The QB Carousel that is the 2018 NFL Draft 

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This time of the year means everyone and their grandmother are presenting their mock version of the NFL Draft, however they vary dramatically in 2018.

The infamous Mel Kiper, Todd McShay normally have similar opinions in most cases, but their predictions this year tend to be very different.

It’s interesting to see all the various scenarios for just the top 10, based on the NFL experts and media. I don’t think anyone really knows exactly who’s going where in this draft.

There is one thing for certain this year, at least two, three (maybe four) quarterbacks could very easily be drafted in the top 10.

Mel Kiper unveiled his list of the top 4 quarterbacks that could be drafted in the first round, showing each different traits.

According to ESPN, Mel Kiper lists QB with:

  1. Best arm – Josh Allen

Compares with Matthew Stafford, and the arm strength of the former great pitcher Randy Johnson.

2. Best legs – Lamar Jackson

His accuracy is questionable, but the speed and athleticism are undeniable; Jackson’s explosiveness will translate
into the NFL effectively.

3. Best heart: Sam Darnold

He has great overall character, shows a lot of adversity and performs very well under-duress.

4. Best mind: Josh Rosen

I agree with experts that he is certainly a NFL QB, and his ‘Tom Brady-like’ approach make him ready for the professional level.

There is a lot that goes into this year’s draft, A LOT.

From cornerbacks to linebackers, and all the way to guards, experts range defensive players all over the place in the first round. A big favorite on defense is Denzel Ward, Ohio State CB, who is projected to be in the top 10.

Ward is the essential proto-type of a NFL cornerback, standing at 5’11″ and 191 lbs., his speed/ability will translate in the league.

There are so many scenarios for defensive players, especially top prospects LB Roquan Smith and G Quenton Nelson, who are both also believed to be taken in the first round. Nelson might go in the top 5, according to NFL scouts.

Smith is another question though, while he is a top 10 talent, he might drop slightly depending on how the QB situation plays out.

Thinking about the first round, who is going where is starting to make my head spin. So I’m going to make this quick, here’s the top ten of my NFL Mock Draft:

1. Sam Darnold

His overall character and ability to have adversity at all times makes him the perfect candidate to lead the Browns.

2. Saquon Barkley

While everyone thinks the Giants are drafting Bradley Chubb, New York address their running back issue and takes the best
player in the draft.

3. Josh Rosen

A few weeks ago Josh Rosen and the New York Jets seemed a sure-thing, I’m going to remind everyone that it will remain the
same.

4. Bradley Chubb

The Browns lock down Chubb with no. 4 overall, giving more balance to the defense.

5. Josh Allen

The Bills go sell their soul with trading two first round picks and a fifth rounder to Denver Broncos for the fifth overall.

6. Quenton Nelson

Put the trade rumors with the Miami Dolphins aside, the Colts add the best guard in the draft to help protect Andrew Luck.

7. Derwin James

James is one of the most physical defensive backs who can make an impact right away, but might be traded back based on the
QB scenario.

8. Denzel Ward

Bears spent a lot of money on offense this offseason, it’s time for them to lock down the best CB in the draft to balance
out their defense.

9. Tremaine Edmunds

49ers need speed and ability on there defense, Edmunds will address that.

10.  Roquan Smith

Raiders will take the other top linebacker in the draft, if Ward doesn’t fall to no. 10.

This is going to be one hell of a draft.

Photo by RalphTheCorndog [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Why the rule changes make a scary NFL future

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The NFL already has a huge issue with their definition of a catch, and now after the new targeting rule, no one will know what a tackle is either.

A couple years ago, Dez Bryant caught a key touchdown against the Green Bay Packers late in a playoff game, only to be overturned for ‘going to the ground’. Green Bay challenged the call and the rest is history, the refs basically stole my Cowboys a trip to the Super Bowl that year (2015).

According to the new rule change, “the league will penalize contact initiated with a lowered helmet and players will be ejected if the foul is a drastic measure.”

I can’t emphasize enough how detrimental this rule is for the defense, and for the game in general, for many reasons. When making a tackle, you HAVE to be lower than the opposing player.

Basically who ever gets lower, when making a tackle, always wins. If you’re a defender, you will at some point lower your head when making a play – it is simply apart of tackling.

Playing high school football, my coach always told me to go completely 100 percent whether it’s a game, or just practice. I thought this was just your typical “bust your ass” speech by the coaching staff, but learned it stood more for player safety.

High school football is a real ice-breaker for learning the game of football and philosophy of tackling, especially for those who have never played.

I remember doing tackle drills, and if you didn’t get up to the line quick enough, you would get rocked by your opposing teammate. A simple but sensible philosophy — who ever goes harder, whether it’s the player on offense or defense, they will be the punisher.

It’s ironic that now the NFL has released the targeting rule in emphasis for player safety, when really it could be the detriment to their safety.

When we thought it was bad enough that the league doesn’t know what a catch is, now no one will know what a damn tackle will be, including players. Thinking more and more, trying to avoid all the penalties when trying to make a simple play, will slow the player down.

Slowing the player down could actually make them more susceptible to getting hurt, this makes it almost completely unfair for the defense. The league already makes the game tailored for offensive players with the other rules in place.

This will definitely change the game of football, but will be a good change?

I think that with all of these rule changes, complicating the game, could ruin the NFL. The last thing NFL fans want to see is another another hour spent watching the refs in the replay booth, or having them define key moments in the game.

I might end up sticking with college football, or maybe even watching the XFL in future years, if more rules keep coming into play. We just want to watch the simple, physical game that we all know and love.

Photo By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Dak Prescott) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Seattle Seahawks: The ending of an era, but to a new beginning 

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The Legion of Boom Era in Seattle is officially over – the Seattle Seahawks officially split up their once-legendary defense after parting ways with Pro Bowler Michael Bennett, and now, Richard Sherman.

After seven seasons with the team, the Seahawks are releasing their star cornerback Richard Sherman on Friday, according to ESPN. The four-time All-Pro will be playing for a new team for the first time in his career.

The Michael Bennett trade to the Eagles helped create the domino effect that led to Sherman, completely putting an end to the Legion of Boom Era. Changes are in foot for the Seattle Seahawks, releasing Sherman opens up $11 million in salary-cap space.

Coach Pete Caroll is starting to make a transition for the team, and trying to make the statement – defense is no longer their sole identity.

Sherman, 29, is recovering from an Achilles injury – but is still very well in the prime of his career. Though his numbers have declined the past few seasons, Sherman leads the league with 32 interceptions and 99 passes defended since 2011.

Who will pick up the Pro Bowl cornerback, and where would be the best fit?

Photo (Richard Sherman) by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0],via Wikimedia Commons

Josh McDaniels helps mend Patriots’ Super Bowl LII Heartbreak with return 

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Everything began to start looking downhill for the Patriots after their Super Bowl loss, just until New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels shocked the league with rejecting the Indianapolis Colts head-coaching job – revitalizing this team as the NFL’s Supervillains.

There is no news of any other coaching moves within the Patriots’ organization, as well as roster changes (especially the quarterback position). With a sense of momentum change and inspiration, it does looks like however there might be a chance Tom Brady and Bill Belichick give it one more shot.

McDaniels, along side with defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, had already made their intentions on leaving the team prior to the championship. While the Patriots might attempt to possibly clean house with all of the coaching and roster changes, McDaniels shocks the organization with the news of his return for the 2018-2019 season.

The surprising and yet bold move to not accept the head-coaching job, sent shockwaves throughout the league. Not only does it raise questions concerning the Colts’ organization, but also makes people wonder what his real motivation is for returning to New England.

It looks like the Patriots’ offensive coordinator will help keep up the well-oiled machine that Patricia and Head Coach Bill Belichick built since 2004.

This bold move from McDaniels just give a ton of momentum back to the Patriots, trying to help bring them back from the dead after losing Super Bowl LII. New England fans are still getting over Sunday (and maybe never will), but they have to be somewhat happy there could be a chance that the dynasty will return another season.

While I am not a fan of the Patriots, I do respect McDaniels’ move – even though it might be more of a personal matter rather than doing it for the Patriots.

Sometimes when we make decisions in life that we end up changing, is a result of convincing ourselves rather than actually wanting ourselves to commit to that decision. I think this is one of those cases, and for McDaniels, I don’t really think he wanted to leave New England in the first place.

The 2018 NFL offseason will be interesting of course for the Patriots, but the question will be how interesting. The Pats’ summer looks a bit brighter though with the sense that the empire may strike again one more season with McDaniels’ return.

Photo by Brian Allen for Voice of America [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

*Disclaimer: The author of this photo is NOT in any shape or form endorsing my website*

2018 NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Weekend Ramifications 

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The NFL Playoffs are here and is already living up to the postseason hype with surprising upsets in the Wild Card Round – Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Buffalo Bills with the lowest combined points in playoff history and the Saints just nearly edged the Panthers in a back-and-forth shootout at home.

The First Round started off with one of the biggest surprises this postseason when the Tennessee Titans upset the Kansas City Chiefs by just one point at Arrowhead Stadium. Mariota and company scored 19 unanswered points in the second half to knock off the Chiefs in a tough road playoff game, shattering Alex Smith/Andy Reid’s potential with Kansas City.

Alex Smith is now 1-4, even with weapons like Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill. This talented Chiefs roster has failed to live up to expectations the past several seasons, losing five playoff games in a row, now dropping to a 2-6 record all-time in Arrowhead Stadium.

The expression and overall feeling from the postgame conference with Head Coach Andy Reid, basically had said it all for the state of the Chiefs. It looks like there will be whole sale changes next season, especially with winding-down contracts from the quarterback and head coach.

Will Alex Smith or Andy Reid return next season with the Chiefs?

The Chiefs were the catalyst as a tough road block in the AFC, now that the Patriots will be facing the Titans instead, the pathway to the Super Bowl is now an easier one for the defending champs. While Tennessee looked impressive in it’s first playoff win in years, they don’t necessarily stack up like their opponent to a team like the Patriots.

Patriots will win easily at home this Saturday, muting all the outside noise and negativity from the media. Unless Mariota throws for over 400 yards and 3 touchdowns, Titans don’t have much of a chance against an angry Patriots team.

Being a huge fan for underdogs, I couldn’t be happier for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. The past few years I had always rooted for the Jaguars to do well, because they have had one of the longest droughts in the NFL for any success whatsoever.

A team that used to have the worst winning percentage in the league for the past decade (besides the Browns), is now moving on to the next round of the playoffs. I love it.

Excited as I am for the Jaguars, I don’t see them defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers again, especially in a playoff game atmosphere on the road. I hope I am wrong though, remember anything can happen on any given Sunday in the NFL.

Go Jags!

The Saints have to be the most dangerous team in the NFC, defeating a tough Carolina team and Brees’ spectacular play make them scary opponent in the playoffs. If the Ingrid-Kamara running back tandem show up against the Falcons, Brees will take his team to the Super Bowl.

Will Matt Ryan and the Falcons redeem themselves from last year’s Super Bowl heartbreak?

Photo by Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Blake Bortles) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

NFL Draft: Will 2018 be the year of the QB?

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The USC–UCLA rivalry game on Saturday certainly lived up to the hype, Trojans’ Sam Darnold and Bruins’ Josh Rosen impressive quarterback duel was the center of attention to NFL scouts, revealing there is serious depth at the QB position this year.

Darnold, No. 1 ranked NFL Draft prospect, just nearly edged the Bruins in a one possession game 28-23. While Darnold came up the win, Rosen was the more impressive QB with 421 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Rosen’s heroics Saturday reiterated why he is a top-five pick, refusing to back down from an early deficit in the first half. His command and demeanor in the huddle, show that he is a polished quarterback and is ready to lead at the next level.

The intense rivalry game was a battle of momentum, and both frontrunners refused to be succumbed by all of the possession changes.

The USC quarterback prodigy played well enough to keep his No. 11 Trojans alive, throwing for 264 yds. and rushing for one touchdown. Darnold still awed scouts with his athleticism, being able to extend plays and throw tight-window passes.

While the So Cal stars are projected to be the top quarterbacks in the draft, there is still a flurry of talent this year at the well respected decision – and it starts with Baker Mayfield. Oh, yeah there is also the reigning Heisman: Lamar Jackson.

Though Jackson has yet to help make his Louisville Cardinals playoff worthy, he still has been labeled, ‘the best show in college football’. He certainly put up Heisman numbers last season, racking up over 5,114 total yards with 51 touchdowns, and somehow is well on his way to repeating these unreal stats.

Jackson is currently leading with over 41 touchdowns responsible for, right on track to his similar historic season last year. If the Louisville had been higher ranked or played better this season, the Cardinals’ Phenom could seriously be in the Heisman mix again.

Baker Mayfield and his Oklahoma Sooners have taken the college football world by storm early this year with a 10-1 record, dominating the Big 12 Conference. This year’s Heisman favorite has had multiple games with at least two touchdowns and 300, 400 yards passing.

Speaking of Oklahoma, there also is a very talented player named Mason Rudolph. Rudolph, the 6’5’’ QB, has been a threat for the Oklahoma State Cowboys for quite some time.

Recognizing the talent early on, prospects began to see the poise and arm talent Rudolph had even starting out as a freshman in 2014. Now as a Senior, he will be even more of a highly sought draft acquisition for his growth and maturation.

Rudolph is yet another example of a polished QB that is NFL ready.  The only real concerns about this talented class is, will they decide to go the 2018 draft?

While it may be time for more than others, the 2018 QB tandem is an extremely loaded one, and many NFL teams would kill to acquire their services.

Photo cred: Eric Chan from Hollywood, United States (DSC_2057) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Ezekiel Elliot eligible to play, for the time being

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Ezekiel Elliot is fully dialed in after hearing news he’ll be able to return to the field for Dallas Cowboys’ game opener on Sunday against the New York Giants.

The Cowboys are also locked and loaded – now that they have Ezekiel Elliot at their arsenal, who is eligible to play in Week 1 according to Ian Rapport, via ESPN.

The Rookie of the Year candidate had been training all summer camp long as if he was eligible to play every game, according to sources. He is already focused, and ready for the Dallas – Giants rivalry this weekend.

While the ruling for Elliot’s six-game suspension is still in limbo, he is keeping football solely on my mind.

The Cowboys and their star running back, both had the mindset on playing Week 1; Head Coach Jason Garrett and staff did a great job of keeping Elliot, as well as the team, away from distractions. Especially when the Cowboys are completely surrounded by distractions everyday with the label, “America’s Team”.

From the perspective of a Cowboys’ fan, and having Elliot on my fantasy team, Cowboys Nation is getting a huge boost this Sunday. You can imagine the confidence added to their locker room, “Ezek the Beast” is back, so let’s roll.

In a game that is decided by a touchdown or less years after years, especially in a rivalry game like this, Elliot will help the Cowboys chances of winning tremendously. It’s definitely something to get excited about, if you’re a Cowboys fan or a fantasy owner at least.

Ezekiel Elliot back in the lineup for the Cowboys is huge, but doesn’t necessarily mean this rivalry game will be any less than unpredictable.

Photo by Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

NFL Training Camp 2017: August is here and football season is just around the corner 

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Training camp is underway, and is already jolting its way through to the NFL Preseason, which is set to begin on Thursday – which means football is on the horizon fellas.

The best season of the year is coming, and no it is not winter. The NFL is coming, and its time to get pumped!

With preseason set to begin in just a couple days, that also means college football is here to satisfy our football fanatic needs as well.

The 2017-2018 NFL season will be filled with parody and more fluidity than recent past with key veteran trades, and high-risk, high-reward draft acquisitions. Premier NFL Rookies like Deshone Kizer, Leonard Fournette, and James Conner are already turning heads during this offseason.

The dumpster fire, that is the Cleveland Browns, has had an offseason to remember with accumulating some of the best players in the draft – starting with the no.1 overall pick, Myles Garrett. These new acquisitions will help this team finally go in the right direction, and actually give them some kind of relevancy.

Myles Garrett will give this franchise the biggest impact it has seen in years, because he’s a straight up beast.

Standing at 6’4’’, 270 pounds, Garrett is one hell of a force to deal with. His gifted stature, added with his freakish athleticism and ridiculous amount of power, makes him a scary opponent for any offensive line to face.

Garrett and Quarterback Deshone Kizer were seen running 100-yard sprints shortly after the Browns’ practice ended, showing the team the extra drive they need in order to be successful. This is good news for the Cleveland, for their draft pick acquisitions are already showing progress and flashes of their self-worth.

If any player were to live up to the hype, it would certainly be the monster defensive end from Texas A&M, that is Myles Garrett.

The Browns other two key 1st round picks: safety Jabrill Peppers and tight end David Njoku, were some of the most athletic players in the draft. Many NFL draft experts and league sources say that Peppers was a complete steal with the 25th overall pick in the first round (could have easily been top 10 overall).

Peppers, the most versatile player in the entire draft, showed the nation last year his athleticism could be shown in three, four different positions. According to ESPN, Peppers had over 355 snaps at defensive back, 324 at linebacker, 29 at quarterback, 12 at wide receiver, and 10 at running back.

The star defensive player from Michigan also returned 21 punts and 10 kickoffs – now that’s versatility for you.

Cleveland’s logical decisions with this year’s draft will help turn the franchise around in the 2017-2018 season. Now that the Browns are building pieces to the puzzle on defense, it is now up to the quarterback rotation to take them to postseason.

Could the Cleveland Browns really be a playoff team in the next two, three years?

Right now there are teams on the brink of either turning things around, and or finally living up to their potential, like the Dallas Cowboys. Winning 10-straight games under the NFL Rookie of the year, Dak Prescott, the Cowboys looked like a serious threat last season – until that wasn’t the case.

The Cowboys won 10 games in a row under Prescott, finishing 1st in the NFC East with 13-3 overall. Many people believed that fellow star rookie Ezekiel Elliot would win the award, showing promise at running back with over 1,631 yards.

Being a huge Cowboys fan for years, I am not really sure how to feel about last year’s success, because let’s face it, their still the Cowboys. The hype with Cowboysnation was through the roof, much of the incentive coming from their star rookies (And maybe from no Tony Romo).

There are still many questions on the defensive side of the ball with this team, especially after star cornerback Morris Claiborne taking off to the New York Jets. Even with the Cowboys’ priority to improve their pass rush, their will still a huge focus on the new group of defensive backs.

This Cowboys team will need to find chemistry with the new faces on defense, especially if they want to live up to the hype train that is in Dallas. Will they be able to live up the hype with all said and done?

The NFL this year will feature drama, hype, and promise – the question is which teams will fit in these categories. After all, the Cowboys are the Cowboys, and the Browns are the Browns – can this year be different for teams like these?

Photo by Erik Drost (Deshone Kizer) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

How Super Bowl LI can be the greatest of all-time

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The Patriots-Falcons Heavyweight has the potential to be one of the greatest championships in not just the league, but in all of sports. The No. 1 defense-vs.-No. 1 offense matchup in this year’s Super Bowl gives the possibility of becoming one of the most entertaining title games of all-time.

The hype from Super Bowl LI is reminiscent to the College Football Playoff Championship, the star-studded matchup: No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Clemson, featured the best defenses as well as offenses in the league. The CFP Championship certainly had lived up to the hype with going down to the wire, proving that they were the two best teams in the league.

The football world was spoiled with an incredible rematch and one of the greatest title games in the history of sports, will we be blessed with another crowd-pleaser?

Super Bowl LI also has implications that are similar of the Alabama-Clemson matchup. Winning for New England means more than just glory, it means greatness.

The Patriots’ seventh Super Bowl appearance reflects Alabama’s dominant College Football Playoff run under the Nick Saban, with their fifth BCS title appearance in since 2009.

If the Falcons win, it would mean an entirety of things – more than just satisfaction or praise, rather with honor. For many, it would be well deserved if the Atlanta defeats all odds in defeating England, as they should.

Whether fans are rooting for Matt Ryan and company because they are underdogs, or they just simply hate the Patriots, this showdown has significances that could be destined for either team. The underdog position could work in favor for Atlanta, being a sleeper with the best offense in the league might not be so bad.

Can Matt Ryan pull off a Deshaun Watson-like performance this Sunday?

The Patriots and Falcons matchup well with their high-artillery of offensive/defensive weapons. It will hard to see that many mismatches, even with Julio Jones on the field, because New England has some of the best defensive backs in the NFL.

The Patriots defense will definitely have double coverage on Julio Jones, hell maybe even triple-team coverage. The next question is if New England will be able to slow him down, and if they do, Sanu and Gabriel will have step it up.

The good news for Atlanta is, if Julio Jones is completely blanketed, they will look to their high-flying running backs for help. All season long, New England has yet to face a two-running back set in the backfield like the Falcons have.

If the Falcons utilize the talents of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in someway, shape or form, they will be very hard to stop. Tom Brady will have to play ‘catch up’ in order to keep up with Atlanta’s high-flying pace.

I suspect Matt Ryan will have a good game along with Julio Jones, but Atlanta’s running back duo will be the X-factor of Super Bowl LI.

Photo by Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA (Tom Brady) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Why the Chargers’ new relocation is the masquerade that is in San Diego

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After 55 years in San Diego, CEO Dean Spanos stuns Charger fans with an impulsive decision to relocate the team to Los Angeles for the 2017 season. The Chargers are moving back to Los Angeles, since the team’s first inaugural season in 1960.

While there was the sense of drama and rumors throughout the 2016 NFL season, Spanos’ announcement to move the San Diego Chargers to L.A. still awe Bolts’ fans as well as the league itself. The reaction across the league was universal, for the decision not only felt sudden, but strange.

San Diego Radio host of Mighty1090AM, Scott Kaplan, expressed an emotional, but real perspective of the hasty move.

“There is zero appetite for the Chargers in the Los Angeles market,” Kaplan said. “Getting it right for Los Angeles, was bringing back the Rams.”

The downpour emotions of heartbroken San Diego fans, are justifiable, and too felt in the city of Los Angeles. Being a Los Angeles native myself, the general consensus is that it would make more sense if it were the Raiders, not the Chargers.

The Raiders have a huge fan base in this city, and for many of us in the “City of Angels”, the initial thought would be the Raiders and the Rams. Well, it looks like we were wrong after all.

The Chargers will be held in a much different hiatus now that they are now in Los Angeles. The Chargers have always had support for their team no matter what, win or lose, but not anymore.

Kaplan highlighted earlier that Lost Angeles has a must- win mentality, “You either win in Los Angeles or you don’t.” This is definitely true, and the Ram’s 2016 season at the
Coliseum is a great example of this.

While the Rams set the U.S. preseason attendance record of nearly 90,000 fans in their opener in Los Angeles against the Dallas Cowboys, the final game of the season did not even record half of that number of people.

With a game nothing to play for, it was expected to see a bleak attendance in the final home game of the Rams – well, somewhat expected.

When you stop winning games, people stop showing up. That’s just how it is in LA, but also in most fan bases throughout the world.

The Chargers and Rams have much to prove, for these organizations have proved to be dysfunctional at times, but are looking to make a redemption in their second chance in Los Angeles.

Photo by Bspangenberg (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons