What are you?


In today’s Pro Football, everyone is passing to the point of nausea.  The game has left its roots and I believe erased its most loyal fans.  The NFL, with all its rules, has created a quasi Pro Basketball game (with just as much contact as an NBA game at times), in other words it’s no longer physical.  It’s almost as if the NFL wants to be like Arena Football with all the scoring. The problem with that is the Arena game has some nasty hits and boards. It is clear the league has splintered their fans. You are either a fan of 6-3 games or 56-55 games, with no in between. The question remains: which are you?

I am a 6-3 fan. These types of fans enjoyed the Super Bowl, finding it entertaining and exciting. They loved the hits, the tough defense; the fighting for every yard possible, and the extreme difficulty each team had moving the ball at times. These are the fans who are disgusted with the rule changes and the “player safety rules”; hypocritically, the NFL makes a profit off their big hits videos and they love to show them on highlights. It’s laughable. The most unimpressive records to ever be broken are the passing records. Dan Marino will always be the greatest pure passer in NFL history.  He did it in a league when there was no such thing as outside the tackle box, defensive holding, pass interference because the defender might have breathed on the receiver’s left shoulder, and without excessive QB protection rules. Back then the QB was not in the same category as a punter or kicker like they are today. So when I see 5,000 yards passing today I think, big deal they throw 95 times a game and the defense can’t play defense, that kind of yardage should be expected.

The days where a great defense could dominate are not gone (look at the New York Giants); however, fewer and fewer teams are caring about defense. Of the 28 teams in the league in the 1980’s, 23 had solid defenses, and the five that did not have great defenses were picking in the top five of the draft every year like the Green Bay Packers, Houston Oilers (until they got defensive in 198),and the  Buffalo Bills just to mention a few.  Now those teams are making the playoffs? Seriously? This has mostly been spurred on by the media, by the no talent lackeys on the NFL nitwit work and the clueless slugs at ESPN. Very few people can appreciate the game the way it is suppose to be played. This Super Bowl is a perfect example. Many people thought it was boring. Why? Great defense and the running game determined the winner, not the passing game. How funny is it that the old way won a championship, amazing how that works. Running the ball and playing strong defense has won championships since 1920.

The 56-55 fan wants to see more wide open offense, no defense, high scores. Those games are great every once in a while.  In 1986 The Jets beat the Dolphins 51-45 in OT. It was an amazing game to watch. That year the Dolphins finished 8-8 and the Jets lost their last five games after going 10-1, then won their wild card game before being beaten by the Browns in the Semi-Final round. That same year the Giants defeated the Denver Broncos 19-17 in the regular season. George Martian returned an interception some 87 yards for a touchdown in that game. The Giants scored 20 points or less 10 times that year, including the NFC Championship game where they conquered the Redskins 17-0. That year New York was 14-2. Oh by the way, the Broncos also made it to the Super Bowl that year. High scoring games are great for football, but not to the extent in which we see today.

I have been a fan since I was four years old. I love this game. However, with the new rules I find myself watching hockey more than football these days. The only professional sport I have had season tickets for is the NHL, which alone says it all. The rules are driving fans like me away, and with it the younger generation that watch it with us. I will never stop watching it, but I will not be as into the game as I was when it was a more complete team game, not a we’ll score more than you and make it to the Super Bowl game. I still coach; I am an offensive coordinator, believe it or not.  I am a firm believer in the running game and great defense. Abuse your opponent and win it in the 4th Quarter when it really matters.

Another day I may write an article on the run vs. the pass. Today is about offense vs. defense. It is an interesting dynamic, but if one truly loves great offense then you must enjoy great defense, if for no other reason than to see how great one’s offense truly is. So I ask the question which are you? Are you a 6-3 fan or a 56-55 fan? Answer my poll on our website, I am curious where you stand.

A Rams fan since 1983,

Anthony Manna