe Sheisty began the epic comeback. The Bengals scored a touchdown before halftime to bring the score within 11 points. Coming out of halftime, the Bengals’ defense stepped up their game, not allowing the Chiefs to score until the final drive of the game. This allowed for Joe Burrow to take the game to overtime and eventually win with a score of 27-24. With this, Joe Sheisty headed to the Superbowl to take on the Los Angeles Rams in just his second season in the NFL. Although the Bengals fell short in a close 23-20 Superbowl loss, their team is filled with young talent that leaves the door open to many possibilities in the future.

Although it may be sad to see the greatest players of our generation start to retire, NFL fans can’t help but be happy with the bright future ahead. There are many young quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert already being considered the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Along with them the prominent rookies: Zach Wilson, Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones, and Davis Mills are seen to have great potential. Many teams in the NFL are teeming with electrifying young talent that will be nothing but amazing to watch for the next decade.