Blog Entry

Its not a passing league, it's a money league

Posted on: September 3, 2012 11:45 am
The NFL has evolved into a passing league, right?

With all the numbers being put up and records being broken, one would think so.

The problem is, it's not a passing league. It's a money league.

People don't pay $65 minimum to watch a 250 yard rushing performance. They don't pay $65 minimum to watch 3-5 yards a play. They pay $65 and up to see a prolific show of backyard football. They pay $65 and up to watch flag football. NFL "fans" don't pay to watch football. They pay to watch fantasy and backyard football with an occasional hit. They don't want to pay $65 or more to watch real football.

The proof is in the pudding. Best example of recent history: 2008 Minnesota Vikings. Best tailback in the league in Adrian Peterson. Great stifling defense led by a stellar defensive line. Great kicker. Average passer. Average recievers. Playoff team at 10-6. Couldn't fill the stadium and had to get bailed out by the local television station showing the game by them buying 1000 tickets.

What kind of leaugue supports this? The kind that wants to milk every dollar out of a fan base that, by and large, does not like to watch fundamental football. The kind that worries more about protecting a Quarterback who might get hit ten times a game than a Linebacker whom gets hit 60+ times a game. The kind of league that revels in prima dona players throwing a tantrum like a two year old because they can't make five million more dollars a year. It's the kind of league that allows a complete holdout by it's players and owners over nine billion dollars.

The saddest part: These reasons are the reason the NFL is the most profitable athletic organization. Why the NFL is the most popular by far in the USA. Why ESPN doesn't show anything but football year round.

The problem is, it's still not a passing league. It's a defense and running league. Offense wins games, defense wins championships. Working under the pretense that the NFL is not the WWE (which given recent trends in champions and "storylines" it very well may be.), up until the last 5 years we have never seen a team win a title with no running game or defense. We still don't see the best teams in the Super Bowl. Last season the Giants were ranked 32nd in regular season rushing. In the playoffs they were gaining 116 yards/game on the ground. They were playing stalwart defense. They won the Super Bowl. Green Bay and New Orleans both had record-breaking throwing offenses and no legitimate running game or defense. They both lost in the Divisional Round, to the Giants and 49ers, respectively.

Now let us look at the 2011- 2012 playoffs up to conference title games as a whole. The Lions lost to the Saints. Offense vs. offense. The Steelers lost to the Broncos. Broncos ran Tim Tebow and McGahee and ran them all game. Steelers lost their running game due to a plethora of injury. The Giants beat the Falcons. The Falcons scored 2 points. Houston held Cincinatti to 10 points to win the game.

The Divisional round showed us the Giants had to stop the Packers to beat them in Lambeau, holding the high-scoring offense to 20 points. The 49ers held on in the 4th quarter to win 36-32 against the Saints. Baltimore knocked the Texans out in a 20-13 victory. The Patriots held the Broncos to 10 points en route to an AFC title game berth.

Look at the scoring. Some Winners put up a lot of points, but in 6 of the 8 games (75%) of the playoff games through the Divisional Round had the losing team scoring less than 24 points. 5 of the 8 (62%) had the losing team scoring less than 3 touchdowns. Over the entire 2011 playoffs including the Super Bowl, only 2 of the 11 games (18%) saw the losing team score more than 23 points. If that isn't defense, I don't know what is. In 82% of the games in the 2011 playoffs, the losing team could not score on more than 4 possessions.

Defense wins championships. Offense wins games.

In the "decade of the quarterback" in a "passing league", defense still is the way to win a Super Bowl.

More proof that it's not a "passing league" it's a money league.

Since: Oct 2, 2011
Posted on: September 4, 2012 5:33 pm

Its not a passing league, it's a money league

I hate to admit it but you are right about the primacy of defense. Even that Offense-Offense game between Detriot and New Orleans in the first round of the playoffs last year, the problem for Detriot was that they couldn't mount enough defense to get the New ORleans team off the field. The Saints didn't have to punt practically the whole game, even got several fourth down successes in the middle of the field.

Since: Oct 24, 2011
Posted on: September 4, 2012 10:57 am

Its not a passing league, it's a money league

I personally don't think there was ever a change in the NFL away from defense being the key to SB titles. Lets look at the SB winners of  recent years:
Colts: ball-hawk defense which were able to do so by Peyton Manning being able to hand the ball off when they had the lead.Steelers: Defense, defense, and more defense. Then run the bal and throw if we want
Giants: Defense comes on late in the year, the running game dominates the postseason
Saints: This one was an "anomaly", but the fact of the matter is they won it after Katrina, had an easy playoff road against turnover prone teams (Cards/ Vikings) with no significant playoff wins before or since.
Packers: Played great defense and Woodson was a turnover machine, and DPOY
Giants: Defense came on late in the year, and when the games really counted, Coughlin made E. Manning hand the ball off for over 110 yard average.

I don't think it's an anomaly that defense stands supreme, and there is a severe talent shortage on defense in the NFL. The Passing game puts butts in the seats and might win 13-15 regular season games, but when crunch time comes it's all about the run and stopping the run. Good playoff teams don't turn the ball over.

Since: Mar 5, 2011
Posted on: September 3, 2012 3:05 pm

Rise of Defense?

You make a good case, FP7: "Offense wins games, defense wins championships."  I hope it indicates a change in the NFL, rather than an anomaly.  Though, if I had the chance to sign pass-machines Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, I'd grab it.  Was it good defense or just untimely, poor offense?  Fodder for debate.  Good posting. 

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