NFL kicks off next month |

NFL kicks off next month

Nothing much goes on during the summer for professional sports.

The NBA Finals are now over, as is the Stanley Cup, leaving just baseball occupying the center stage. The U.S. Open concluded over the weekend up in Washington and you see more soccer highlights on SportsCenter.

But all of that is about to change next month when the NFL season begins calling for players to return. With July being one of the dullest months on the sports calendar, we get a feel of what to expect with our favorite NFL team. We find out if the NFL Draft last month was a bust, as well as the newly acquired talent and departed stars.

We can’t help but to imagine how the 2015 season will shape out and if we should start saving money for playoff tickets. But even if our favorite team is on the other side of the country, sports’ biggest event will be only 4 1/2 hours away. The Super Bowl comes to Santa Clara this season.

And while the biggest party in the world is also one of the most expensive, with the cheapest ticket eclipsing $1,000 every season, it’s tempting to ponder if going to the big game is realistic. Is it worth the price of admission or are we better off watching it from our living room?

If we are looking for better compromise, consider purchasing a parking pass instead, tailgate and then watch or listen to the game from our car. If money’s an issue, parking at the game but watching from the lot gives us one of the best experiences without having to sacrifice much. Our wallet thanks us and we still get to watch the commercials.

The Super Bowl, though, is the only thing to be excited about when the season kicks off.

Many teams have revamped their roster, including the 49ers, who could end up posting a worse record than the Raiders. Gone are their all-time leading rusher and one of the most talented receivers, although his attitude drew bigger headlines. Will Colin Kaepernick be allowed to roam free just like he did when he arrived on the scene leading San Francisco to the Super Bowl?

And for the Raiders, we’ll find out if Derek Carr is the real answer to their offensive woes.

Too many times we’ve seen the quarterback position turn over as Oakland hasn’t had a good signal-caller since Rich Gannon. The defense has shown improvement, too, but both phases need to click together in order for the Raiders to have a chance in the division.

But these are questions that will either be solved or continue to riddle fans when camps open up next month. And even if our favorite team has a bad season, there’s some hope.

The Super Bowl is less than four hours away.

Thomas Ranson can be contacted at