Football, For the Last Time (Until the Next Time)

I read forum comments – occasionally – until the stupidity, trolling, or pathetic lack of proofreading becomes unbearable.  I don’t comment because it just isn’t worth it; I come here and scratch out whatever I want to say about any topic.  If no one reads it, what have I lost?

As a masochistic follower of certain sports (my being a long time fan of both the Vikings and Sabres will attest to that!), I read sports columns.  One of the most insipid comments I continually find on the sports forums is the notion “the NFL is a passing league.”  The phrase gets repeated as if it is a mantra for the willfully ignorant and perpetually bored. The game of football is a running game that has added passing.  Sure, the game has evolved, but no team has success without having some balance to their offense.  Being a Vikings’ fan, I have no problem with a run-first offense.  Adrian Peterson showed that a running team can win, but 2012 also showed that good quarterback play and a passing game are necessary elements for success.  2013 showed that it takes more than just one person to win – it takes a team.

I’m writing this today because yesterday’s Super Bowl showed several of the things I believe to be true about what the NFL calls “football” nowadays and forums of all stripes, as well.  Instead of wading into the morass of commentary on other sites by those who have little to offer in the way of substance, I’ll jot down my proclivities here just so I can see them in all their pixelated glory.  Whee!

First, yes, there is a lot of passing in the NFL and with good reason: the league has done its damnedest to contort the game to make it less “boring”.  They moved the hashmarks more toward the center of the field and they restricted what defenders can do while covering receivers.  The result has been an opening up of the field for teams who want to pursue the Don Coryell version of the sport and fill the air with footballs.

And it rarely will result in championships – live by the pass, you will die by the pass.  Count on it.

Yeah, some knob will whip out some statistics at this point of the debate and lead with the “yeah, but…” argument without considering that stats don’t mean a damn thing because this is a team game.  You can’t fault an offense because the defense can’t stop the other team.  Likewise, you can’t fault a defense because the offense can’t stay on the field.  Three-and-out is three-and-out whether you are running or passing.  The passing game is just a means to an end and the end is the goal line.  What difference does it make whether you ran it in or passed it in?  The only stat that matters is the one on the scoreboard.

Learn it, believe it, live it.

Secondly, I have always maintained that having a good quarterback is necessary, but if you don’t have a competent offensive line, you are going nowhere.  Adrian Peterson had an MVP season behind an offensive line that opened up enough holes for him to do what he does best.  This past year, the Vikings’ offensive line played as if they had just been introduced to the sport.  The results of not having a competent passing game made the outcome of the season all too predictable.

And now look what happened when Denver ran into a team that could apply defensive pressure.  You see, a passing offense isn’t any better than a running offense when up against a team that can defend the pass – that starts up front on the line.  Any NFL quarterback – yes, any NFL quarterback – can pick apart a defensive secondary if given time.  Force the quarterback into hurried decisions, those decisions are not going to be good many times.  Just as with the offense, if a defensive line can’t generate pressure, that team is going nowhere.

A passing league?  Hardly.  Football is a game that originated as a strength-on-strength contest that valued the ability to physically dominate an opponent.  That hasn’t changed and if that aspect of it ever does, then the NFL will have been successful in ruining the sport and turning it into “passketball”.  Those people who do not want to watch or do not see the value in a defensive and run-oriented football game because it’s “boring” just need the hell slapped out of them.

The other thing that was validated yesterday was about opinions, something I wrote about early on in this casually-attended blog.  Opinions aren’t worth shit – especially if you don’t know what you’re talking about and aren’t prepared to consider opposition to your opinion.  But more than that, look at all the prognosticators and “experts” who got it wrong – desperately wrong – on the outcome of the Super Bowl.  Their collective failures sort of makes that idiot “truther” busting in on the press conference a fitting scene: sometimes people need to keep their idiot ideas to themselves and shut the hell up!

Learn it, believe it, live it.

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