“Offense sells tickets…Defense wins football games.”- Bud Grant, former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.
I think the 55th Super Bowl confirmed Bud Grant’s statement. In my opinion, this was one of the better Super Bowls in the last 10 years. It was entertaining, and it was hard fought on both sides. Both teams were the best in their respective divisions.
The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are the poster child for football in the modern era. They throw the ball all over the field, a quarterback that can throw and run the ball, they have outstanding speed at the receiver position, one of the best Tight Ends in football, and they have just enough running ability to keep defenses honest.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a little more old school. They have a “pocket passer” with little mobility, a run-the-ball mentality, plus, as Head Coach Bruce Ariens says, a “no risk it, no biscuit” passing mentality. They have a very good offensive line that plays with a little bit of a mean streak. Their defense has improved every game since they played Kansas City in October. Their Defensive line, especially at defensive end, is one of the best, plus their linebacking corp is pretty darn good!
Both teams deserved to be in the Super Bowl. Nobody deserved the half-time show! In my humble opinion, the little bit I watched was God-awful! I switched channels, enough of that.
I noticed that both teams took a little while to get started, but the telling point for me was when Kansas City had to settle for a field goal instead of touchdown in the first quarter, and the penalties by their secondary.
Penalties on defense will kill you! I also noticed that the receivers and Patrick Mahomes were not quite in sync. The running game was virtually non-existent except for the quarterback. Since I am old school football too, I thought that was a bad sign for Kansas City, especially when I noticed how much more effective the Buccaneers were at running the ball. (KC-17 attempts, 107 yards TB-33 attempts 145 yards). Remember though, most of those yards for KC came from quarterback scrambles.
The KC offense, which has been able to do what they wanted, was totally stymied by a defense that to me didn’t seem intimidated at all. They put a lot of pressure on Patrick Mahomes, smothered the receivers, and made the running game non-existent. Defense wins football games……Super Bowl 55 proved it.
I have been involved with football for over 50 years. I am a total fan, and I understand the game and most of its intricacies. In my years of involvement with this most American of games, I have learned a few things that will never change in the game.
So, if I may, let me give those of you who are casual observers of the game some of what I have learned: If you can run the football, you are never out of the game. If you can stop the run, you make the other team one dimensional and easier to defend.
No matter how sophisticated an offense or defense is, if you can block and tackle you will win. Nothing is more disheartening to a team when the other team lines up, hits you in the mouth for 4 quarters, and there is NOTHING you can do about it. (That means they just line up, run it 3 to 7 yards at a time, over and over again and you can’t stop them.)
Finally, the team that prepares and practices better usually wins. There are no shortcuts.
Football is a great game. It is fast, exciting and its fan loyalty is off the charts. Super Bowls are the culmination of a long, hard, season full of extreme thrills, unbelievable plays, and disheartening injuries. I love the game and what it stands for: teamwork, sacrifice, hard work, study, and preparation. For all of that, it really is a simple game; Block, tackle, prepare, and minimize mistakes.
“OFFENSE SELLS TICKETS, DEFENSE WINS FOOTBALL GAMES”……maybe Bud Grant was on to something! That’s the way I see it from the sidelines.
Contributing columnist Mike Stegall a 27 year former OHSAA high school football official and current Darke County Commissioner