NFL gets the poor taste award in Week 1

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) is introduced to the crowd prior to an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Of all the dubious decisions in the opening week of the 2017 season, none topped the insensitive tweet from the league’s official NFL Mexico account with three smiley emojis that likened the Kansas City Chiefs’ big victory over the New England Patriots to the deadly earthquake that shook Mexico and took 90 lives.

That was worse than the Atlanta Braves playing ”Rock You Like A Hurricane” between innings of their baseball game against the Miami Marlins on Thursday night while Hurricane Irma was bearing down on Florida.

That Scorpions’ rock anthem is on the regular playlist at SunTrust Park and apparently was an oversight in the series opener. Besides, we’ll give the Braves props for allowing any Floridians fleeing Irma to attend any of the four games in the weekend series for free.

The NFL apologized for its ”unacceptable” tweet after the Chiefs upset the Super Bowl champions 42-27 in the season opener Thursday night. The game ended about a half-hour before the strongest earthquake in Mexico in a half-century struck the country’s southern coast.

The tweet from the (at)nflmx account said in Spanish: ”When Mexico City shakes with an (hash)earthquake because it can’t believe the (at)Chiefs won the (hash)Kickoff2017 game.”

After the tweet received widespread criticism online, the NFL Mexico account apologized for the ”unacceptable tweet … which doesn’t reflect the league’s values. We reiterate our solidarity with Mexico.”

The NFL is one of the most popular sports in Mexico, where the Oakland Raiders will play a regular-season game in November for a second consecutive season, this time against defending champion New England.

Speaking of the Raiders, they benefited from one of the biggest backfires Sunday when they recovered an onside kick to start their game at Tennessee. Derek Carr hit Amari Cooper for an 8-yard TD pass four plays later, propelling Oakland to a big 26-16 win.

”We could have had the ball at the 50-yard line with a pretty potent offense if we execute the onside kick,” said a defiant Titans coach Mike Mularkey.

The Texans did right by recognizing J.J. Watt , who has become the celebrity face of Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey after raising a staggering $31 million. Watt addressed fans in a video message played on the big screens before kickoff and Watt emerged from the tunnel waving a Texas flag .

”It’s not good when that’s the highlight of your day,” Watt said after watching the Jaguars set a franchise record with 10 sacks in a 29-7 win fueled by four takeaways. ”That was a good moment and it was downhill from there the rest of the day.”

Moreover, the Texans find themselves in the middle of yet another quarterback controversy .

Houston coach Bill O’Brien has a short week to decide who his starter will be Thursday night at Cincinnati after replacing Tom Savage with rookie Deshaun Watson at halftime Sunday. When Houston traded up 13 spots to take Watson 12th overall in this year’s draft, many assumed he’d be the starter to open the season. O’Brien instead raved about Savage’s progress.

Savage didn’t reward that faith, however, and O’Brien had seen enough after Houston’s offense failed to move the ball for two quarters during which Savage managed 62 yards passing and lost two fumbles. One of them was returned for a touchdown that left the Texans in a 19-0 halftime hole.

After throwing a touchdown toss to DeAndre Hopkins on his first drive, Watson, who led Clemson to a national title last season, threw an interception and lost a fumble on a sack.

”You live and learn,” Watson said.

Watt’s younger brother, T.J., had an excellent debut in the Steelers’ 21-18 win at Cleveland, getting two sacks and an interception – something his superstar brother has never managed to do in a game.

He was whistled for unnecessary roughness that left many observers scratching their heads, including NBC analyst Tony Dungy, who mused, ”I don’t know what’s unnecessary about that” hit.

Watt picked off the next pass.

The Seahawks were held out of the end zone in their 17-9 loss at Green Bay. An interception return for a touchdown by defensive tackle Nazair Jones was nullified when referee John Parry ejected cornerback Jeremy Lane for throwing a punch during a scrum with Packers receiver Devante Adams, who started the scuffle but escaped punishment.

”I have seen it, and I didn’t see the punch at all,” complained Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. ”… I’m anxious to hear how the league tells us how that went.”

Aaron Rodgers atoned for his rare interception with a 32-yard pass to Jordy Nelson, who beat a linebacker for the game’s only TD catch on a free play in which the Packers caught the Seahawks with a dozen players on the field.

”When they sub out we try to quick-snap them,” Nelson said. ”Aaron’s obviously the best in the world doing it.”

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