AFTER a long, long summer the NFL makes an eagerly-awaited return and we could see record numbers of new fans flocking to watch the gridiron action on the back of arguably the greatest sporting comeback in history in last season's Super Bowl.
The way the New England Patriots came back from the dead to stun the Atlanta Falcons made headline news around the globe. So with many newcomers sitting down to watch the new season what should you be looking out for?
Again for the big one next February you'll be able to pick from Sky Sports and BBC coverage for the Super Bowl – a move which undoubtedly only helps the popularity of the sport.
Sky Sports is your home of live games with more than 100 coming at you throughout the season from Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights, while Sky Sports Mix is the channel to catch the excellent Red Zone on Sunday night when you'll see every touchdown as it happens.
The BBC also returns with two weekly shows previewing and reviewing all the action while they'll also show two of the four London games live.
It's a short season but a tough one in the NFL. Every team plays their three divisional rivals home and away along with 10 games based on a combination of a set rotation and a match-up against teams finishing in the same position in different divisions – this last one is geared up to make it easier for bad teams to improve.
The four divisional winners and two best runners-up (wild cards) enter the playoffs in both the AFC and NFC then to decide who goes to the Super Bowl. The structure often means surprise packages can come out of nowhere and make a playoff run – Atlanta being a prime case.
So are the Patriots the ones to beat again? In a word, yes! The big question this season is more who can stop the Pats than who will win the Super Bowl.
The Patriots have dominated the NFL like none before them, mainly down to the genius of coach Bill Belichick and magic arm of quarterback Tom Brady who together have found a way to stay ahead of the curve for approaching two decades.
They've seen other star players leave year after year but they're always still the team to beat having won five Super Bowls together in seven attempts and smashed numerous records in the process – these two will go down as the best ever once their careers are over.
And it gets no easier this year for the chasing pack. Brady missed the first four games of last year but will play a full slate this time around provided his 40-year-old body holds up – which some say is the only way anyone can stop this Pats juggernaut after they, if anything, strengthened their roster over the summer.
They've won three out of four Super Bowls by defending their title once before and their team this year could be just about their best yet.
The Patriots have been in six straight AFC Championship games but the challenge to stop them making the Super Bowl this year will be led by the Pittsburgh Steelers. This team, led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, are possibly the best attacking team in the league and will be well worth watching.
The Kansas City Chiefs will again be tough while Houston Texans have a fearsome defence that really troubled the Patriots in last season's playoffs. The Oakland Raiders are a popular pick and the Tennessee Titans are seen as a possible surprise package.
Representing the NFC in the Super Bowl could come down to who grabs home advantage in the playoffs but expect the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks to not be too far away.