Guys it’s finally here. Tonight, the defending champion Green Bay Packers will play last year’s defending champion New Orleans Saints in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to kick off—kick off!—the NFL season. Whom should you root for tonight? Easy: Green Bay. They are owned by the community; even President Obama now owns a share. But this season?
Last year, we selected three teams to follow, based on various metrics arbitrary and otherwise: the New England Patriots, the New York Giants, and the Washington Redskins. Well, we’re subbing the Skins out—The Scroll does not reward pint-size bullies who toss around unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism like so many incomplete passes. We will keep the Pats and the Giants, with their Jewish ownership (or half-ownership, in the Giants’ case) and massive Jewish fanbases.
And our new addition? The Chicago Bears, whose Jewish fanbase is certainly not paltry even against the juggernauts of the northeast (their presidential fanbase is also formidable). They also appear to be the only NFL team currently employing not one but two Jewish players: rookie starting right tackle Gabe Carimi, who last season, as a University of Wisconsin senior, won the Outland Trophy for being the best college lineman; and punter Adam Podlesh, who only last year beat an extremely rare case of salivary gland cancer.
But the real feel-good story belongs to the Pats, whose presiding matriarch, Myra Kraft, wife of owner Bob, fell to cancer in July (her friend Joan Nathan remembered her in The Scroll). In her memory, the team will wear patches with the letters “MHK” through the season—and, presumably, the postseason, should it come to that.
Which, in all likelihood, it will. Predictions: Pats (12-4, AFC East champs); Giants (7-9, third place NFC East); and Bears (5-11, fourth place NFC North). We will keep tabs periodically.
Now: are you ready for some football?
Podlesh Kicked Cancer, ‘Little Things’ [ESPN]
Pats Will Wear Patch Honoring Myra Kraft [ESPN]
Earlier: Wiesenthal Center Out-of-Bounds on Snyder
Jewish Badger Named Best Lineman
Remembering Myra Kraft
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.