From the flying wedge to flag football

Is the run and shoot making wimps out of opposing teams’ defenses? Here’s an argument that says yes, but maybe not for the reason you might expect:

I have long felt that tackle football, especially at the NFL level, has been migrating toward 11-man flag ball. I think it may be inevitable if the game is going to continue to be a significant part of a society that has become softer and gentler, and I think that the NFL, by investing in youth flag football, understands this.

Watch a pass-only team (such as Hawaii) on offense. There often isn’t a whole lot more contact when they’re on offense than you’d see in flag ball.

Yes, receivers (and occasionally a runner) are taken to the ground, but with the exception of sacks and the occasional big hit on a helpless receiver (which, despite my dislike for receivers as a class, I would like to see outlawed), most of the time the ball carrier is tripped up, pulled to the ground, or pushed out of bounds (if he doesn’t go out of bounds voluntarily). The tackles are rarely violent, and the blocking mostly consists of holding a defender at arm’s length.

The game we’re playing now is a different one from the game I played 50 years ago when I was in college, and considering the way football has evolved from the days of the flying wedge to today’s pass-crazy game with its push-and-grab “blocking”, there is no reason to believe that the game we see today will be the same one they’ll be playing 50 years from now.

I fully expect blocking below the waist – on all plays – will be the next thing to go. Other than when backs have to pick up a blitz, it’s no longer of much use to pass-first teams, anyhow.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

3 responses to “From the flying wedge to flag football

  1. Dawg 05

    Back when real men played the game they had no use for helmets or pads. We all lined up and smashed into each other until someone broke a leg. Then we beat him nearly to death for being the biggest pansy on the field. Only those girly boys at Eastside used that fancy forward pass. They might as well have been playing in pink knee length skirts. My old ’38 team would have run all these wusses parading in pads off the field if we played today. I can only imagine what Jim “Black Tooth” Smith would have run for now that you can’t punch other players in the groin when you tackle them. Too bad he died in that tragic blimp accident during the war…


  2. “The game we’re playing now is a different one from the game I played 50 years ago when I was in college…”

    Brilliant grasp of the obvious, captain obvious.