Thursday will mark the unofficial start of the 2022 NFL preseason when the Las Vegas Raiders take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. Week 1 of the preseason will open August 11, and the regular season will kick off September 8.
In just over a month, what might be the most thrilling NFL season in recent memory will begin.
Recent years have brought plenty of excitement to the league. Patrick Mahomes cashed in with his first Super Bowl win three years ago. Tom Brady won his record seventh in 2020, and the upstart Cincinnati Bengals nearly won their first in 2021—instead, the Los Angeles Rams lifted the Lombardi Trophy in their first season with quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Yet, there are multiple reasons the 2022 season could top everything we've seen in recent years.
This May Be the Most Talented NFL We've Ever Seen
Brady created a huge reason to tune into the NFL in 2022 when he decided to unretire earlier this offseason. The 45-year-old (happy birthday, Tom!) is set to give fans a potential swan song.
Brady insists that talented players haven't flocked to Tampa in order to play with him.
"Guys choose this team because of the team, not because of me," Brady said, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.
With all due respect to Brady—and yes, the Bucs are talented—some players have undoubtedly joined Tampa to play with the GOAT. His commitment to greatness has a certain magnetism, and while not every fan may like Brady, he remains one of the game's biggest draws.
And he is far from the only future Hall of Famer who will take the field in 2022.
Stars such as Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Donald and Von Miller are virtual locks to land in Canton. T.J. Watt, Russell Wilson, Justin Tucker and Travis Kelce are on their way. Then, we have a crop of young, rising stars—one that includes Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen—that is quite likely to produce a Hall of Famer or three.
The reality is that the NFL isn't what it used to be, and we're not talking rules changes or a surge in offensive production. Players go through better training regimens, better dietary programs and more advanced learning than ever.
As a result, we're seeing guys like Brady playing longer and rookies becoming instant stars.