Starting Lineups: An Obituary For Defense In The NFL

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One hundred touchdowns.

859 total points.

The NFL broke an almost year-old record from Week 17 last year with a record number of touchdowns in Week 14. You can see more of this information on the NFL and their picks here.

Yes, many believe that weather played a role in the dizzying amount of TDs scored thanks to the winter storm that blanketed several parts of the country this past weekend. The wind compelled some teams to run a little more and challenged others to sling the pill against it.

However, the NFL and the country have seen bigger storms, bigger snowfall totals, denser fogs and more freezing rains hit their markets before. Though this system – which did far more than make some footballs slippery – provided the background to some indelible images for years to come, it isn’t the complete reason for the offensive onslaught.

If the last decade-plus has not shown us already, we can officially say that the concept of defense in the NFL is dead.

If you were a football fan before fantasy football became the sport’s kinda-legalized gambling co-partner, you’ve probably resigned yourself to the fact that the defenses that helped make the sport and league are probably never going to come back in the ways you remembered. While some changes to how defense is played had to be made in the name of player safety – a nebulous matter despite best efforts from the league – one has to wonder if at some point the league will have to give something back to the guys paid to challenge these offenses.

On top of the rule changes, officiating has undergone greater scrutiny than ever before, and a number of questionable pass interference penalties ignited the scoring spree in some of this past week’s games. Injuries, a constant in sports, seem to have even more of an impact than past seasons. Worst of all, there must be something missing in how defense is actually being taught before these players make the NFL. At the collegiate and high school levels, it seems as if defense lags so far behind offense that the games can appear as glorified scrimmages.

Then again, a majority of games involving the New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos look kind of like those early September cream-puff games.

In what’s already been a season with about a handful of legitimately good teams, a mass amount of mediocrity and a sackful of terrible ones, this particular week should serve less as a reason to break out confetti and more of a reason to lay a wreath for your team’s secondary. Or linebackers. Or defensive line.

4 Replies to “Starting Lineups: An Obituary For Defense In The NFL”

  1. Man, ain't this the damn gospel. Defense is becoming a thing of the past excluding a few teams. I stopped getting mad watching the MNF game because I knew there was no way Dallas was going to get a stop with that defense.

    1. I would absolutely HATE to be a defender in the NFL. You can't hit people high. You can't hit people low. You can't people too hard. You can't touch anyone.

      Defense has simply been legislated out of the game. And on top of that, fundamentals like solid tackling have gone by the wayside. It's a damn shame, because I love defense. But sadly, it's gone the way of way of powder wigs and Kris Kross (too soon?).

  2. I know we look at the past with rose-tinted glasses at times, but this in terms of quality, this is the worst regular season in recent memory. Exciting in a train wreck sort of way? Sure. Some amazing, freakish athleticism? Always. Impressive years from unexpected places? Definitely.

    Yet, look at the standings. That the NFC East has to send somebody to the playoffs angers me. That the Bengals are going to win AFC North again without actually getting better, but the rest of the division getting worse ticks me off. That the Patriots have progressively gotten worse season after season, but the AFC East is a dumpster fire should ring the alarm at the league offices. That Detroit will probably get the NFC North despite themselves is almost offensive to my sensibilities.

    And the Southern divisions outside of the Panthers and Saints are complete jokes this season.

    Just let a DB jam the receiver like they used to. Give them something back. Ty Law will thank you personally, Roger Goodell.

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