Clash of the Systems: Old School vs New School NFL

Posted: January 10, 2012 by dontbeskerritt in NFL
Tags: ,

Well the NFC playoff matchups are easily 10 times better than whatever Tebow/Yates/Flacco throw-up that’s going on in the AFC.  An especially intriguing matchup that everyone is looking forward to is the Saints-49ers game.  Not only is it the best NFC defense versus the hottest NFC offense meeting head-to-head, it’s another battle between the NFL that we watched growing up, and the NFL that we see on Madden that is permeating into the gridiron.

New Orleans looks unstoppable right now.  They look like the best offense in the league, better than Green Bay and New England.  They averaged just under 40 points a game…40 POINTS since their bye week (that’s 7 games including the Wild Card game).  They torched the Lions for 626 yards in the wild-card; Drew Brees himself had an unheard of 466 yards in the air.  Against a playoff team.  How could this happen?

It's All Too Easy for Jimmy Graham

This is the New School NFL at work.  It has allowed teams to rack up yards in the air.  Drew Brees broke Dan Marino’s 27-year-old passing record this year.  Tom Brady wasn’t too far behind.  Hell, even Matthew Stafford threw for 5,000 yards.  People want to put asterisks beside all of these fallen records because it’s too easy to complete passes in today’s NFL.  Defensive backs can’t breathe on a receiver without a flag.  Safeties now have to let receivers catch the ball instead of punishing them for going over the middle.  I see harder hits over the middle in Madden than in the today’s playoffs.  I love Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, but it’s so easy to be a tight end because they don’t have to worry about getting murdered in the seams anymore.  I wonder how Tony Gonzalez feels, he got in the league a little too early.

The great offenses have figured out the new laws of the NFL land a while ago and have taken advantage.  Everyone else is catching up.  Forget a running back, let me draft a random tight end that can run down the seam.  Forget ball-control offense; if you’re QB can’t throw for 350 easy, you’re going to be sitting on the couch.  Except there is one team in the NFC that doesn’t believe that.

The 49ers are as old-school NFL, dirty, muck-it-up, win at the end as they come in the league.  Alex Smith isn’t flashy but he gets the job done.  Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter will pound you to death.   Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis will move the chains.  Their fearsome defense will smother you.  Their coach, who was the ultimate game manager in his day, Jim Harbaugh, gives his team the intensity and mental fortitude it needs to survive playing an old-school style in the new NFL.  He played that way when he almost led the Colts to the Super Bowl in 1996.  They called him “Captain Comeback” that year because he would battle back from deficits because his defense always kept it within range for him.  Harbaugh has brought that same toughness to his 49er team.  Down 13-3 in the 2nd?  Let’s pound the rock some more.  He won’t change.

The outcome of this game could start a new era in the league (if it’s not already here).  The days of defense wins Championships are waning.  Running the ball is too conservative, short passes are the new run plays.  The best defense is the defense the Saints play, score 40 points a game (the Saints defense forced the 2nd fewest turnovers this season and they still finished 13-3).  In fact the Saints were 24th in total defense and 3 other teams in the playoffs were worse; Giants, Patriots, and Packers.  Could it be that 2/3 of a team is now rendered useless?

Carlos Rogers...gulp...Difference Maker

I don’t think so.  Look back at the Lions game.  The Lions had many chances, especially defensively, to get a cushion or get back in the game with game-changing plays.  Interceptions kept bouncing off of their hands and chest.  The Lions needed a competent running back to shorten the game, because you definitely won’t win with Brees getting 81 plays in a game.  Guess what the 49ers do well?  Create turnovers (tied for #1 in the league) and run the ball (#8 in yards per game).  I’m not saying they are going to win, but the force is with them.  And the era of football that produced the Steel Curtain, Purple People Eaters, Doomsday Defense, New York Sack Exchange, and Monsters of the Midway and saw the likes of Jack Tatum, Lawrence Taylor, and Ronnie Lott is crying out to the football gods to say “offense wins games and creates highlights but defense wins Championships.”

The weather is supposed to be in the 60s in San Francisco for the game.  Some may say that gives the Saints the advantage because it will be good throwing weather. But the last time the Saints were on the grass they only scored 22 points against the Titans.  The 49ers are nowhere close to the Titans.  The Lions showed that Brees could be had.  If the 49ers can punch the Saints in the mouth and play downhill from there, they have a good as shot as any to stop the Saints.  Of course, if the Saints start a shoot-out early it can get ugly fast.   May the best NFL system win.

  1. LBC says:

    The rule changes are the main culprits for this occurring across the NFL. I have heard announcers even say “just thrown the ball up the worse that could happen is you could get pass interference”. Which ultimately is like a 902840380823804880 yard penalty in your favor. This is my whole theory on the offense, which is kind of why I like the spread offense (not spread option) but that Green Bay Packer 5 wide shotgun at the goal line. It bring joy to my heart. When you have good defense players such as Ray Lewis, Jared Allen, and other guys who consistently play in the box. What is the best way to take them out of the game rendering them useless. Go 5 wide Shotgun and murder them with a quick passing offense. Can we imagine Lewis on Jimmy Graham or Gronk who aren’t TE, but WR. Let’s stop calling them TE and call the WR. Gronk and Jimmy line up as number 1 WR on plays. lol

    The 49ers have a good chance in this one, but for each 3 and out they have consider that a Touchdown for the Saints defense. No matter what I think eventually this Saints offense will put up 27 points. It is just too good. Not to mention they throw 57923579327598437590 passes per game.

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