I was reading an interview with Trent (I won a Super Bowl and turned it into a gig on national tv) Dilfer. The link was in yesterday's Horse Tracks, here it is again.
Trent referenced the mid-80s in the article, and it got me thinking... When change happens (like it did in the late 80s), when do we, the masses, see it happen...
In the 80s Tebow would have been a pretty proto-typical QB. Big, strong, slow release, but tough to bring down. When the 49ers started introducing the West Coast offence to the world the QB everyone wanted started to change. This change didn't happen overnight, but by the time 2000 rolled around, the NFL was a pass first league. The pass is now used to open up the run. WR screens, and a whole assortment of timing-based plays are practiced and executed each week.
The current proto-type for a qb is the 6-5 strong arm, accurate, 40+ wonderlic drop back, play action, pocket passer. Brady, Manning (s), Rivers, Cutler, Bradford, Stafford, Rodgers, etc. Offenses are designed with these QBs in mind. Defences are also designed to stop these players. 3-4 Defenses are become the standard base d in the league, using outside LBs (usually converted college DE) to get pressure on the QB from multiple angles. In today's NFL, 3 starting CBs are almost a necessity, whereas 10 years ago a team could compete in the playoffs with a pair of solid, perhaps not even spectacular CBs.
But what will the future bring? In 20 years, what will the proto-type QB look like? Will it still be the current, timing based beast? Or will the NFL evolve, and continue to change? The goal will remain the same, move the ball and score touchdowns! But everything else will evolve. Change is the only constant.
In 2030, when we all look back, there will be a team that started the evolution, a 49ers of the 21st century. Which team will that be? (I know that Josh McD thought it would be his team that led the change, but that's a whole other story.) At first, change is barely perceptible. Those witnessing it first hand might not even realize that they are seeing a revolutionary change to the game. The 49ers won Superbowls, and in this copycat league, if a team doesn't win the big game, their ideas aren't copied. But at some point, a team will emerge victorious not by copying the Packers or the Pats, but by forging a new trail.
Tebow is not a proto-typical 2011 NFL QB, that is probably the ONLY thing that everyone can agree on. The question I want to see answered is whether he is the start of something new, a new way to attack NFL defense that have moved to multi-WR sets, 5 or 6 DBs, 3-4 LBs, and at times, only one DL... Can a Tebow run over a DB in college? Easily. Can he run over a DB in the NFL? Possibly... Will Tebow be the start of a change in the game, or will he become another failed Heisman winner who ran a non-NFL offense in college and couldn't adapt to become an NFL QB? Are we about to witness a new era in the NFL???
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to find out...