By: Kylan Watson
Opening weekend of the 2016 National Football League season wrapped up yesterday with wins by the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco Forty-Niners. What a weekend it was, it opened up with a great game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. The games and the hits were fast and furious and support for Colin Kaepernick and more protests were also seen by fans.
Fans got to see the debuts of Dak Prescott, Trevor Siemian, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Carson Wentz. Garoppolo, Simian, and Wentz each got to lead their teams to their first victories of the season. Prescott on the other hand got to suffer his first NFL loss.
Siemian had big shoes to fill, now being the quarterback for the 2016 super bowl champion Broncos. He is replacing Peyton Manning. He had a very impressive debut, leading his team down the field and using his legs to pick up critical first downs. Siemian threw for 178 yards, threw one touchdown pass, turned the ball over twice, and had a 69.1 quarterback rating. Some fans, experts, and sports reporters were worried that Siemian would struggle in his debut. Siemian did have accuracy issues during the game. In one particular instance Simian tried to throw a screen pass and did not throw the ball high enough and he threw an interception.
Another quarterback who debut was Jimmy Garappolo. Garappolo will be filling in for legendary Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Brady was suspended by the NFL for four games. Garappolo also led his team to a victory. He completed 24 out of 33 passes, threw one touchdown and had a 106.1 quarterback rating. After his first performance Garoppolo had a lot of people saying, Tom Brady who needs him. Even though it is just one game, he had an impressive showing against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have one of the top defenses in the NFL. Garoppolo is showing that the future might be now and just like Brady, Garoppolo led his team to a victory that many people did not think he could pull off. Garoppolo has three more games to continue improving and show that he is the future quarterback of the Patriots whenever Brady decides to retire.
Another thing that debut during opening weekend was players showing support for Colin Kaepernick by joining his protest. Broncos Linebacker Brandon Marshall got things started for NFL players. He took a knee during the playing of the national anthem during the Panthers and Broncos game. Following in Marshall’s footsteps four Miami Dolphins players took a knee during the playing of the national anthem on Sunday, Kansas City Chief’s Cornerback Marcus Peters raised his right fist during the playing of the national anthem, the Seahawks players and coaches locked arms during the playing of the anthem, two New England Patriots player raised their right fists during the playing of the anthem, and Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid took a knee yesterday during the playing of the anthem.
Many people did not think that last weekend was an appropriate time to protest, because the NFL season opened on the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The players ignored the warnings because racism, discrimination, and prejudice never take a day off, and the players protested despite it being 9/11. Seems like Kaepernick’s stance has mobilized his peers in the NFL and they are lining up behind him to make a stance for the oppressed. It seems Kaepernick has awakened social consciousness in his fellow players and teammates.
Football is back baby and along with all that, more socially conscious football players. Now interest is not only found in the games, but also before the games to see if the players will continue their protest.