For fans across America, the start of the NFL season is cause for celebration. Sundays are suddenly the best day of the week, and everyone has something to look forward to on Monday night.
All eyes will be on Foxborough, MA on Thursday, the home of the polarizing New England Patriots. Tom Brady and the Pats are the defending champs, and as a result they earned the right to host the first game of the season. The match up will be intriguing. A young, talented Kansas City Chiefs team will be the opponent in the initial game of the 2017-2018 NFL season.
There are so many intriguing match ups, it will be tough to pick the most pivotal one. At certain spots, one team has a clear advantage, while in others the margin is razor thin.
An NFL game usually starts and ends at the quarterback position. With Tom Brady going up against Alex Smith in Week 1, the first category will be the easiest.
Quarterback: Advantage, Patriots
Tom Brady has accomplished it all. With five Super Bowl wins, countless regular season and postseason records, it will be hard to argue that he isn’t the best quarterback of all time.
After an epic 28-3 comeback win in last year’s Super Bowl, his legacy is cemented. The beauty of Brady at the quarterback position is that he makes everyone around him better. Countless running backs, wide receivers and tight ends owe their career to Brady. He demands the best out of every play that surrounds him, and throwing a pass that is easy to catch helps as well.
His new favorite weapon will be speedster, Brandin Cooks. The Patriots acquired him in an off season trade, and will be excited to see his potential now that he is paired with Tom Brady. Unfortunately, Brady’s go-to target, Julian Edelman tore his ACL this preseason and will miss the entire year. Should be a minor speed bump for Brady, but the absence could be a noticeable one.
As for Alex Smith, he is no slouch, he’s just not Tom Brady. For much of his career, he was saddled with the label, “game manager.” With 79 career wins and two Pro Bowl appearances, Smith has risen above that. This season will be his biggest yet as the Chiefs are looking to get past just being a playoff team.
Smith has won 11 games three times during his tenure in Kansas City, but has only won once in the playoffs. A big test against Tom Brady will be a barometer for how the Chiefs will handle themselves this season.
Head Coach: Advantage, Patriots
Another easy call for the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick will go down as one of the best coaches of all time. For the past two decades, he has ruled the AFC, and for the most part the entire NFL. With the most Super Bowl wins for a head coach, his resume is unmatched. Besides two miracles from the New York Giants, it is very possible that Belichick could have been a spotless 7-0.
He is a defensive mastermind, and his calling card is taking away what the other team does best. Whether it is a player or even a certain play, Belichick shuts that down and has teams try and beat him with their second or third best options.
On the other side of the field, the Chiefs have a Hall of Fame caliber coach as well. Andy Reid led the Philadelphia Eagles to the franchise’s second Super Bowl appearance. After he couldn’t win the big one, the Eagles ran him out of town. He has taken his fast-paced offense to Kansas City, and become a force to be reckoned with in the AFC. He got the upper hand on Belichick a few seasons ago with a 42-14 win, but that game sparked a fire under the Patriots that has led to two Super Bowl wins since.
There is no doubt there will be some bad blood between these two teams, and it should make for an enticing opening night match up.
Tight End: Advantage, Chiefs
This is the first close call, but the advantage favors the Kansas City Chiefs in this game. Travis Kelce has become the premier tight end in the NFL with the Patriots missing Rob Gronkowski over the past couple seasons.
Sometimes in the NFL, your best ability is your availability. Although, Gronk is unstoppable when he is on the field, he has missed significant time over the past couple seasons that has fans worried. He has missed 22 games in the past four seasons, but when he is on the field he is the best in the league.
There is a popular saying in the NFL, “A tight end is the quarterback’s best friend.” That is the undeniable truth for Alex Smith and Travis Kelce. His 85 receptions for 1,125 yards were good enough for his second straight Pro Bowl appearance. He has the ability to run over or run past would-be tacklers as he is the perfect blend of strength and speed. He is usually the first option for Smith on passing plays, a rare occurrence for a tight end.
There is no doubt these two players are some of the best at their position in the world. Kelce gets the edge because he is the younger and healthier of the two.
X-Factor: Advantage, Chiefs
It’s hard to imagine that a running back that has the Super Bowl record for most receptions in a game isn’t the X-factor. Normally, James White would blow away the competition in this category. His incredible record breaking performance included 14 catches, three touchdowns and over 130 yards.
However, in the off-season the backfield in New England got a lot more crowded. James White will be splitting time with the dynamic Dion Lewis, who when healthy is usually option A for the Pats. They also acquired Mike Gillislee from the Bills and Rex Burkhead from the Bengals. I doubt the Pats will be quick to forget James White’s heroics, but during the early part of the season I’m sure all parts of the offense will be involved.
The X-factor that is most likely to change this game for the Chiefs is wide receiver and kick returner, Tyreek Hill. Although his return duties have been slightly modified, there is no doubt Hill comes in to this game as the most explosive player. Whenever he touches the ball, he can score.
He went from barely making the team, to now being its number one wide receiver. In emergency situations, Hill will return to his punt return duties. That’s where he initially made his mark on the NFL scene.
Other Must-See Week 1 Match Ups:
Let’s be honest, in Week 1, every game is must-see! View the complete selection of NFL tickets right here at TicketNetwork!
All videos courtesy of YouTube.
Fun Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day
Time to celebrate all the kick ass moms out there who literally hold our families together. Where would you be without that late-night drive to get a textbook from school that you forgot or that ice cream cone after you got dumped for the first time? Moms are the best, and it’s time to treat them on Mother’s Day! Here is a list of fun gift ideas for Mother’s Day. From concerts to sporting events to theater, there are a range of special options for a gift that stands out. Let’s stray from the typical and head towards a gift that is truly perfect for her.
For the Cool Mom:
The Weeknd’s “Starboy: Legend of the Fall 2017 World Tour”
Like Regina George’s mom, your Original Cool Mom sings along to your Top 40 hits in the car. She’s in-the-know that “lit” doesn’t refer to a candle, and she picked you up from that party once in high school. The Weeknd’s “Starboy: Legend of the Fall 2017 World Tour” might be the Mother’s Day concert for your mom. He’s talented, excellent live, interesting, and well-known. She will be posting photos on Facebook (who are we kidding, she’s too cool for that) Instagram videoing the concert all night long.
Tim McGraw & Faith Hill’s “SOUL2SOUL World Tour”
Raised on bonfire Friday nights and wrap-around porches? If country is your family’s musical style, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill’s “SOUL2SOUL World Tour” might be a great fit for your mom. Your Country Cool Mom misses Hill’s “First Kiss” days and thinks McGraw’s black cowboy hat is dreamy. She also reminds you to remain humble AND kind. Their chemistry onstage makes for an amazing show, so spoil her this year and get tickets for their tour.
John Mayer’s “The Search for Everything Tour”
Classic Cool Moms love Mayer. Whether it’s his boyish charm or his smooth tone, John Mayer is the ideal, laidback concert choice for a Mother’s Day present. His recent album The Search for Everything stays true to his light sound, but no worries. He is still playing the classics such as “Daughters” and more on tour (our sources say). Another plus: Mayer has spent the last few years resetting his attitude and is back with a fresh perspective, clean slate, and new music. He’s parent-approved.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “40th Anniversary Tour”
Raised on vinyls and rock n’ roll? Your Old-School Cool Mom might dig tickets to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “40th Anniversary Tour.” We’re all crossing our toes and fingers that Fleetwood Mac will actually commit to a farewell tour this year (and your mom might be too), but until then, some “Free Fallin'” will do just great. Get excited to raid her record collection when you get older.
For the Soccer Mom:
The sporty mom may not have steered you in a musical direction, but she sure as hell can whip up a serving orange slices in .6 seconds. For the awesome parent who stands on the sidelines at EVERY game (in the snow, sleet, rain, that time it was 35 MPH winds), drives you to EVERY practice, and cleans all of your disgusting uniforms after.
She does it because she loves you, but she also is a huge sports fanatic herself. Sundays are spent on the couch cheering on your favorite team during the season. This summer has some of the neatest sporting events coming to the U.S., so check out the options below, so you can sit on the sidelines with her this time.
International Champions Cup
She’s a soccer mom, but no, she’s literally a soccer mom. The best players in the world are coming to the U.S. this summer. I mean Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messie, the best players in the world. Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona are just two of the international teams in the International Champions Cup this summer. Get her tickets to see these teams play in our country; a rare experience that doesn’t come around often.
It’s baseball season. That means warm summer nights, cold beer, stadium hot dogs, and your favorite team up to bat. Baseball is not only great if you’re a fan of the sport or a team supporter. It’s also just an all-around fun experience for the summer. Some of the oldest, most iconic stadiums in the country are baseball stadiums. Get your mom tickets for a Saturday night game, and tie in a fun night out with her favorite team.
This is a little farther off, but for the mom who makes nachos for every Sunday football game in the fall, or who demands to wear her old Brady jersey because she swears it brings the Pats good luck: NFL tickets might be for her. It’s a little tougher to plan ahead for the 2017-2018 season, but why not step it up a notch and watch from the stadium instead of the couch? Surprise her with NFL tickets for Mother’s Day. It’ll be a game unlike the other Sundays that she will remember for forever.
PGA Golf & Tennis
Other upcoming summer sporting events are PGA golf and tennis. Both of these less mainstream sports have huge seasons in the summertime. If your mom spends her weekends at the club and knows what a 9 iron is, maybe this is the route for her. See Phil or Bubba Watson live in action at an upcoming golf tournament, or watch the most-talented tennis players fight it out at Wimbledon. Talk about a step up from her normal tournament TV recordings.
For the Dance Mom:
Of course, there is the Dance Mom. The one who picked you up after “Hell Week” rehearsals at 1am. The one who watched your dance routine for the seventh time because that last turn kept throwing you off. She enjoys the theater and the stage more than the sidelines or the concert pit. Here are some of the best shows coming up this season so she can sit back and relax this time instead of worrying about whether you’d stumble on that one line.
Come From Away
Nominated for a 2017 Tony for Best Musical, Come From Away is a hidden gem that is starting to make mainstream attention for the mom who wants to know “what’s good” in theater. It is based on the true story of planes that landed in Newfoundland during 9/11. All air traffic was grounded, and thousands of passengers flooded Newfoundland during the terrifying day. The surrounding villages took in these stranded passengers, demonstrating acts of compassion and love during this time. After interviewing the actual people, the directors condensed the interviews into a musical. Come From Away tells a story that not many know about the day that changed America. For those parents who lived through it, it’ll add color to the historic event.
This is a fun yet informative musical for the mom who wants to be entertained while also open to what a production has to teach its audiences. Kinky Boots is about a businessman, Charlie Price, who partners with a drag queen entertainer, Lola, in order to save his family’s struggling shoe business. Through the experience, they learn that they are not so different after all. Therefore, the glitz, glam, and pizzazz of a Broadway musical shines through, yet Kinky Boots isn’t without it’s open-minded, moral lessons. For the mom who loves both: this is the production for her.
Groundhog Day is another Tony-nominated Best Musical that revives Bill Murray’s 1993 move Groundhog Day. A mixture of comedy, quirk, and life lesson, Groundhog Day is an interesting twist on a rather mundane holiday tradition. The main character, Phil Connors the weatherman, is stuck in a time warp to repeat Groundhog Day over and over again when he is assigned to cover the Punxsutawney, PA Groundhog Day event. He gets to know his co-worker TV producer Rita Hanson, and the boy-meets-girl story unfolds from there. If your mom saw the original movie and loves the storyline, Groundhog Day will be a great, re-imagined musical for her.
“Move: Live On Tour”
Shake what your mama gave you! That’s the saying, and it can’t be more true for the “Move: Live On Tour” cast. Julianne and Derek Hough are taking their immense dancing talent to the road for their second tour. “Move: Live On Tour” brings fascinating settings and intricate dance moves to life. The Hough siblings’ dance resumes speak for themselves. For a mom who enjoys dance more than the theater (and is immensely excited for J-Lo’s World of Dance TV show that includes Derek Hough as a judge), then check out “Move: Live On Tour.”
DNCE, with lead singer Joe Jonas, is touring into 2017! DNCE is known for their fun hits “Cake by the Ocean,” and “Toothbrush,” bringing a fresh, upbeat pop rock sound to the charts. DNCE is a multi-platinum band whose new, self-titled album DNCE is coming out November 18th. The band has only been together since 2015, and they’ve already made huge crashes on the charts. DNCE won “Best New Artist” at the 2016 MTV VMAs, and the group’s debut EP SWAAY entered the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Their music video for “Toothbrush” featured plus-size model Ashley Graham, creating a powerful statement for the love song in a progressive era of body acceptance.
Dec. 7 – iHeartRadio Jingle Ball, Philadelphia, PA, Wells Fargo Center
Dec. 10 – B96 Pepsi Jingle Bash, Chicago, IL, Allstate Arena
Dec. 11 – iHeartRadio Jingle Ball, Boston, MA, TD Garden
Dec. 12 – iHeartRadio Jingle Ball, Washington, DC, Verizon Center
Dec. 13 – Kissmas Concert, Charlotte, NC, Spectrum Center
Dec. 15 – Kissmass Bash, Buffalo, NY, KeyBank Center
Dec. 16 – iHeartRadio Jingle Ball, Atlanta, GA, Philips Arena
Dec. 17 – iHeart Radio Jingle Ball, Tampa, FL, Amalie Arena
Jan. 17 – San Diego, Calif., House Of Blues
Jan. 18 – Los Angeles, Calif., The Belasco Theater
Jan. 19 – Sacramento, Calif., Ace Of Spades
Jan. 22 – San Francisco, Calif., The Fillmore
Jan. 25 – Denver, Colo., Summit Music Hall
Jan. 27 – San Antonio, Texas, The Aztec Theatre
Jan. 28 – Dallas, Texas, Granada Theater
Jan. 29 – New Orleans, La., House Of Blues
Jan. 31 – Nashville, Tenn., Cannery Ballroom
Feb. 1 – Cincinnati, Ohio, Bogart’s
Feb. 2 – Cleveland, Ohio, House Of Blues
Feb. 3 – Baltimore, Md., Baltimore Soundstage
Feb. 4 – Bethlehem, Pa., Sands Bethlehem Event Center
Feb. 7 – Montclair, N.J., The Wellmont Theater
Feb. 8 – Huntington, N.Y., The Paramount
Feb. 9 – Wallingford, Conn., The Dome At Toyota Presents The Oakdale Theatre
**Bolded dates signify DNCE headliner shows
Tickets on sale for their headliner shows November 11th at 10am. Buy them any time at Ticket Network!
The music industry can be cutthroat. This isn’t surprising to the thousands of artists trying to “make it big,” moving to music hubs such as L.A. or New York to try to chase down the next big record deal. Record labels, now typically owned by a bigger ‘parent label,’ can really help an artist gain public attention in the industry. However, the relationship between artist and label is not always smooth and not always pretty. Many times, a divide occurs due to the monetary deals that occur in the relationship, and sometimes, the deals are not always as pro-artist as they should be. Sometimes, huge label executives misjudge an artist’s potential. Sometimes, it’s just bad timing that makes an artist vs. label breakup occur. No matter the reason, here are the top artists who’ve been through artist vs. label breakups and have come out stronger on the other side.
Artist vs. Label: Dropping the Artist
Destiny’s Child: Destiny’s Child was one of the biggest groups through the mid 2000’s. Beyoncé Knowles, the reigning queen of arguably the entire music industry, created her solo career after her time with Destiny’s Child. However, Elektra Records of Atlantic Records dropped Destiny’s Child in 1995. It was months before their first album, and the girls weren’t even sixteen years old. Beyoncé’s mother Tina Knowles stated years later that her disagreements with record executives partially led to the split. She believed that the girls were too young to be exposed to some of the material. Eventually, Elektra Records explained they dropped Destiny’s Child because they were “too young and undeveloped;” a reason that connects to Knowles’s concerns. Yet, Columbia Records picked up the group in 1996. With group line up changes, Destiny Child’s potential became a reality, and Queen Bey was born.
50 Cent: 50 Cent signed with Columbia Records and released “How to Rob.” This single attracted attention due to its humorous lyrics about how to rob a famous celebrity. However, the label declined to release Power of the Dollar, 50 Cent’s first studio album. 50 then underwent a unique period of time in his career focused on his recovery from a gun shooting. After months in the hospital, Columbia Records dropped him. This also was due to his song “Ghetto Qu’ran” that blacklisted him from the industry. He didn’t give up. 50 recovered and kept recording. He came back to the music scene with the mixtape Guess Who’s Back that caught the ears of rapper Eminem. That’s when his fame truly began. 50 Cent signed to Shady Records under Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope. Hits such as “Candy Shop,” “In da Club,” and many more followed.
Bruno Mars: Bruno Mars is an artist who single-handedly continues to foster the Michael Jackson era musical sound on the current mainstream radio. However, his story is not all upbeat beats and smooth vibes. Mars went to L.A. at age eighteen to pursue his music career. He signed with Universal’s Motown Records soon after, and it seemed like the Hawaiian native made the industry look easy. Motown dropped him quickly after, and Mars became an unemployed DJ, another hopeful fighting for his chance in L.A. He ended up falling into songwriting and signed a music publishing deal in 2005. From there, Mars wrote and produced songs like CeeLo Green’s “Fuck You” with The Smeezingtons, a three-person music production group that included Mars. Mars finally signed with Atlantic Records in 2009 following his extensive musical development through the connections made over the previous years.
Lady Gaga: Lady Gaga has always leaned towards drama, like pop stardom was not only possible; it was inevitable. When Gaga was in New York City fighting for the industry’s attention, she finally got her answer from Def Jam Recordings with a contract in 2005. L.A. Reid, a mega label executive, heard her play the piano and stated that she would change music. She had it. Yet, Reid took it back three months later when her demo apparently sounded flat. Gaga was dropped and heartbroken. However, after a few years of revising her image to a pop/glam-rock singer with out-of-this-world funk fashion, Gaga signed to Streamline Records (Interscope) in 2007. The rest has become Gaga’s fame monster and Reid’s biggest career regret.
Katy Perry: Katy Perry is another pop diva who forged a career path through perseverance over the industry’s twists and turns. Java of the Island Def Jam Music Group dropped Perry after they parted ways with their parent label in 2004. Columbia Records then dropped Perry in 2006 even though her record was two years in the making. She worked with producers like Max Martin and Dr. Luke, and yet, Perry still found herself label-less once again. Katy Perry finally made roots in Capitol Records in 2007, and she released her smash album One of the Boys shortly following. Hits such as “I Kissed a Girl” and “Hot N Cold” were the first of many hits to pump out of Perry’s artistry in the years to follow.
Artist vs. Label: Artist Rejection
The Beatles: Decca Records will always be the label that passed up on the iconic Beatles. After a listening party that left The Beatles’s manager certain of a deal, Decca Records rejected the band. They stated, “Guitar groups are on the way out,” and, “The Beatles have no future in show business.” Boy were they wrong. Decca Records chose Brian Poole and the Tremeloes instead because their local location would decrease travel expenses. Manager Brian Epstein also met with EMI producers Norrie Paramor, Walter Ridley, and Norman Newell who all passed up on the band. EMI Subsidiary Parlophone finally signed the band months later.
U2: Bono from U2 received a rejection letter from RSO Records in 1979. They deemed the demo “not suitable” for the label to sign. However, Island Records signed U2 in March 1980 after an A&R rep saw one of their Irish small stadium shows. Since their beginning, U2 has forged a unique rock sound in the industry, as their lyrics focus on sociopolitical issues and spirituality. They are one of the best-selling artists in the world. All of this success erupted after U2 pushed past early career struggles. The famous rejection letter of one of history’s best rock bands is now placed at the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Artist vs. Label: Leaving the Label
DJ Khaled: DJ Khaled is a more recent player on the mainstream hip-hop scene who recently changed labels. He announced that he is not attached to Cash Money anymore, but that Birdman and Lil Wayne are like family. In a very DJ Khaled style, he’s promoted a peaceful parting of ways. Khaled’s We the Best Music label has been attached to Birdman’s for four years, and he is now forging a new path. He recently signed We the Best Music to L.A. Reid’s Epic Records, securing a hopeful future for the label. With all the growing turmoil over the Birdman vs. Lil Wayne feud, it might have been a smart decision for Khaled to take his success and good-vibes-only personality somewhere else.
Dr. Dre: Out of all the producing hip-hop sharks in the sea, Dr. Dre can certainly be called the Great White. After his successful run in the hip-hop group N.W.A., Dre leaned towards music production. His past is extremely rocky; from a Compton childhood to a successful music career to a delicate, volatile Death Row Records role, Dre has done it all. Dr. Dre now runs Aftermath Records after he left Suge Knight’s Death Row Records’s downward spiral. Aftermath is under Interscope and selectively chooses hip-hop artists for its boutique label. The roster includes Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. Dre himself has grown through the entire process. He has left a pattern of violence behind him for marriage and steady success of his business endeavors. This includes Beats by Dr. Dre headphones and endorsement deals. In 2015, Forbes stated that Dr. Dre was the world’s richest musical performer.
Snoop Dogg: Snoop Dogg was one of Dr. Dre’s original hip-hop discoveries at Death Row Records in the early 90’s. Snoop Dogg stayed with Death Row for many years, through Dre’s departure and the addition of new talent such as Tupac (2Pac). Death Row Records, headed by Suge Knight, constantly attracted the dark side of gangster rap. Snoop Dogg eventually decided to sign with Master P’s No Limit Records under EMI Records in 1998 instead. With the absence of Dr. Dre, the death of Tupac, and the leaving of Snoop Dogg, Death Row Records began to see the unraveling of the monster hip-hop label. Snoop began to venture farther in the world of soft hip-hop and away from the angry intensity that made groups like N.W.A. so famous. Snoop’s laid-back, fun, casual tone separated him from the pack through his career.
Wiz Khalifa: Wiz Khalifa is in a battle with a former label that demonstrates the nasty side of artist vs. label break ups. At age sixteen, Khalifa signed a 360 agreement with Rostrum Records. Khalifa filed a lawsuit against his former manager Benjy Grinberg and Rostrum Records because he believes they convinced him to sign a deal that didn’t have his best interests in mind. The deal occurred in 2004, and now Khalifa feels like he’s fulfilled the contract’s requirements, and he wants out of the 360 deal. Other rappers such as Chance the Rapper have warned artists particularly of the sticky web of the 360 deal, and Khalifa is learning the hard way. Khalifa started his own label Taylor Gang Entertainment in 2008, and Atlantic Records recently picked up Taylor Gang. Therefore, Khalifa is surging forward regardless, but label mistakes are legally haunting the rapper for the foreseeable future.