We now are living in a society that can process data millions and trillions of times faster than just a few generations ago.
Medical, scientific, or even manufacturing capabilities are now using one person or a few to do the work of dozens and hundreds of people, only 25 years ago.
The NFL has made changes along with the rest of the world. In most recent times, adding an excitement factor to the game is a priority. Out for quite some time now, the game of a 50/50 run to pass ratio, and in comes the 70/30 game.
While the league has changed its pass receiving rules, in essence making a circus show out of a catch today, it has also tried to open up the game, to make for scoring higher points, which they claim will add excitement.
The sad thing, however, is what made the NFL as great of a pastime as it has grown into; will now be gone. Chess matches between coaches have all been reworked, changed, and reworked and changed again. The rules have changed, and in many cases a team or coach can claim responsibility for a change. It’s a new chess match along with these changes.
But is change for the sake of change a good thing?
It has gotten to a point where such a thing as James Jones making a beautiful catch last Friday night for the Oakland Raiders, changed hands with the ball while falling to the ground with one knee, two knees down, which came after one foot touched inbounds in the end zone.
Jones reacted while coming down as a smart receiver would, moving the ball away from a chance to have the ground cause a fumble (change sides) as he slid off the defender bringing in a two-handed catch (start to finish) that was a touchdown.
NFL reviews will give that one back to Jones as a mistake that cannot be changed, so being a real beauty or not.
No matter now, the bottom line is the NFL is the most popular spectator sport in the U.S., and will stay that way for a while. They have to bring the catch back to catching the football. Not to be critical, but the pass catching rules as they are now stink.
To make things easy go back to the rule book of 10 years ago and leave it there: do not touch them again. A good catch is a good catch. Moving the ball with two hands on it, from start to finish (never bobbled) is not an incomplete pass, as Jones was robbed that night. This needs to change and needs it now, in my book or any book that values fairness and talents well done.
Change for the sake of change
Remember when the NFL began its campaign on “parity” back in the 1980s? Let’s take a look at just what the word means, and how that worked out. Google defines parity as: “the state or condition of being equal.l” That sounds like what the NFL had attempted to begin back then when the league had gone through a few decades of seeing two or three teams on the top year after year.
That’s an unhealthy condition.
You can bet your bottom dollar it is just not fair.
Changes were made in time to allow all teams to have a talented team that is not bound by profits. The move was on for a socialistic NFL, that in time did some good, and did see a variety of teams taking the Super Bowl ring home.
Now we see some of the same teams winning on merit, planning, and new inventive built within the boundaries of free agency and the draft. Then there is L U C K that cannot be bought or drafted.
In time, the teams developed new methods of developing a better talent pool despite having less cash to throw around as a lure aimed at the best college talents or free agents. Things did not unravel. Rather, the NFL rules that were enacted had been in place and working.
Teams had to develop new strategies and methods to bait and hook the best players, even going as far as having them play for less money than other teams could pay out to juggle the rules. There’s only one or two reasons a player would stick with a team for less money. If they had a chance to be a starter and if the team was in place to win or go deep in the playoffs.
One such team, which prior to the new bylaws of the 80s, had problems fielding teams that could be a contender was the publicly owned Green Bay Packers.
They had been started with local businessmen all kicking in money to field a team in Green Bay, which later turned into one of the fans-favorite NFL teams. Before the NFL, most teams were locally owned and traveled around a region of the country. For example Midwestern teams, or southeastern teams were banded together in small divisions. It was not until the NFL came around signing up as many teams they could get to play around the entire country. In time, the smaller teams folded, but a few continued on. One of the least profitable were the Green Bay Packers.
The money was divided more evenly after that point in NFL history, allowing the Packers to not only continue, but thrive if only they could draw the talent they needed.
It took a quarter century, but the genius of Ron Wolf’s talent-finding capabilities was one of the best when he came to town for the Packers. In time, the team was winning it all. Some coaches and scouting departments were more successful than others, and along with larger stadiums, drawing bigger crowds, meant bigger profits.
All in all, that meant the fortunate could lure in better talent. Other teams broke down due to bad moves that wasted money on players who took their pay but did not do work as well as promised. The bottom line once again was that teams were trying to stack their roster with the best players in the league.
As the NFL’s changes were made, some teams began to crumble. Others viewed the rule changes as opportunity.
In Green Bay, it was time to bring in some new blood. An end of an era was upon the team in the early 1990s for team leader Bob Harlan, the longtime team president of the Packers. He was ready for retirement. From that point on we have seen new faces one after another, all successful. A bad season now means going 8-8, such as Ray Rhodes‘ first year. He was let go after that one .500 season.
Following Mike Holmgren as head coach was a tough act. The success that followed Green Bay beyond Ron Wolf and Holmgren’s administration was by design. Ron Wolf was the most successful talent scout in the NFL, and he had taken a hand in forming the moves for Green Bay during the Super Bowl appearances of the 1990s.
Wolf returned to Green Bay after going home to California, as a mentor to Ted Thompson. Thompson must have absorbed something, because draft after draft, he has built and rebuilt team after team which were all contenders. Even through injuries and some of the thin years when things didn’t pan out as well, the Packers remained competitive.
Mike McCarthy has remained with the team as head coach going into his ninth season. Things were done well over the past 22 years for the Packers, having two losing seasons, which were after drastic changes in quarterbacks or head coaches.
Looking at the New England franchise, the Denver team, seemingly on top of things year after year, along with Green Bay, things have remained strong, on average much more than any average NFL team over those 22 years. The reason is not the money teams can throw out for bait the best players. We see that still going on in Dallas, where year after year over the past two decades the team has fielded only a few truly remarkable seasons. Green Bay has been successful through a different means, the appeal of being a Packer and that alone.
On the other hand, Green Bay has had disappointing years – such as 2013 – but were still able to gain a playoff appearance.
So, the next logical step is talent, plain and simple, starting at the top, winding together down to the Gatorade boy.
The last part of the last sentence is the most important: “Woven together” – it makes for strength. On the other side, losing teams might have spent more money, but a dictator type style on top, with stringent following down the line can’t build strength like a fine woven team.
Over the test of time, the Patriots and Broncos have done the same thing. A tight knit unit, as a whole working together, by design to do what is best for the team, while keeping the human element that gives players a sense of worth, so that they can make adjustments toward one goal: winning.
They are all winners, coming from winning ways, on winning teams, doing the things it takes to pay the cost, once again, to be a winner.
This story will continue; The Green Bay Packers are still winning, from top to bottom, as a team bound to go for the Lombardi Trophy a few more times before their winning history comes to an end.
And before they depart, they will usher in a few more talented leaders ready to intertwine those talents together as a continuation of the Green Bay Packers tradition.
After all, it’s written in stone up in Green Bay, “Titletown USA”