The Chiefs-Rams "buzzing blockbuster" from Monday night was the "strongest proof to date that the biggest, most powerful sport in the country still reigns and towers above all," according to Brian Smith of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Saints QB Drew Brees is "playing out of his mind," while the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and Rams' Jared Goff "lead a collection of young QBs who have picked up where Peyton Manning left off." Fans and media are "not even discussing pregame protests" in '18, and the league "appears to be doing a better job of preventing concussed players from returning to the field." Meanwhile, the last two Super Bowls "were all-timers." Parity and the "promise of annual redemption have long driven the league’s success." Throw in a "long-simmering offensive explosion, and you simply have to be a hater to hate the state of pro football" in '18 (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/21).
LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD: In N.Y., Ken Belson notes the "points bonanza" around the NFL this season has been "magic for television ratings, which declined the past two years." This has "given the league a much-needed boost after several years of off-field controversies" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/21). ESPN's Pablo Torre noted Monday's score "seems to be the NFL's dream," though not every team "can go out and do this." Torre: "This seems like a one-off, an extreme version of a trend as opposed to the trend" ("High Noon," ESPN, 11/20). ESPN.com's Dan Graziano wrote there is "no way" every NFL game is "going to be 54-51 from here on out, but the POSSIBILITY of a 54-51 game has bought a house at the end of the cul-de-sac and isn't going anywhere any time soon." Monday night "showed us the direction in which the NFL is heading, and has been heading for some time" (ESPN.com, 11/20).
NOT EVERYTHING IS GOOD: In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes games like Chiefs-Rams "can be more worrisome than wonderful." It has been established that "the days of teams who embrace defense first were gone." While an offensive explosion can be "intoxicating ... is it good?" Vaccaro: "Is it too good? Because honestly, it feels like the ice-cream quandary. A little ice cream is a fantastic treat. A lot of ice cream ... is an outstanding indulgence. Plowing through 10 gallons at a sitting is gluttonous and gross." Chiefs-Rams seems a "little gluttonous and a little gross" (N.Y. POST, 11/21). The AP's Barry Wilner wrote Chiefs-Rams was "fantastic fun," but the league's scoring spike "can also be seen as an indictment of how the NFL -- helped along by college football’s evolution -- has headed toward flag football" (AP, 11/20).