There seems to be a shift going on right now in the NFL. It’s been going on for some time now. There have been various rules changes over the last few seasons that protect quarterbacks and wide receivers. The other development is that most of the head coaches across the league come from offensive backgrounds.
This may seem obvious but it was not always this way in the NFL. It used to be that teams could get by on excellent defense and mediocre offensive. But with the new rules in place and teams focusing more on offense, scoring points has become the most important part of the game.
The Fans Are Happy
There could be a few reasons for this shift in the NFL. It’s possible that the league truly does care about the safety of its players and is trying to protect some of the more vulnerable ones, like the quarterbacks and wide receivers. The NFL has come under fire in recent years for not putting in place rules to protect players from traumatic head injuries.
But players in practically every position in football are at risk for traumatic head injuries. It’s just the nature of the sport. Using your head is part of the game.
Another possible reason for this shift is that fans like high scoring games. Good offense in most sports is generally more exciting to watch than good defense. A game ending in a score of 7-3 might leave fans feeling like nothing happened. But a game that ends in a score of 54-51 might have fans talking about all the exciting touchdowns and field goals.
A Similar Trend In The NBA
We’ve seen a similar shift in the NBA. Rules have changed over the years to make more offense possible. We see players getting away with traveling in almost every game and more fouls are called to let players get to the free throw line. The game has also shifted in style to prioritize three-point shooting. So just like in the NFL, we see higher scoring games.
The average point total this season is at 48 points. This is the highest average since 1970 (assuming that this average doesn’t change in the remainder of the season).
Even though we like to forget it as fans, the NFL by nature has to sell itself. This means that it is not the pure sport of football but a product to be consumed by the public. This week’s Monday night game was the highest rated in four years. This is a big deal to a league that is worried about losing its fan base.
So we are likely to see more and more scoring in coming seasons in the NFL. And this means something interesting for defensive players. A good defensive tackle who can put pressure on a quarterback and make plays on the line may become more valuable. The same goes for a good cornerback who maintains good pass coverage. NFL teams might be looking to draft these one-of-a-kind star defensive players in the coming years. But if the NFL has anything to say about it, defense may always come in second.