The Resurgence of “Big Boy Grilling on The Roof” American Football
Football is a dynamic sport that constantly evolves. In recent years, the NFL has witnessed a shift towards speed-focused offenses and lighter defensive personnel. However, the upcoming season presents a potential change in these trends, with a resurgence of “big boy football” on the horizon. This blog post explores the reasons behind this shift, the strategies teams may adopt, and the impact it will have on both offense and defense.
The Rise of 12 Personnel:
Over the past few seasons, offenses have showcased an increasing usage of 12 personnel, featuring two tight ends on the field. This strategic move is a response to defenses’ adaptations to the prevalent 11 personnel formations, where three wide receivers are utilized. By incorporating two tight ends, teams can challenge the defense regardless of their response. If the defense remains light, the offense can capitalize on the running game with a tight end replacing a third wide receiver. Conversely, the athleticism of modern tight ends allows offenses to maintain passing threats even with bigger defensive packages.
The Copycat Nature of the League:
The NFL possesses a copycat culture, meaning successful strategies employed by Super Bowl-winning teams often influence the rest of the league. The reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, excelled at throwing from 13 personnel (one running back, one wide receiver, three tight ends). This success has sparked interest and emulations among other teams, highlighting the potential for 13 personnel to become a prominent formation this season.
To counter the spread offenses that relied heavily on outside zone concepts, defenses began downsizing their front lines and playing light boxes. This defensive shift aimed to neutralize cutback lanes and restricted the effectiveness of play-action passing. However, as offenses adjust to defensive tactics, the cycle of football strategy continues. Teams may now opt to implement more one-gap, attacking defenses or adopt simpler defensive schemes to counter the increasing usage of gap scheme runs.
The Evolution of Defensive Linemen:
In response to the pace and space offenses, defensive linemen have slimmed down to play more snaps while prioritizing control over gap attacking. However, as offenses veer towards bigger personnel and gap scheme runs, opposing defenses are likely to field physically larger linemen to counter these tactics. Additionally, college-level trends indicate a shift towards bigger and thicker edge players who can protect smaller defensive backs targeted by offenses in the run game.
Football strategy is a cyclical process, and the resurgence of “big boy grilling on the roof” football marks a potential shift in the NFL landscape. The increased usage of 12 personnel and 13 personnel formations, along with changes in defensive strategies and the evolution of defensive linemen, indicates a return to a more physical style of play. As the upcoming season unfolds, we can expect to see exciting matchups and adaptations from both offenses and defenses as they respond to this new trend in the sport.
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