Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Quick Guide to surviving the NFL Off-Season

With the Super Bowl hype winding down, the NFL is entering the off-season. Whether this is your rookie year, or you’re a veteran looking for a cure to the post-football blues, here is our quick guide to surviving the NFL off-season. 

Keep up-to-date with personnel changes

The off-season is usually peak time for big personnel changes, both on and off the field. This year is no exception. So far, several franchises have chopped and changed their Head Coaches, and some are cutting veteran players.

The Chargers moved on from their franchise QB Phillip Rivers, and the Panthers have said goodbye to veteran Tight End Greg Olsen. Future HOFer Tom Brady is still yet to re-sign with the Patriots, as other teams are beginning to line-up offers of their own. It’s certainly a busy period for veteran names, so keep an eye on the headlines for the latest updates.

Learn the game

American Football is a surprisingly complex and tactical sport. Many on this side of the pond see the sport as a confusing, stop-start version of rugby. Whilst it’s true that there are many rules and layers, the basics are rather simple to grasp. 

If Super Bowl LIV was the first game you’ve watched, and you want to delve deeper, there are many great resources to get you started. From YouTube to books, there are many ways to learn the basics, but sometimes the best way can be by playing the sport.

Flag Football is quickly growing in the UK and is a great way of engaging in the sport if you don’t fancy taking a hit. You could also check out your local Brit-ball or Uni-ball team. If you don’t fancy leaving the couch at all, video games like Madden can also be an effective way of learning and engaging in the sport.

If you’re a veteran and are already familiar with most of the rules, why not learn about the deeper intricacies of the sport? Things like the types of defensive coverage, offensive personnel, or even the routes receivers can run. YouTube channels like The QB School do a great job of going in-depth and breaking down playbooks.

A brief animation demonstrating an offensive play diagram.
Example of an offensive play diagram.

Watch the 2020 Draft

The biggest off-season event in the NFL is the Draft. Franchises focus their attention on young and upcoming talent from colleges all across America. Players are out through their paces in the Combine, before teams pick individuals across 7 Draft rounds. 

The Draft creates a lot of drama and intrigue, with fans and pundits making predictions as to who will land where. Will Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrows go first overall? Will Tua Tagovailoa be a first round pick despite his injury?

Roger Goodell presents Kyler Murray after he is taken first overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft
Kyler Murray was taken first overall by the Arizona Cardinals in 2019

Get kitted out

The off-season is usually a great time to pick up some cheap merchandise from official retailers. Even supermarket chains like Lidl got in on the action over the Super Bowl weekend, with Snack Helmets and official balls. 

Check out the XFL

It’s been 19 years since we last saw the XFL. It’s first season back in 2001 wasn’t hugely successful. However, Vince McMahon’s answer to the NFL is back and ready to go. Kicking off this Saturday, the league runs for ten weeks before hosting two playoff games and a championship matchup. Some games will be shown in the UK on BT Sport. So pick a team, and get ready to scratch the off-season football itch!

For more content like this, please visit our dedicated NFL page here. Meanwhile, you can follow us on Twitter for coverage of the off-season as well as the 2020 season… eventually anyway.

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