02-03-2012, 01:26 PM
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Can the Super Bowl really be Super if nobody plays defense?
A great column by a writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that sums up my frustration with the current flag football product the NFL league office favors
This is basically what pro football has become: One guy slinging the ball.
Always before, old-school football would rise up in the Super Bowl and save the day for us codgers. The 1983 Washington Redskins set an NFL record with 541 points in the regular season but managed only nine against the Raiders of Lester Hayes and Michael Haynes. The first installment of Buffalo’s hurry-up offense was grounded by the New York Giants, after which Bill Parcells exulted, “Power football, baby!” The St. Louis Rams and their Greatest Show on Turf was undone by Bill Belichick’s Patriots.
And now you’re saying: “The Super Bowl is Sunday. It still could happen.”
And here’s where this old-schooler concedes defeat and says: It won’t.
This champion will have the lowest-rated defense of any Super Bowl winner ever. The New England Patriots, still Belichick’s team, ranked 31st in the 32-team NFL. And the Giants, who are seen as the more traditional of the teams still standings, ranked 27th. As for running the ball, always the twin pillar of power football? The Pats ranked 20th in yards rushing; the Giants ranked dead last....
The NFL, I’m saddened to report, has become the Arena league. No longer does good pitching, or the football equivalent thereof, stop good hitting. Rarely does anybody stop anybody else. ...
Mike Nolan, just hired as the Falcons’ defensive coordinator, said (while surely gritting his teeth): “The NFL knows people like to see points scored.”
Some people, sure. But this person — who might not, let’s stipulate, be representative of the masses — prefers that points not come so cheap. When nobody stops anybody, all the offense has a dulling effect. (”Oh, look, there’s another touchdown. Big whoop.”) I’m not suggesting the NFL needs to return to the days when teams threw only on third down, but pro football usurped baseball’s claim as America’s Pastime because it fused power with precision. The power aspect, alas, has been lost.
And football, which is supposed to be the ultimate team game, has morphed into the NBA: Instead of LeBron versus Kobe, it’s Brady versus Manning, be it Eli or Peyton, or Brees versus Rodgers. At least in basketball there’s a chance LeBron and Kobe might guard one another; quarterbacks are never on the field at the same time....
To borrow from Bobby Jones on Jack Nicklaus, NFL teams have come to play a game with which I’m not familiar. And I’m not sure that game is football at all.