You remember the epic and mind-bending struggle between "The Roadrunner" and our sympathetic antihero, Wile E. Coyote. No matter the scheme, no matter how clever the plan, no matter the insight into all the details - he never won. Whether it was an Acme anvil, piano, or some other ridiculous object falling out of the sky to foil his plans, he always fell short - or he fell off a cliff. God bless his soul because that sure seems to be the current zeitgeist of the Dolphins football team, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. If Wile E. Coyote taught us anything, it's that smarts are important, and so is running.
The NFL is pass-happy, right? Ehhh, not so much. Well, not comparatively speaking. 9 of the past 11 single-season passing attempts records have been broken in the last 4 years. Care to guess what the most "pass-happy" season was in NFL history? 1995. In fact, during the 1994-1996 NFL seasons, teams threw 56.4% of all offensive plays. In the 2009-2011 NFL seasons, teams threw 56.8% of all offensive plays. So when you hear someone say, "the NFL is now a pass-happy league", ask them where they were 20 years ago. The pass-happiness of the NFL hasn't changed much in 20 years, so it's a misnomer that the NFL's offensive landscape has changed much. It may look different (WR screens, option routes, and the proliferation of the athletic TE), but the NFL is throwing the ball no more than it did 20 years ago.
I took a look at every Super Bowl champion since 1966 to decipher what their run/pass balance was. This statistic is highly reliable since it takes into account the variance of the NFL's play-calling. In other words, these statistics take into account the Super Bowl winning team in comparison to the other NFL teams of that year, adjusting to local trends. With the pedestal that the passing game has been put on, you would expect Super Bowl-winning teams to favor the pass (and be productive doing so). Since 1966, the Super Bowl champion has ranked in the top 10 in pass ratio 3 times: 1970 Baltimore Colts, 2002Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the 2011 New York Giants. In 47 years, the winning team in the NFL has been in the top 10 in pass ratio 3 times. I thought it was worth repeating.
The run ratio, you ask? Of all the Super Bowl winning teams, TWENTY-EIGHT teams finished in the top 10 in run ratio. 28 of a possible 47 Super Bowl champions finished in the top 10 in run ratio. Almost 60%. Now it's worth mentioning that teams who have leads, like Super Bowl-winning teams, rely on the run game to drown the clock and protect the lead. An effective run game can milk precious time off the clock to prevent teams from airing it out and making comebacks. Conversely, teams that have to pass an overwhelming amount are probably playing from behind and trying to put points on the board. But, I got to thinking, does that really explain why it's 28-to-3? And if we take a more "modern" sample size, say, the last 15 years, it's still 8-to-2 in favor of the run ratio. 12 of the 16 teams of the past 16 Super Bowl champions had a statistically higher run-to-pass ratio (not meaning they ran more, but in comparison to other NFL teams they ran more), regardless of being in the top 10. Seattle was #2 in 2013.
Enter the frickin' Lazor and now I'm envisioning a system where we can represent this ideal of Super Bowl winning teams. Nick Foles had an incredible season and much was made of the efficiency of the passing game - and rightly so, and Lazor was a direct result of it. But when you look at the numbers, Lazor will know how to run the ball by being in the meetings with the offensive personnel and coaching staff. It's a bit easier when you have LeSean McCoy (mild understatement), but Philadelphia could have certainly leaned on the passing game if they were so inclined. Philadelphia ranked #1 in rushing yardage and #4 in rushing attempts. Welllll, they ran a fast-paced offense so that doesn't mean much...
Philadelphia was ranked 27th in passing attempts.
Lazor will find a way to improve this running game, and in doing so, will catapult the team into the conversation of Super Bowl winning teams.
That will never happen The chances are bleak, but at least we give our offense a chance to find an identity, create some clear goals, and establish an attitude of toughness. We've already improved the OL coaching staff. Yes, there are some legit offensive WR's and TE's who might be available at #19; the OL is a volatile situation at the current stature. But if I'm a new GM like Dennis Hickey, I'm finding a way to run the ball, by any means necessary. And isn't that kind of, well, progressive in this day and age? In a media-driven information cycle and a collection of "experts" regurgitating how important passing the ball is, don't forget that Super Bowl winning teams run the ball. Play a game in Buffalo, New York, or New England in the winter with or without the Playoffs on the line and tell me that running the ball isn't important. How do we fix our offense? We find a way to run the ball on a consistent basis.
How do we accomplish this goal fellow Finatics? Take care everyone, Fins Up!