Here in Cleveland and Akron, we take our sports seriously (and have even been recognized for it!). Half of the 2018-2019 NFL season has passed and we’re already rounding the corner into the playoffs, so it’s time to catch all our sports fans up on what they may have missed. This season has kept fans on their toes with surprise losses, unlikely winners, injuries, and a yearly dose of controversy. Let’s dive more into the football updates leading us into the new year.
Football Updates on the Field
Although the Chicago Bears haven’t led the NFC North division since 2013, they’re having a great season. The Bears acquired defensive lineman Khalil Mack this year and since their gain, the team has been looking like their old selves again with an 8-4 season so far. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky has seemed to improve team morale after an agonizing term with lackluster QB Jay Cutler.
As the understudy of golden child Tom Brady (and with his 6-1 record at the end of last season), San Francisco fans had high hopes for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers this year. Unfortunately, bad luck took over and not only put Garoppolo out for the season with a torn ACL, but also brought down second-string quarterback C.J. Beathard with a wrist injury, leaving the team with a third-string quarterback who had yet to play an NFL regular season game in his career. Amongst several other team injuries, the 49ers take their place as the last team in the NFL with a 2-10 record, tied with the Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas) Raiders.
The Dallas Cowboys are holding their place with the lead of the NFC Eastern division with a 7-5 record, thanks in large part to the kicker for the team, Brett Maher. Earning the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honor and scoring a handful of game-winning field goals, Maher is a player to keep in mind as you choose your future fantasy football teams in seasons to come. As former kicker for the Nebraska Huskers, Maher signed with other NFL teams, including the Cleveland Browns, prior to signing with Dallas. The Cowboys seem to be a great fit for Maher as he converted a career-long 55-yard field goal against the Jaguars in October, which was also the second longest field goal made in AT&T Stadium history.
Football Updates off the Field
The Chiefs made headlines due to a leaked video showing a confrontation between running back Kareem Hunt and a young woman. The altercation in the video proved to be a dire career glitch for Hunt as the Chiefs released him in early December. Not letting the incident bring down the team in an athletic manner, the Kansas City Chiefs lead the AFC Western division with a 10-2 record.
The Steelers have been admirable this year, but not because of their 7-4-1 record, but because of their headstrong gumption to hold out on paying running back Le’Veon Bell his requested guaranteed salary amount of $45 million. While Bell is arguably one of the best running backs in the league right now, his price tag was a little too hefty for Pittsburgh to shell out, leaving Bell a penniless free agent for next season’s draft.
What About the Cleveland Browns?
While their current 4-7-1 record is nothing to write home about, Cleveland fans rejoiced when the team broke their 635-day losing streak, beating the New York Jets 21-17 in September. It’s yet to be determined if quarterback Baker Mayfield’s first NFL game had something to do with it, or if Bud Light’s “free beer” incentive was a motivator for the win, but nonetheless, fans were classy when that beer vault opened up and celebrated with dignity.
With an NFL season full of injuries and surprise losses, it’s still up in the air on who will make it all the way to the 53rd Super Bowl. The Rams lead the NFL with the best record of 11-1, with the Saints right behind them at 10-2. However, the New England Patriots are yet again the top choice for betters, predicting they will be the team holding the Lombardi Trophy in February 2019. Regardless of what the rest of this season holds for us, the first half of this NFL season has been undoubtedly eventful, to say the least!