The NFL season has started and I’m totally unprepared. It’s okay though, I have a team and they won. Yes, the Oakland Raiders beat the Tennessee Titans 26-16 on the road or (away from home) and I watched the game. It was the first regular season game I that have watched in full. It only took that crown as it finished before the Steelers v Browns game I had on another screen.
I discovered that if you have two games on at the same time you can watch one while there are stoppages in the other. This may seem obvious to most fans but I thought it was brilliant. You just have to have your priorities and be quick with the mute button.
I’m doing my best to learn players at the moment, not just Raiders players but also across the league. I’ve joined a Fantasy Football league with some of the other guys from 2BitSports. My team the Honolulu Honeybadgers did ok in the draft seeing as I didn’t know what I was doing. It’s a small league so there weren’t too many picks per round. I got Aaron Rodgers from The Packers, Devonta Freeman from The Falcons, Odell Beckham Jr and Derek Carr from The Raiders. I seemed to do pretty well but made a rookie mistake of picking two defenses. One can be dropped and I can pick someone up off the waiver wire where any player who hasn’t been picked by a team in the fantasy league stays and can be picked up when you get an injury or just decide to change.
I made a few mistakes. Included players who were either injured (I didn’t check) or were on a “bye” week where their team didn’t play for example. I should have figured there would be a bye week but I’m so used to watching soccer that it didn’t occur to me until I checked during the first games.
I didn’t have a team picked in the pre-season so this was my first time watching the Raiders. To be honest I liked what I saw. Their quarterback Derek Carr had a good game, after the Amari Cooper’s (Wide Receiver) first touchdown in the first quarter where they could not get him down the Titans had most of the ball but in the 2nd quarter he threw a few good passes but one to Michael Crabtree (Wide Receiver) was excellent.
I knew I liked Marshawn Lynch (Running Back) but watching him and Donald Penn (Offensive Tackle) run through people was way more entertaining than I thought it would be. I was impressed by Amari Cooper (Wide Receiver) too but the star of the show was Giorgio Tavecchio, an Italian born Kicker who kicked four field goals from four (two from 52yds out) in his first ever NFL game. Tavecchio only played because of an injury to Sebastian Janikowski who has been with the Raiders since 2000. Even the Raiders coach Jack Del Rio couldn’t believe how well he did. He signed his first contract with the 49ers in 2012 but still hadn’t played a game at the age of 27.
Even by watching the games on Sunday I’ve learned quite a bit. I am trying to see how defenses line up as well as offenses. I’m still trying to get a grip on what each position does. I’ve been playing Madden 18 and one thing that is really helpful is it has a basic skills feature. It teaches complete novices like me the positions and roles of each. I still can’t remember all of them but in a bid to fast track my learning in between games I have started a career mode as a franchise owner.
I had heard that you can move franchises in Madden. This year one of the options is Dublin and as I’m Irish I decided to give it a go. I took over the Chicago Bears and the following season they moved to Dublin to become the “Shamrocks”. They’ve now become the 9th most valuable NFL franchise even though I managed to lose most of my players to free agents because I simulated the entire first season to move the franchise and forgot to re-sign them on new contracts.
I started the new “Longshot” mode as well which is the new rags to riches story mode. Having played the FIFA 17 version on the Frostbite engine I have to say I prefer this story wise. I don’t feel as comfortable with the gameplay. It can be a bit “Press X not to die” in places but for someone like me it’s good because I don’t have to be good to enjoy it.
Seeing as I’m in Ireland I’m reliant on UK TV for games. The Raiders were playing at 6pm Irish time and the only one I could watch live was the Steelers game. I then found that there’s an NFL Season Pass. For around €100 per year you gain access to all the games. To be honest if the same offer was available for the Premier League I would pay it in a heartbeat. The ability to watch it anywhere would be great but I’ll see if I do the same with the NFL.
One thing I really like is the availability of highlights online via the NFL’s YouTube page. The highlights are eight minutes long. Much better than some soccer games get on Match of the Day on BBC.
The Raiders are playing the Jets in Oakland at 9pm this Sunday. I’m looking forward to it as I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the first game. After a week of managing the Shamrocks and learning positions and plays I should have a bit more understanding and appreciation.
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