The NFL 2021 season might have just started, but there have already been some incredible moments. From the Super Bowl back at the start of the year to the NFL Draft in spring, fans have enjoyed some exciting sporting moments in 2021.
Whether you’re a dedicated football fan embarking upon an NFL road trip to remember or just want to relive some of the best moments so far, we’re going to show you some of the highlights of 2021’s NFL season.
1. Super Bowl LV is the least-attended ever
Can you remember way back to February 2021? The dramatic conclusion to the 2020 season was the least-attended Super Bowl in history, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With only around 25,000 people in attendance, compared to the usual 100,000+, this was a dramatic change from the usual figures. However, the stadium was filled with a further 30,000 cardboard cutouts to give the appearance of a packed crowd!
2. A team plays at home in the Super Bowl for the first time in history
It’s not just the record-breaking low attendance that caused Super Bowl LV to make history – it was also the first time a team ever played in their home stadium during the event.
3. A 17-game season begins
The NFL 2021 season started off with a major change to the schedule – a jump from 16 games in the season to 17. The 16-game schedule was in place since the late 1970s, so how will the new 17-game season work out?
The first change fans will notice is in the preseason games. Each team will now only play three of these, as opposed to four. However, this will still give coaches plenty of time to evaluate their players whilst reducing the chance of players getting injured in the preseason.
The season will still start on the same day, meaning it will run for one week longer at the end. This means the Super Bowl will take place a week later than usual, with 2022’s taking place on February 13.
The schedule will no longer be symmetrical, with some teams playing nine home games and eight on the road, while others will play nine on the road and eight at home. Although this might seem to give an advantage to some teams, the rotation will change from year to year, so it will even out overall.
4. NFL international games return
International fans missed out last year, but international games have returned for the 2021 season. There are two NFL games taking place in London in October – the New York Jets take on the Atlanta Falcons in the first, and the Miami Dolphins face the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second.
If you book a ticket to either of these games, you’ll get to enjoy a visit to London’s unique Tottenham Hotspur stadium. This is the only stadium outside of the US designed to host both football and NFL matches. When an NFL match is scheduled, the football pitch turf is rolled away, and the permanent NFL field underneath can be played on.
Unfortunately, the games in Mexico will not go ahead in 2021 – here’s hoping they will return for the 2022 season.
5. Players and fans attend the NFL Draft
Thousands of fans were left disappointed when the most extravagant NFL Draft in history was cancelled in 2020. Fortunately, around 50,000 fans were able to attend 2021’s NFL Draft in Cleveland.
This was a fantastic moment for NFL fans, as it was the largest gathering since before the pandemic began – the Draft drew a bigger crowd than the Super Bowl earlier in the year.
6. Atlanta Falcons make history during the Draft
The Atlanta Falcons made history by selecting Kyle Pitts, making him the highest selected tight end ever in the NFL.
Pitts should help the Falcons get back on track, and he’s on the way to becoming one of the next best NFL tight ends.
7. Trevor Lawrence is drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars might have been struggling in recent seasons, but fans hope Trevor Lawrence, the former Clemson Tigers quarterback, will turn things around for the team.
He might even be able to lead the Jags to their first championship victory.
8. The 49ers break the suspense over which quarterback they will choose
Fans had been eagerly waiting to find out who the San Francisco 49ers would pick when they were third in the draft. Mac Jones of Alabama and Ohio State’s quarterback Justin Fields were both thought to be likely choices.
However, neither of these were chosen in the end. Instead, Trey Lance of North Dakota was selected to be the 49ers new quarterback and will play his rookie season with the team – so watch this space.
9. Tom Brady steals the show – despite an injured thumb
Despite being 44 years of age, Tom Brady is showing no signs of taking a step back. In the recent meeting between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Philadelphia Eagles, Brady was reported to be suffering from a thumb injury.
However, the painful injury didn’t seem to hamper him as he led the Buccaneers to a 28-22 victory. This victory was just the latest in a series of impressive games as Brady continued on his career’s best four-game streak. During these games, Brady scored an impressive 11 touchdowns and accrued 1,388 pass yards.
10. Tom Brady could break the record for oldest ever NFL player
As we’ve said, Brady is having another excellent run this season and is showing no signs of retiring just yet.
The oldest NFL player of all time, quarterback and placekicker, George Blanda, was 48 years old when he stopped playing professionally. With just four years to go, Tom Brady is the one player who could easily match Blanda’s impressive record.