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May Day 10

Is the NFL Better than Ever Today?

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Good question... I'd say for the period of 2000-2020 today, it hasn't been as good of a product as it was in the 80s-90s.

 

Now, is that because it just "coincidentally" lines up to when the Bills were good vs a 20 year drought? Maybe.

 

But IMO, it was a lesser product because it was a boring league. There were 2 dominant QBs (Manning & Brady), and no one else really had much of a shot. It's also a copy-cat league, so everyone was trying to recreate what they were doing, but didnt have the QB talent to pull it off. Everyone ran the same offense, against the same defense. So predictable and boring.

 

Throughout this time, I became a much bigger fan of College ball, where you have far more variety in schemes and therefore the games and storylines are more entertaining.

 

I had often said "If Buffalo loses the Bills, I probably won't ever watch an NFL game again", with plans to just become a fan of College football only. No sour grapes or bitterness, just that no other team or storyline in the NFL interests me. That is mostly still true. It is difficult for me to really watch and get into any NFL game the Bills arent playing in.

 

All that said... The recent injection of young, fresh, DIFFERENT Quarterback talent has drawn me back in. So in that aspect, thanks to the new class of QBs and the retiring out of the old guard, I'd say the NFL is on the right track to improving.

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31 minutes ago, Logic said:

It depends on what you like about football.

If it's just the gladiatorial, "people smashing into people really hard" aspect, then you'd probably feel as though football has gotten worse.

If, on the other hand, you enjoy the athletic spectacle, the complexity and diversity of offensive and defensive gameplans, the creative deployment of personnel, and the parity, then you probably think football has gotten much better.

I tend to fall more in the second camp, though there are certainly moments where the over-officiation and over-penalization of hits is regrettable and irritating.

The level of competition across the league is great. The quarterback play is at an all-time high (though that fact is clearly inseparable from the offensive rule changes and protections that have been inserted in recent years). The playcalling and schemes and creativity and deployment of personnel is at an all-time high. The willingness of pro coaches to utilize college schemes and ideas has really injected new life and freshness into the NFL.

And this is all just the league itself: I haven't even MENTIONED the "access" to the league, or all the stuff around the league. Between super slow motion high definition replays, NFL Sunday Ticket, Red Zone, ten thousand preview, review, highlight, and recap shows, fantasy footballs, DFS, legal sports gambling, social media, mic'd up, NFL Films, etc, etc, etc....there has never been a better time to be a fan of football. Sometimes it boggles my mind to remember that, in order to find out what happened in NFL games across the league, you used to either have to catch local news sports highlights, or read the next day's newspaper. Crazy. 

 

Agreed!

 

You can still see some big hits, but honestly I don't miss seeing a SS like Atwater coming in like a heat seeking missile and practically decapitating a WR across the middle. I also like seeing the stars play more games and miss fewer due to injury. 

 

The game has evolved. It is still a physical game (far from a "Pro Bowl") but more like rugby, where there are hits and there is physicality but the stupid stuff where guys fly head first looking for the KO is becoming a thing of the past. 

 

Football is only going to continue to grow in popularity with the rise of new stars. Remember when there was a legitimate worry about who the next batch of QBs would be after the Favres, Mannings, Bradys, etc. retired? No issue there: we have tons of exciting, young QBs that are leading teams into the future.

 

Also, few other sports allow for the teams that have been down to get back up. Teams that weren't traditionally strong have a shot at becoming the new power teams in the league. BUF, CLE, CIN, ARZ are just a few that were down and out for most of the past decade (or more) but have a real shot at winning consistently for a while. 

 

All of a sudden KC went from a mediocre team to a super team, mostly because of 1 player. 

 

 

Edited by TheFunPolice
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QB’s are much better, and the athleticism of all players are off the charts. The league is full of athletes who are better than previous eras. The quality of the game is another debate. Athletes outside of the QB position don’t get to show their dominant skills in the way that players from previous eras could. The rules have emphasized QB play, while limiting the impact of others. The overall talent of the team is less influential to wins/losses than the past. The 2020 Bills would be total trash without Josh Allen. I’d argue that one player didn’t impact win/losses to the same level in the past.  

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52 minutes ago, Jauronimo said:

Hockey is better now than it was during the heyday of the neutral zone trap, 2 line pass rule, and non-stop clutching and grabbing.  The skill level of the players is on display now that there is time and space on the ice.

 

 

Although I was talking about basically pre-1995 which was pre-trap....  I disagree.  It is all still there, but it is re-skinned.  Players are so efficient and big now, coaching is so refined, there is zero room out there for maneuverability.  As I mentioned, it is a game to see who makes the next mistake.  It is awful.  

You also had the possibility of any game turning into an ugly and exciting brawl, even if it was a 5-1 game.  It felt like the players had real emotion and really cared.  

 

Nowadays it just feels like a recreational skate for millionaires a lot of the time.  Goalies are spreadsheets, and we no longer see a lot of athletic saves.  Goalies just know how to be efficient and be in the exact spot, making themselves take up as much space as possible to reduce the % possibility of a goal against.  

I go to a game and can barely recall anything that happened.  I cant even watch any games on television including the Sabres.... and hockey used to be my thing.  I probably missed less than 25 sabres games total from like 1987 to 2012.

 

Everybody is so big and fast now.  Watch a game from the 70s to see how much smaller and slower everyone is (including goalies) and there was so much more space and variety in play.  I have said it before, and still think that they need to execute a 40-year advanced thinking plan and increase the size of the playing surface whenever a new building or major renovation is done.  Larger nets should be considered as well.  

 

 

I absolutely loathe silly things the NHL does to contradict itself, first and foremost the awful "Coaches Challenge" for Offside plays.  My goodness is that a silly rule that can only prevent goals (in a league desperate to create offense).  Most times an Offside is 3, 4, or 5, steps away from a goal against, and means nothing, especially when they are analyzing if a toe had a millimeter of daylight when the puck crossed the line.

Edited by May Day 10

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Hockey is sooooo much better its not even funny. The speed, size, athleticism and skill of the players is way better. Watch a game from the 80s and 90s the skating looks like beer league compared to now. I should know I played hockey in the 80s and 90s at a pretty high level. 

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I'm sure nostalgia plays a big part of it, but I enjoyed sports a lot more "back in the day."  I think that analytics and over-officiating has hurt the game(s).  20 years ago, when a pass was incomplete, it was incomplete.  Now, after every incomplete pass, the receiver gets up and starts making the motion with his arm that mimics a flag being thrown.  Sometimes, it even influences the officials to throw the flag (they are human).  I think that whole scenario detracts from the game.

 

You could argue that some of the analytics-based shifts in baseball have improved the "strategic" element and made it more interesting, but I think it takes the basic fun out of the game.  I'm not sure I want to hear about "launch angle" during a telecast.  I kind of like the "eyeball test" and might not be all that interested in a hockey player's "Corsi rating."

 

Finally, these ridiculous statistics are annoying.  I think it's great that Josh Allen is having an incredible season and had a fantastic first four games.  But do I really care that he is among only 3 players in NFL history who threw for 1,000 yards, rushed for more than 100 yards, had 6 passing TD's, 2 rushing TD's, has brown hair and was over 6 feet tall the first 4 games of a season?  (These numbers are obviously made up, but the point being that the combination of several different statistics to demonstrate a particular narrative is silly.)

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13 minutes ago, D. L. Hot-Flamethrower said:

Hockey is sooooo much better its not even funny. The speed, size, athleticism and skill of the players is way better. Watch a game from the 80s and 90s the skating looks like beer league compared to now. I should know I played hockey in the 80s and 90s at a pretty high level. 

 

I agree the players are 1000x better.... Like Mike Weber would probably be a  hall of fame franchise defenseman back in the day.    but IMO it makes the NHL games worse.  It all cancels itself out on a playing surface that everyone has outgrown. 

Edited by May Day 10

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Better is subjective. I always want to see the best at anything. And i feel it is objectively true that today’s athletes, in general, are better at their trade than athletes from decades ago. 
 

its a fact that athletes today are faster and stronger than 30-40yrs ago. Athletes are more specialized in their positions/sport. Is the sport as a whole better? I dont know. I could do with a little more balance in officiating between offense/defense. I miss being able to see hard hits without an automatic flag. 

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Everyone always likes to look at the good old days.  If you want to go back before my days, there is always the ear slap by Deacon Jones that probably left guys with hearing problems, but hell it was before recorded sacks.  They speculated on NFL films he had 36 sacks in one year.  I’m guessing that was in a 12 or 14 game season.

 

Bottom line to me is with the size and speed of these players, I’m happy they have changed the rules as I don’t want guys getting CTE, etc.  It is a more complicated game now, and you can’t just decapitate a guy metaphorically.  As much as we hated the loss Sunday, it was an exciting game, and remember when it was the Giants, 49ers, Cowgirls, Steelers, and so on.  Now, you don’t know who is getting into the dance.  Who thought the Seahawks, Eagles, Falcons a few years ago, can make it to the championship game.

 

Free agency in the end was a good thing.  Now it’s a matter of how well managed, scouted and coached a team can do and how they make decisions on who they keep, and who they let go.  I’m happy with it.

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2 hours ago, May Day 10 said:

I was talking to my son in the car today about how people always look back to their childhoods and think everything was better (and often are correct).  

 

I used the NHL as an example.  My dad would always tell me how much better the original 6 was.  Now I tell my kid how much better the 80s and 90s were, with a lot of the fun stars of the day, high scoring games, lots of fights and rivalries, etc.  Hockey is boring to me now, and the quality of the players and coaching has made every game a war of attrition to see who makes a mistake first.

 

MLB the same way, although I much prefer today over the roid era.  Still long for the days of older ballparks and Ozzie Smith, Cal Ripkin, George Brett, Mattingly, Winfield, Strawberry, Hershiser, etc...

 

Then I got to the NFL and I paused...  I actually think it might be much better today than it was when I was a kid (Im 42).  I do think there would be an extra charm with the AFL days/1960s and 1970s that I missed... but overall, the sport has improved from the 80s and 90s.  It has gotten faster, more action, much more in quantity and quality coverage, ridiculous popularity, fantasy football/pools, and lots of stars.  

 

granted, there are things I dislike... mainly the extreme proliferation of video review.  It would also be nice if players had a longer shelf-life like they seemed to have in the past.   

they played longer to keep making money. Lot of players in '60s had off season jobs

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90s was peak NFL, IMO. It was the right mesh of talent, rules, and league operation.

The talent level has continued to increase, but the rules and league operation have worsened. 

 

I blame the Patriots

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3 hours ago, Jauronimo said:

How did you quote a post that was made 1 minute after this post?  Witchcraft? 

 

Yeah HOW did he do that????

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2 hours ago, May Day 10 said:

 

Although I was talking about basically pre-1995 which was pre-trap....  I disagree.  It is all still there, but it is re-skinned.  Players are so efficient and big now, coaching is so refined, there is zero room out there for maneuverability.  As I mentioned, it is a game to see who makes the next mistake.  It is awful.  

You also had the possibility of any game turning into an ugly and exciting brawl, even if it was a 5-1 game.  It felt like the players had real emotion and really cared.  

 

Nowadays it just feels like a recreational skate for millionaires a lot of the time.  Goalies are spreadsheets, and we no longer see a lot of athletic saves.  Goalies just know how to be efficient and be in the exact spot, making themselves take up as much space as possible to reduce the % possibility of a goal against.  

I go to a game and can barely recall anything that happened.  I cant even watch any games on television including the Sabres.... and hockey used to be my thing.  I probably missed less than 25 sabres games total from like 1987 to 2012.

 

Everybody is so big and fast now.  Watch a game from the 70s to see how much smaller and slower everyone is (including goalies) and there was so much more space and variety in play.  I have said it before, and still think that they need to execute a 40-year advanced thinking plan and increase the size of the playing surface whenever a new building or major renovation is done.  Larger nets should be considered as well.  

 

 

I absolutely loathe silly things the NHL does to contradict itself, first and foremost the awful "Coaches Challenge" for Offside plays.  My goodness is that a silly rule that can only prevent goals (in a league desperate to create offense).  Most times an Offside is 3, 4, or 5, steps away from a goal against, and means nothing, especially when they are analyzing if a toe had a millimeter of daylight when the puck crossed the line.

 

Huge hockey fan here - a disclaimer here, I grew up in Philly and watched the Flyers win the cup against the Sabres.  One key takeaway I have from this post is the players HAVE gotten huge.  Back in the day when Lindros played (90's) he was an anomaly.  Huge Fast guy.....now it is a league of huge guys AND fast guys.  So time and space has drastically been reduced.  Would be super cool if the sheet of ice were international size to give more room to create better plays. 

 

I disagree on your view of the goalies however.  Since the Sabres haven't had a decent netminder in many years now it is easy to fall into that trap.  I know as the Flyers went many many many years before they hit big on their current goalie.  I see saves from him that would be goals from any of the cast of clowns they trotted out there for seemingly years on end.

 

Having had season tix to the Bills starting in 1987 for 25 years and attending games sporadically after giving them up I am mixed as to which era was/is better.  There are good things from both eras.  Players today are just absolute freaks of nature and in that respect interesting to watch.  QB's are coddled too much but that is a byproduct of what the NFL has morphed into.  Sure there were players who seemed to play for longer careers but I think the physicality of today's game has shortened careers with the knowledge of brain injuries as we know understand them.

 

Baseball has always been meh to me.  Basketball - the only basketball I will watch is college ball.  So I can not comment on them.

 

I like the comment about Nostalgia being a drug!  So true....

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The level of QBs play is fantastic.

 

the last 10-15 year of Peyton Brady and Brees nickel and diming their Way down the field is replaced with these mobile rocket arms that hit high difficulty throws repeatedly. 

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2 hours ago, D. L. Hot-Flamethrower said:

Hockey is sooooo much better its not even funny. The speed, size, athleticism and skill of the players is way better. Watch a game from the 80s and 90s the skating looks like beer league compared to now. I should know I played hockey in the 80s and 90s at a pretty high level. 

I’m a Redwings  fan go back and watch some of those Avalanche vs Redwings games and tell me if there’s anything even close to that right now 

Nobody wants to talk about the NBA ? 
the NBA in the 90’s was freakin amazing and I was a huge fan , now i haven’t watched NBA in years 

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Ok, here is why many (most) of us think things were better in the past.....everything was 'new' then.

 

As we get older, less and less of what we see in sports is new to us. When we were younger, the first big win was special because we never saw it before.  That 65yd touchdown run?  We got so excited about it because we never saw it before...or rarely did.

 

However at later points in our life...after we have watched hundreds of games (for some of us), we can still enjoy the game, but very little is new.  Sure, we want to see that big win, but its not as big because we already experienced that emotion.  Oh, that 65 yard run yesterday? It was great, but it wasn't the best one we ever saw.

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24 minutes ago, Kwai San said:

 

Huge hockey fan here - a disclaimer here, I grew up in Philly and watched the Flyers win the cup against the Sabres.  One key takeaway I have from this post is the players HAVE gotten huge.  Back in the day when Lindros played (90's) he was an anomaly.  Huge Fast guy.....now it is a league of huge guys AND fast guys.  So time and space has drastically been reduced.  Would be super cool if the sheet of ice were international size to give more room to create better plays. 

 

I disagree on your view of the goalies however.  Since the Sabres haven't had a decent netminder in many years now it is easy to fall into that trap.  I know as the Flyers went many many many years before they hit big on their current goalie.  I see saves from him that would be goals from any of the cast of clowns they trotted out there for seemingly years on end.

 

 

 

Yeah, thats a good comparison.  Its like we have 10 Lindroses out there at all times.  Complete with analytics and sports science.  

 

That is also a big reason why fighting became obsolete.  These guys started to get huge, fighters even bigger and could do a ton of damage with 1 punch.  

 

I'm not sure a standard International rink would be the answer.... but something.  Pittsburghs and Detroit's arenas should have had a bigger sheet.  We would have varying sizes of ice surfaces for 40-50 years maybe, but that was a cool thing in the 80s and teams would be built based on their ice size.  

 

 

As far as goalies go.... I base a lot of it on Ryan Miller.  Wasn't a big reactionary or athletic goalie.  He just seemed very prepared to be in the right place and cut down the angle and make himself large.  Its effective, but not fun to watch.  

Edited by May Day 10
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2 hours ago, May Day 10 said:

 

Although I was talking about basically pre-1995 which was pre-trap....  I disagree.  It is all still there, but it is re-skinned.  Players are so efficient and big now, coaching is so refined, there is zero room out there for maneuverability.  As I mentioned, it is a game to see who makes the next mistake.  It is awful.  

You also had the possibility of any game turning into an ugly and exciting brawl, even if it was a 5-1 game.  It felt like the players had real emotion and really cared.  

 

Nowadays it just feels like a recreational skate for millionaires a lot of the time.  Goalies are spreadsheets, and we no longer see a lot of athletic saves.  Goalies just know how to be efficient and be in the exact spot, making themselves take up as much space as possible to reduce the % possibility of a goal against.  

I go to a game and can barely recall anything that happened.  I cant even watch any games on television including the Sabres.... and hockey used to be my thing.  I probably missed less than 25 sabres games total from like 1987 to 2012.

 

Everybody is so big and fast now.  Watch a game from the 70s to see how much smaller and slower everyone is (including goalies) and there was so much more space and variety in play.  I have said it before, and still think that they need to execute a 40-year advanced thinking plan and increase the size of the playing surface whenever a new building or major renovation is done.  Larger nets should be considered as well.  

 

 

I absolutely loathe silly things the NHL does to contradict itself, first and foremost the awful "Coaches Challenge" for Offside plays.  My goodness is that a silly rule that can only prevent goals (in a league desperate to create offense).  Most times an Offside is 3, 4, or 5, steps away from a goal against, and means nothing, especially when they are analyzing if a toe had a millimeter of daylight when the puck crossed the line.

Counter point. 

 

In today's NHL we see more amazing displays of passing, stick handling, and end to end play relative to the 90s.  The highlight reel moves and playmaking we see from top players like MacKinnon and McDavid, or the first lines from Tampa and even Boston as much as I hate to admit it just weren't possible back then.  Scott Stevens or one of the Hatcher bros would have ended McDavid's career already.  I do not really understand how having every player on the roster be a true NHL talent is a bad thing for the sport but we can agree to disagree on whether talent disparity makes for a better product.  If the Sabres can put a spreadsheet in goal we might make the playoffs again in 2030 when play resumes.  If you want erratic goaltending Carter Hutton is must see TV.

 

I will always have a soft spot for the mid 90s and rivalries between western powers like Colorado-Detroit-Dallas and watching the Sabres win 2-1 games despite being outshot 45-18 while Hasek stands on his head.  I grew up watching Don Cherry's Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Hockey.   I loved 60 minutes of dump and chase, crash the net, drop the gloves, ugly goal hockey and rejected anything less as glorified ice dancing only fit for sissy European/Russian finesse leagues. Fights were fun but much like football watching guys take repeated blows to the head now knowing they are suffering irreparable brain damage does not enhance my viewing experience.  

 

As far as intensity and rivalries, thats more a criticism of free agency in sports rather than anything specific to the NHL.  The players all know each other, they're a big fraternity.  There is no more true hatred in the NHL (or NFL, NBA) outside of everyone vs Matty Tkachuk .  

 

Totally agree with moving to an international size ice rink.  Some of the best hockey I have ever seen takes place at the Olympics.  And yes, challenges and replay have strayed from the original intention of correcting glaring wrongs to litigating millimeters and milliseconds.  I've been an advocate of smaller pads for goalies for years as well.

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