NFL Opener – Social Media Reacts

September 8, 2017 β€” by


On Thursday night the 2017 NFL season got underway in Foxborough, as the New England Patriots welcomed the Kansas City Chiefs to the Gillette Stadium. The Patriots, reigning Superbowl champions, have been widely tipped to repeat their success from last year and some fans have even suggested that Tom Brady could lead them to a perfect 19-0 season. The Chiefs, on the other hand, are intent on returning to the Playoffs and improving on their post-season performance of last year, when they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional round.

Any hope of a 16-0 regular season or even a 19-0 perfect playoff season were crushed after only one game, however, as the Chiefs marched into Massachusetts and produced a stunning performance to win 42-27. Tom Brady had a poor night, finishing 16/36 for 267 yards and missing some wide-open receivers on numerous occasions. After writing him off prematurely last year before he led the Pats to the greatest Superbowl comeback of all time, I imagine pundits will be holding back from doing the same this season. However, the loss of wide-receiver Julian Edelman to a season-ending knee injury looks to have seriously damaged the Pats offensive strength and whilst the addition of Brandin Cooks will offer Brady an impressive deep option, this might not be the incredible season Patriots fans were hoping for.

Brady may have only had a completion rate of 44%, but some fans suggested it wasn’t simply down to the veteran QB being a little off-the-money on opening night. The Chief’s defense certainly came out to play, making some impressive interventions to limit what is usually a high-powered Patriots offense to 28 points at home and helping their side to victory with some crucial plays in the 4th quarter.

The Chiefs’ offense, led by quarterback Alex Smith, had a very successful night. Smith has been under pressure since the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes, a young QB with a big arm who is seen as the long-term replacement to Smith under centre. After a good preseason for Mahomes the rumours were ratcheting up that he would take the starting job at some point this season, but after Smith threw 4 touchdown passes last night that discussion can be put to bed, at least for another week…

The Chiefs’ offense in general impressed last night, running some interesting plays and really hurting the Pats with a couple of incredible long passes. The variety and creativity displayed by Smith and co. (including a direct snap to Travis Kelce, their star tight-end, to sneak a first down) might suggest that the “boring” Chiefs’ side of last year might be a thing of the past.

Arguably their best play of the night was less creative, but very effective: this impressive 75 yard TD pass from Smith to lightening-quick wide-receiver Tyreek Hill…

It was a bad night for injuries, for both sides, as Eric Berry and Dont’a Hightower both left the game. Berry was one of the stories of the 2015 season, returning to action after overcoming cancer, but the pro-bowl safety could be out for the season after sustaining a serious knee injury with just under 5 minutes remaining. Hightower was New England’s star defender and leader on the defensive side of the ball during the Superbowl comeback win, strip-sacking Matt Ryan to halt the Atlanta Falcons at a crucial moment in the game. Hightower also suffered a knee injury, meaning he was missing on the play which saw the Chiefs take the lead in the 4th quarter.

Some fans remained optimistic despite losing their star defender; after all, the Pats have Coach Belichick!

Fans couldn’t help but poke fun at the Patriot’s perceived habit of cheating! After Spy- and Deflate-Gates, fans were treated to “Ghost Sack-Gate” after Smith took a tumble on a drop-back:

And it seems that cheating is a very Boston thing to do, after the Red Sox were caught stealing play calls using an Apple Watch during a baseball match earlier this week. As everyone knows, you can’t miss an opportunity to mock Boston sports teams!

We’ll be taking a detailed look at the NFL season using Blurrt Insights, a powerful tool which can surface content from Twitter, as well as analyse positive and negative sentiment and emotional reactions. In the coming weeks we will look at reactions to players and coaches as the season gets going and the pressure starts to build as team’s bid for those illustrious play-off berths!

For more information on how Blurrt’s social media analysis could help your coverage of the NFL, contact Ali on