Thursday, January 21, 2010

Help Us Obi-Rex, You're Our Only Hope

Let me be the first to say I am not a Jets fan. I will not be wearing a Fireman Ed helmet next season and leading chants of J-E-T-S next year. I am however, a fan of football. You know, that game that used to be played in the NFL before guys like Bill Polian used their status on the competition committee to change the rules in the NFL to resemble the CFL minus getting points for a punt (If the Colts lose by a point this week, look for that rule change to be enacted for next season). I try not to be dramatic, but this game on Sunday between the Colts and Jets is not just for an AFC Title and a trip to the Super Bowl, it's the last stand for defense in the NFL.

In the late 80's and throughout the 90's, a strong defense was a must to win a Super Bowl. The New York Giants, the Chicago Bears, the Washington Redskins, the Dallas Cowboys, and even the San Francisco 49ers all had great defenses. Lawrence Taylor, Darrell Green, Charles Haley, Mike Singletary, Charles Mann, Ronnie Lott are all names on championship defenses. Going back to the 1985 Bears, look at the points per game allowed by these Super Bowl teams and defenses...

1985 Bears - 12.4 ppg
1986 Giants - 14.8 ppg
1987 Redskins - 19.0 ppg
1988 49ers - 18.4 ppg
1989 49ers - 15.8 ppg
1990 49ers - 14.9 ppg
1991 Redskins - 14.0 ppg
1992 Cowboys - 15.2 ppg
1993 Cowboys - 14.3 ppg
1994 49ers - 18.5 ppg
1995 Cowboys - 18.2 ppg
1996 Packers - 13.1 ppg
1997 Broncos - 17.9 ppg
1998 Broncos - 19.3 ppg
1999 Rams - 15.1 ppg
2000 Ravens - 10.3 ppg
2001 Patriots - 17.0 ppg
2002 Bucs - 12.2 ppg
2003 Patriots - 14.9 ppg
2004 Patriots - 16.2 ppg
2005 Steelers - 16.1 ppg
2006 Colts - 22.5 ppg
2007 Giants - 21.9 ppg
2008 Steelers - 13.9 ppg (14.9 including playoffs)

Notice the spike in 2006 and 2007? The 2006 Colts allowed over 3 touchdowns per game. (BTW the 2009 Jets have allowed 14.7 ppg so far this year, including playoffs). The 2008 Steelers benefitted from playing in an offensively challenged division, and allowed 24 and 23 points to the Chargers and Cardinals in the playoffs, the two best offenses they faced all year. Here's my issue- If the Colts win the Super Bowl, how many other teams will copycat it, and go with a Tampa-2 type defense and no running game? I love scoring as much as the next guy, but was the Cardinals/Packers wildcard game this year really that good? It was close, yes, had an exciting finish, but the only defense in that game was played in overtime. It was the closest thing to an Arena league game the NFL playoffs has ever had.

Now I'm not saying I want 6-3 ballgames, but I don't want 40 point free-for-alls each week, either. If the New York Jets win the Super Bowl, maybe the Patriots can go back to building a defense instead of that atrocity they put on the field the past 3 seasons. Maybe some innovation can come back to the defensive side of the ball for many of the teams in this league. This league is sick with offense, and it needs healing. Perhaps a Jets Super Bowl win could be the doctor this league needs. If you want the CFL and the run and shoot, you're watching the wrong league. Yes, great offenses are fun to watch, but without a good defense you don't win. I think this league is leaning to far to the other side of too much offense, and the only way to stop that is for the Jets to win the Super Bowl.

So I guess what I am trying to say is, "Go Jets". If you'll excuse me, I am going to go shower with some lava soap and brillo pad. May the force of defense be with you, always.



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