The evolution of the NFL

The cliche “defense wins championships” is fading faster than MLB ratings in the summer. Take a look at the last two decades of Super Bowl winners. The guys commanding their teams include names like Aikman, Favre, Elway, Warner, Brady, Manning, etc. With the exception of Baltimore in 2000 and Tampa Bay in 2002, the NFL title game has been decided because of superior play at the quarterback position.

A lot of experts are picking Baltimore to reach the Super Bowl this year. The reason isn’t because of their stingy defense. It’s because their offense upgraded enormously with the additions of Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Not to mention they have one of the most versatile backs in the league with Ray Rice and a future all-pro protecting Joe Flacco, Michael Oher.

In examining last year’s qb ratings, the only team to make the postseason with sub-par qb play was the Jets. And they qualified for the playoffs based on the Colts resting their starters late in the regular season. People want to see offense.

Last night’s game between the Ravens and Jets was abysmal from an offensive standpoint. Yes New York has arguably the best defense in the league, but they will go nowhere if they can only manage six first downs a game, which was all they acquired in their season opener.

The Saints last year finished 26th in total defense in the NFL. Their opponent in the Super Bowl: Indianapolis, 18th. Again, defense doesn’t always win championships. There’s a reason Minnesota desperately persuaded no. 4 into returning for yet another year. Without him, the Vikes are a mediocre team. And with him, well I think we all saw last year how dangerous of a team they can be.

If you asked every single GM in the league if they’d rather have a pro-bowl quarterback or any pro-bowl player on defense, I guarantee they would take the former. It’s not rocket science to figure out why the two highest paid positions in the NFL are the quarterback and the man who protects him, left tackle.

The three-year period when the Rams were the most explosive offense in the league wasn’t because of Isaac Bruce or Marshall Faulk; but because of Kurt Warner. Larry Fitzgerald and Andquan Boldin weren’t the reason Arizona made a miraculous run to the Super Bowl. It was once again the play of the aforementioned Warner. The Giants’ heroics from 2007 were because Eli Manning played out of his mind in the post season.

Teams like the Lions, Browns, Raiders, and Bills have been terrible for the last seven years because of pathetic quarterback play.

Adrian Peterson may be the biggest freak in the league, but guys like Brady and Manning are worth double what he is because the shelf life of a quarterback is much longer than that of any other player in the league. Why do you think people are picking the Steelers to miss the playoffs this year? It’s not because their defense has fallen off. It’s because their star qb is missing for a few games.

I’m not saying a great defense can’t win you a ring. But without a star quarterback in this league your chances are slim to none.

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Thoughts from week 2

Alabama and Ohio St.

In college football you need two weeks to figure out who’s good and who isn’t. The Crimson Tide and the Buckeyes are a notch above the rest of the nation. Both beat top 15 teams handily on Saturday, and if Ohio St. had a better coverage team their win over Miami would’ve been even more lopsided. In Tuscaloosa it’s not a stretch to say that the Tide have the two best running backs in the country with Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. Side note on Richardson: This off-season he put up a whopping 465 pounds on the bench press. That’s as far as the coaches would let him go.

The weak ACC

What has happened to the ACC? The league started the season with 5 teams ranked in the top 25. Now, no. 17 Miami is the only team left of that group. This past weekend Florida St. was embarrassed at Oklahoma. Georgia Tech lost to a Kansas team who was upset by North Dakota St. in week 1. Miami was outmatched by a more skillful Ohio St. squad. And who can forget about the potential upset of the year, James Madison knocking off 13th ranked Virginia Tech (which makes Ole Miss fans feel a little better I guess). It appears as if the ACC which is typically the fourth best conference in America will now fall behind the upstart Pac-10 in the BCS conference rankings.

Darkhorse for Heisman

Denard Robinson is really, really good. The sophomore QB from Michigan may be the best athlete at the position since Michael Vick. He absolutely shredded Notre Dame’s defense on Saturday throwing for 244 yards and rushing for another 258. Think he couldn’t run like that against SEC defenses? There’s a reason why he burned Notre Dame on an 87-yard td run. The kid has been clocked as fast as 10.28 in the 100-meter dash (a florida high school record). And by the way he leads the nation in rushing, as a quarterback. Not to mention he has yet to throw an interception. He’s also a very humble kid which makes it even easier to pull for him.

Other rants…

Florida has played only one half of decent football.

After putting up over 300 total yards against Tulane, Jeremiah Masoli is now in charge of the Ole Miss offense.

With USC narrowly escaping Virginia at home, Oregon has to be considered the class of the Pac-10 after the 48-13 shellacking it put on Tennessee.

After rushing for 182 yards and two touchdowns vs. Georgia, Marcus Lattimore is the top freshman in the country thus far.

Although Alabama is top-notch, there isn’t another elite team in the SEC (until Florida proves otherwise).

Boise State’s strength of schedule took a big hit with Virginia Tech losing. At season’s end, the Broncos schedule may not feature a team left in the top 25.

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