Is Ground and Pound a Thing of the Past?
By Alan Schechter
Oct 14, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano on the sidelines against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Jets won 35-9. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
As we look forward towards 2013, we take a look at this Jets offense. The Jets have made a commitment to “Ground and Pound”, bringing in Tony Sparano to cement that philosophy. Tony proclaimed that the Jets offense would be an “in your face, physical” offense, that would be able to run the football down their opponents’ throats. How has that worked out? The Jets are 4-7. And it’s not only that they are 4-7, it’s the fact that the offense has no life to it. Does anyone really think this offense can go down the field and score when it has to? I know I don’t. Heck, we all hold our collective breaths, praying that this offense doesn’t turn the ball over. And shots down the field? What does that even mean? I don’t remember what they look like. It’s run, run, short pass, run, short pass…etc. Going forward, it begs the question.
Is the ground and pound a thing of the past?
Let’s take a look at the Super Bowl Champions since the year 2000: the Ravens, the Patriots, the Buccaneers, the Steelers, the Colts, the Giants, the Saints, and the Packers. Clearly, ground and pound is not a common theme amongst most of these champions. Who do we think of when looking at this list? Eli and Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Big Ben, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers. This group is not exactly a group of running teams. Through all of these games, there have been 3-100 yard rushers. Michael Pittman in 2003, Thomas Jones in 2006, and Dominic Rhodes in 2006. That’s it. The focus is on the passing game.
Look at Super Bowl MVPs. What do you notice in this decade, regarding MVPs? No running backs! The last time we had a Super Bowl MVP at the running back position was Super Bowl XXXII, when Terrell Davis was the MVP in the Broncos’ win over the Packers. Before that? Emmit Smith. Before THAT? Otis Anderson. We are talking 1990 now, folks. You have to go back to the early 1990s to find a time when a dominant running attack won championships. The NFL is a passing football league.
Now take a look at the league leaders in rushing (stats do not include Sunday): Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Arian Foster, Alfred Morris, Stevan Ridley, Frank Gore, Jamaal Charles, and Ahmad Bradshaw. How many championships to these guys have between them? Three. Yes, they are varying in age, but the number of championships they have is 3. That is a lot of guys, and a lot of talent, to only have 3 Super Bowl championships.
The NFL is a passing league. In order to succeed, you need to have an offense that can take shots down the field. The dinking and dunking, run first offense IS a thing of the past. It’s an antequated concept that seems to basically be a dinosaur of the league. If the Tannenbaum/Ryan regime survives this and is back in 2013, they need to look into a new offensive coordinator. They need to implement a real NFL offense to see where this team is. Period.