While many have derided the Colts and crowned the "Patriots Way" winners in the NFL's version of the Cold War, it's becoming evident that the Patriots (and much of the league) are now playing the game the way the Colts have for more than a decade:
But even the Saints are merely a variation on the type. They, too, are built on a franchise quarterback – surrounding him with an array of weapons that would make the Pentagon blush. Their defense, too, is a paper tiger – an assemblage of talent that would have been mocked in the "defense wins championships" era of Doomsday Defenses, Steel Curtains, and Purple People Eaters.
That era is not yet wholly gone, but it is unrecognizable from even 10 years ago.
This season suggests that there are essentially two models for success in the National Football League: the Indianapolis Colts model and the Pittsburgh Steelers model.
The Colts model is the reality the league has created. By emphasizing offense at every turn – by making quarterbacks as precious a fabergé eggs and penalizing defensive backs for anything short of wearing strong cologne – the NFL has essentially changed the balance of power in the game. An elite quarterback can now unlock even the most dominating defenses.
A little vindication from a really solid news paper. Although, I don't think there will be honest appraisals of Manning's and Polian's foot prints until after they retire; certainly, not as long as sports media are dominated by the shallow group-think of ex-players and coaches.
I also enjoyed watching the Denver Tebows take it to the Steelers' defense. Seeing Tebow beginning to adapt successfully to the pro game (or visa versa) struck me as really compelling TV.
The thing I like most about today's Steelers loss is what it wil look like on paper in a dozen years. We've all heard so much about Brady's 10-1 record in the playoffs to start his playoff career, his 3 SBs in three tries, to start. And of course how superior he was. The bottom line is winning and he was a winner in the biggest games. Similar for Ben, who won a SB early (two? aye caramba!) and went to a third in his first six seasons. He must be better than Manning! The truth is, when those guys won SBs, they were on defensively-led teams. As their D crumbled, the Pats have not won a playoff game in a while--can it be four years now?. We'll see how this year plays out for them. The Steelers D is still solid but old and dinged up. But nobody will remember that, just as they won't remember us missing Brackett or Mathis/Freeney for the two close SD playoff losses (but the Manning can't beat a 3-4 meme was out in full force). Can't believe how bitter I still am about this.
Back to the team model concept, we DID win our SB when our D played very well in the playoffs. (and didn't despite having two much better regular season D squads in 05 and 07--go figure. It's all timing.) So let's not pretend D is meaningless. Kind of curious about next week in GB--Little Peyton has been very good lately and his OL and D are better than GBs, IMO. Could there be a second Ravens/Giants SB?
BTW, if my sarcasm in the first graf above is not clear, allow me to point it out. I am ridiculing the "these guys just win big games" folks and trying to point out that it's a team game. I love Manning, but am much more comfortable when the Colts run/pass splits are closer to 50/50--play-action works better then and my QB gets hammered less often--and when our D is getting some headlines of its own. Despite lots of wins, I'd fear going back to the early 2000s model when Manning HAD TO throw for 300 yds and 2 TDs every game just to keep us in it, because the D or ST were so porous. No lead was big enough back then, but lucky for us fans, that worked both ways.
@18to88 That's our way for sure, NE has only most recently done that.
And based on how the Steelers are out, looks like the QB way is the right way. I got so tired of discussions regarding Ben's foot. Odd how after a bad play, he limps, but then he runs for 15 yards and has is fully healthy.