Friday, November 13, 2009

Passing Fancy?

The Dallas Morning News had an article this morning about the growing effects that the passing game is having on the NFL.

Traditionally, the NFL has been dominated by run first teams. The Packers of the 60's, the Steelers of the 70's, and the Cowboys of the 90's have all had run first attacks. The reasons to run first were numerous: less chance for a turnover, offensive lineman can be more aggressive during a running play, the run can work even when the weather turns, and most teams can't wrap their quarterbacks in a carapace so injuries are bound to happen the more a team tries to throw.

Even earlier this decade, teams with a 300 yard passer in a game were winning less than half of the contests. But last year, a team with a 300 yard passer won 62% of games and so far this year, a team with a 300 yard passer is winning 73% of games.

Is this the wave of the future for the NFL? College teams have embraced the spread passing attacks with open arms. Maybe the NFL is following suit with the pro-style passing attack.

Or maybe this is just a hiccup in the running trend because guys like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady are throwing the ball. How many top flight running backs can you name? Backs like Tomlinson, Portis, and Westbrook are on the downside of thier carreers. Larry Johnson has already been cut. Even the Steelers have taken to passing more than running.

Of course, teams are going to pass. They have great passers and very few great runners. Soon the weather will turn nasty in many cities and you'll see the 300 yard passing days decrease. Whether you see the passing decrease after Manning and company leave remains to be seen, but the jury is still out on the high flying NFL of the present day.

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