The Super Bowl showed us once again that a great defense can defeat a great offense when the chips are down.
The NFL has followed college's lead and infused more offense into its game. Experts will say it has to do with rules, but I also believe it’s the development of the skilled players in college as well. The speed of offensive players has never been better or more daunting. Combine that with open offensive systems, great quarterbacks and the rule changes and boom, you have exciting offense.
On Sunday the team with the better athletes won the game. Seattle's defensive backs were much better than Denver's receivers. Throw in a fast past rush and you can see why the Seahawks are Super Bowl champions.
Great defense today is more about athletes than it is scheme. There was no Buddy Ryan "46" defense confusing Peyton Manning on Sunday, just better players. Great defense still reigns supreme, even in an era of record setting offenses.
Take my point about defense and relate it to the college game.
The SEC won seven straight BCS titles with six of its champions holding a top 10 defensive unit. Auburn was the exception in 2010 against Oregon, but the Ducks were not an elite defense and the Tigers had the best college defensive player in Nick Fairley.
This year's BCS champion Florida State was built like an SEC team with a top five defense in every major category. Its third-quarter performance was the deciding difference in the Seminoles win over college's best rushing attack. As a matter of fact had Auburn won the game it would have been its defense that deserved the headlines for containing Heisman winner Jameis Winston. However a special-teams touchdown and game-winning drive erased four quarters of great work put in by Dee Ford and his unit.
Next year great defense will be even more important as teams will have to win two quality games to take home a national championship.
This and that
- AJ McCarron intimated during an interview for Super Bowl week that he may not throw at the combine. Some believe he is still banged up from a long season, but I don't. In my opinion today's top quarterback prospects flourish better in a controlled environment on their own campus. This is done in a familiar setting with receivers who worked with the quarterback in college. The scouts can also request specific routes or footwork they want to see him perform. In all, it’s a better situation for both sides, especially with the high profile career McCarron has had.
- I think recruiting sites and experts are getting better and better at locating and rating the top prospect in the country. College coaches have helped with this process as more and more guys give their feedback to each sites analyst. The last four all ended up in the SEC. Robert Nkemediche at Ole Miss, Dorial Green-Beckham with Missouri, Jadeveon Clowney at South Carolina and Ronald Powell at Florida. Only Powell didn't get the return on the expert’s investment due to two major ACL injuries. He is still expected to be drafted in the mid rounds in May at the NFL draft.
- Two SEC players garnered the rookie of the year awards in the NFL. Eddie Lacy for the NFC’s Green Bay Packers and Sheldon Richardson for the AFC’s New York Jets. Lacy had 1,118 yards rushing for Green Bay and showcased the durability and ball security the Packers were looking for when they took him with the 61st pick in the draft. Sheldon Richardson was a force for the Jets defense, having 77 tackles and 3.5 sacks after being selected in the first round.