One of the interesting stories leading into the beginning of this NFL season is who will be the better professional quarterback. Florida State’s Jameis Winston or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota? Winston won the Heisman in leading FSU to the national championship in his debut 2013 season, while Mariota won last year’s Heisman.
The debate will rage on for years (hopefully?), but the obvious winner on Day One of their careers was the Tennessee Titans, who chose Mariota in the 2nd pick of the 2015 draft, after Tampa Bay selected the controversial Winston.
Mariota had more touchdown passes (four) than incompletions in the Titans’ 42-14 rout over Tampa Bay. It was actually the second meeting between the two. The first, at the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, was almost the same as the first, when Oregon beat the ‘Noles by some 39 points.
Of course, you didn’t read much about that over the past few months in the Tampa Bay sporting press. Instead, I read a lot about how Mariota had never taken a snap under the center, as if that should be the lone criteria to determine who will be the better pro.
Look, Tampa Bay was actually favored by a couple of points to win yesterday’s home opener at Raymond James. Instead, they lost by 28 points.
I’m not a Bucs fan, but I’m not going to say anymore about that debacle. One of my two favorite NFL teams, the Oakland Raiders, were arguably worse than the Bucs in their home debut yesterday, losing to Cincinnati, 33-13. This could be the Raiders’ last year in Oakland, with rumors that they’ll try to relocate to L.A. next year.
While it was great to watch wall-to-wall football this weekend, the ugly specter of violence in the game is more apparent than ever.
I counted in the press this morning at least five players who suffered concussions yesterday. That’s not including those who had other severe injuries. And in Denver, line judge Gary Arthur was knocked out of the game between the Broncos and Baltimore Ravens with a broken collarbone after colliding with a player along the sideline in the first quarter.
And by the way, after watching that game, I think it’s safe to say that this will be Peyton Manning’s last season. Enjoy him while you can.
In other news…
In between watching college football games, this reporter made the trek to New Tampa on Saturday night to hear Jupiter U.S. Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy speak to a sold-out crowd of Hillsborough County Democrats at their annual Kennedy-King dinner.
And E.J. Otero told me last week he’s seriously considering a run for Hillsborough County Commission.