Belfast American Football Writing

I write a column on American Football for a local paper - here you can read the reports a couple of days before they go in print; and my confused waffles...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Sombre kick-off

THE NFL season kicks off this weekend on a sombre note - with images of Hurricane Katrina prominent in the minds of fans and players alike, especially with the New Orleans Superdome the focus for so much of the tragedy.

But the teams and fans are rallying around to both provide aid and get on with providing the public with a momentary distraction from the unfolding horrors the hurricane has left.

Arrangements are still being made to find homes for the New Orleans Saint and the Houston Texans, whose stadium has been used as a centre for those fleeing the devastation.

With those decisions still to be made, on Thursday the season kicked off with a typical fanfare with the Rolling Stones, Green Day and Good Charlotte among the rock acts opening for the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders.

Tomorrow (Sunday) sees the rest of the league shake off the pre-season dust and get down to action, in what promises to be an enthralling season, when all are chasing the Patriots.

The opening weekend poses many questions and seasoned pundits will be looking for clues in these opening fixtures.

Attention will be on a range of fixtures. Will Philadelphia be able to recover from their Super Bowl defeat, as well as the preseason squabbles between quarterback Donovan McNabb and star receiver Terrell Owens in time for the opener against Atlanta on Monday?

Will Indianapolis finally be able to find a defence to match the Peyton Manning led offence when they visit Baltimore?

For local fans the season's television coverage begins with the Denver Broncos visiting the Miami Dolphins and the Arizona Cardinals trip to the New York Giants - both live on Sky Sports, tomorrow night (Sunday).

ENDS

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