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The Evolution of the NFL from Best Tickets

Yesterday’s defeat has still left a sour taste in my mouth.  The Steelers sit at 0-4 for the first time since the Stone Age after being defeated by a severely flawed Vikings team.  All that means is that Pittsburgh is an even more severely flawed team.  With holes throughout the offense, defense, and special teams, it could be a very long season for the Steelers.

One of the perceived strengths of the Steelers during the peak points for the franchise has been a powerful running game, dominant defense, and strength and willpower in the trenches on both sides of the ball.  That’s always been a very strong formula for winning championships and obviously the Steelers do not lack in that department.  However, a blog article from Best Tickets today broke down the evolution of the NFL as it becomes a much more heavily pass-oriented league.  The author used statistical data collected since 1932 to show the gradual progression from a running league to a passing league.

Roethlisberger can certainly sling with the best of him.  He’s a two-time Super Bowl champion and when they need to throw, he can, as evidenced by his 383 yards yesterday and 406 yards in Week 3.  But those were both games the Steelers lost and much of that yardage was accumulated as they trailed their opponent.  They always have tried to establish a running game, even when the runners have been the likes of Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer, and Isaac Redman.  The question then becomes, do the Steelers need to air it out even more?  The defensive issues withstanding, the only way the Steelers are going to win games this year is by scoring a lot of points and as evidenced by Best Tickets, the best way to score points is to throw the ball.

It’s a fascinating article, [particularly how it pertains to the Steelers and what type of football team they want to be.  Last year’s Super Bowl demonstrated that strong defenses and the occasional aerial assault can win you football games, but perhaps that was simply an anomaly from days long ago.  Let’s hope the Steelers, whatever path they take, can improve mightily and start winning some football games.


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