In response to russgriswold's comment:
In response to zbellino's comment:
In response to russgriswold's comment:
Did you just compare the 1930 era of the NFL to 2013 when every single facet of the game favors the QB and offenses to score points for bigger ratings?
Did you, ZBellino?
Well Rusty, considering the foward pass was half illegal in 1930 an the ball was still practically round, I don't think I was.
1.) But rankings are still rankings. A top 20% ranking on defense is as good as a top 20% is now. It doesn't matter what the score looks like.
Rankings are rankings because they rate you against your opponents whether the average team is scoring 200 points a season or 1000 points a season ... a bottom 30% defense is bad.
If you are bottom 10 now in PPD, and you were bottom 3 in 1930, your defense basically stunk, whether it is 1930 or 2012. You are bad. Bottom of the league.
Hence the point of ranking teams.
2.) Rankings and averages effect all teams equally. In 2003-2006 the Patriots defense gave up an average of about 15 points per game ... in 2012 the Seattle Seahawks ALSO gave up an average of about 15 points per game while since 2009 New England gives up about 21 ppg.
The league wide scoring differential between those two selections is 1 point. Not the 6 New England is giving up.
It's not because teams can't only allow about 15 points per game, Seattle and San Fran did it last season, The Steelers and San Fran did it the year before, the Packers and Steelers did it the year before that, the Ravens have allow 15-17 points per game for all of those seasons save 2012 when they played most of the year without Ray Lewis.
Just because New England's defense has slipped ... doesn't mean it's impossible to prevent points. Many teams still play highly effective defense ... and New England's dimished defense is not an artifact of the rules, but an outcome of relative talent on defense.
3.) Lastly .... NFL teams aren't scoring more now than historically when we adjust for major rule changes that alter the game. Yes, the adoption of the forward pass was tremendous for scoring, as was the adoption of the 6 point touchdown, or the switch to the spiraling ovoid shaped footballs, etc.
But modern football scoring has been about the same for about 60-65 seasons. In the 1950s the average teams scored about 22 points per game ... which is the same score that averaged in the last decade. In fact the span from the mid to late 40s through the 1960s was possibly a better scoring era than we are in now.
Minor, 3-5 point shifts in points scored have happened on an up and down basis since the inception of modern football in the NFL.
The most recent rule changes have done very little, relatively speaking.
So please desist from backing a claim with something that isn't factual.
Yes, the NFL put a point of emphasis on the five yard chuck rule since 2005, that's a fact ... but your claim that it's had dramatic effect on scoring is fiction. It's had a nominal effect (~1 point per game) on overall league scoring if any at all, as one point could just be attributable to the ebb and flow of league talent.
All in all ... your point is pretty hollow. If you want to back your argument ... I'd bring up something that holds water a bit better than "defenses have it tougher now."
It's just not good defense ... it's not rule changes because everyone would be playing worse defense, not just NE.
Except our D has been middle of the road in points allowed the last 3 years. It hasn't stunk at all.
It's not elite, but it hasn't stunk. You don't get to play in SBs with a bad defense. Just doesn't happen.
Giants 2011 D was a mere 4 slots ranked above ours in yards allowed. That's literally the difference of 150 yards or something. Did the Giants D "stink"?
YOU please desist from pretending yards allowed is how you would really rank a defense's quality.
I didn't say NE's defense was last during the regular season, Russ.
Those were hypotheticals ... I could have just as easily said top 10/top 3, the point was that rankings exist across eras ... if you are 5th out of 100 in 1890 and you are 5th out of 100 in 2025 ... you are equally "better" than your opponents.
You are right ... NE's scoring defense is middle of the pack the last few seasons.
That's a sea-change from the stretch from 2003-2006 when they were top 3 every season.
My point is that NE's whole team isn't good enough right now. That's my 2 cents.
Those early 2000's team would beat this team.
Also, although I was not referring to them .... yards ... do ... matter. Except in big play scenarios ... yards = first downs which = lost TOP for your offense, lost drives for your offense, or worse field position for your offense.
While points are the most important barometer of a defense.... yards are the second most important because they tell you how well the defense is doing at maintaining field position battles and at getting the ball back to the offense in a timely manner.
The "yards don't matter" mantra is an old hat ... it's reductive, and overlooks a whole lot about how football is actually played.
Lastly ... the Giants' defense when healthy is a whole lot better than NE's. It's not really even close.
Their pass rush has basically been the story about their two superbowl runs ... shutting Atlanta out, holding GB to 17 points and 20 points through OT in both games. Holding SF to 17 points. Yeah, holding NE to 17. These are elite offenses they were shutting down out there. These are top ten and top five offenses we are talking about.
If you think NE's defense could do that... you would have to show me the games against the elite offenses, like the SF's, the Green Bays, the New Orleans, etc, that New England has held them even under 24 points. If there are any ... they are exceptions and not the rule.
The last time NE played Green Bay they gave up 27 points to a backup ... the last time they played Sf they gave up 41. New Orleans? 38.
They don't ... they usually get beat up, giving over 30 or 40 points up.
Giants' defensive stats in the regular season are absolutely meaningless, when they get healthy and heat up ... and pitch winning ball like that ... they are an amazing defense.
NE couldn't do that. Not without another star player or two.