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New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

NFL season off to controversial start

The first three weeks of the NFL season have been overshadowed by controversy, with the majority of the talk coming from ex-Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

Rice was suspended indefinitely and then released after allegations surfaced of him striking his wife, Janay Rice.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has taken heat for his initial reaction to the incident, in which he issued a two-game suspension. Many fans found this suspension ridiculous, especially after the Cleveland Browns’ Josh Gordon was suspended the entire season for his fourth positive marijuana test in the NFL program.

After a new video surfaced showing Rice beat his wife to the ground, Goodell took harsher action, suspending Rice indefinitely (Rice was also released by the Ravens).

Further tainting the image of the NFL has been Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Widely considered an ambassador of the NFL, Peterson was indicted for reckless or negligent injury to a child.

A week later, Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested for domestic violence involving hitting a woman. Peterson and Dwyer were both suspended by their respective teams, capping off arguably the worst run of violence in the history of the NFL.

While off-field issues have loomed large at the start of the NFL season, there has also been football played. Through three weeks, only three undefeated teams remain: Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Arizona.

The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks are off to a 2-1 start, with their lone loss coming on the road to the San Diego Chargers. Repeating as champions has proven to be an extremely difficult task; the last Super Bowl champion from the NFC to win a playoff game the following season was the 1996 Green Bay Packers.

The Seahawks championship defense is bolstered by the return of the core of their defense, featuring defensive backs Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor. Seattle lost defensive linemen Chris Clemons and Red Bryant to Jacksonville but retained an impressive pass rusher in defensive tackle Michael Bennett.

Quarterback Russell Wilson looks to build on his successful 2013 campaign with another year of experience under his belt. Wilson has defied the odds coming out of college as an undersized quarterback.

While the Seahawks return an impressive roster, the rest of the NFC has improved. The San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals provide stiff competition for the Seahawks in the NFC West. The Saints, Falcons, Panthers, Packers, Lions, Bears, and Eagles are among the rest of the NFC teams looking to make a playoff run.

In the AFC, the clear favorite is the Denver Broncos, who return 37-year old quarterback Peyton Manning, who is coming off an MVP winning season.

As a result of their embarassing loss to the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, the Broncos revamped their defense with the free agency additions of defensive backs Aqib Talib and TJ Ward, along with defensive end DeMarcus Ware. In their quest for redemption, Denver travels to New England for a date with the perennially-contending Patriots.

They also have matchups with the Bengals, Chargers, and Colts, who are all off to an impressive start to the 2014 season. Expect a competitive year in the AFC.

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