OPINION: Why Tom Brady Makes No Sense On Current State Of NFL
The most important skill in pro football is to adapt. There’s a reason why Bill Belichick has remained one of the NFL’s best coaches for the last 18 years. But the comments of his quarterback, Tom Brady, seem downright idiotic.
In an interview last week, Brady said “Today’s NFL is glorified college football.” There’s a hint of truth in that statement. But there’s nothing wrong with the state of the NFL today. Coaches should do everything they can to win. The adaptation of college offenses makes perfect sense.
As the NFL moves more towards speed and high-scoring offenses, it finds that college-style offenses are more suited for it. From the front office perspective, it allows you to start rookie quarterbacks sooner. They don’t take as long to figure out complicated offenses. This lets you get more value for a roster spot before you have to deal out contracts that are one-sixth of the salary cap. Those contracts kill your ability to build teams. Without adapting to these changes, coaches would have nothing to work with.
The caricature of the angry, screaming coach might still be true. But the idea of a coach who refuses to change is long gone, or at least on its way out, minus Dallas.
Look at the I formation, where a running back and a fullback are on the field directly behind the quarterback. The 2000’s Seattle Seahawks ran plays with their quarterback under center close to 100 percent of the time. The Seahawks that went to two consecutive Super Bowls featured a mobile quarterback who worked out of the shotgun and scrambled.
In 2010, teams ran formations with three receivers 20% more than they did sets with two running backs. By 2016, with rules that favored offense and protecting receivers now implemented, they ran three-receiver formations 43.5% more than two-back formations.
And adaption shouldn’t just be formation-based. One of the most successful adaptions was the 2011 New England offense. Belichick ran formations with two tight ends frequently. But he let his tight ends break the mold of being stone-handed blockers who could catch the ball at the goal line. Instead, he built an offense based around them, having them stretch the field vertically, block, and even act as running backs at times.
Coaches shouldn’t be stuck in a mindset. They should work with their personnel.
There’s an old Bum Phillips quote about Bear Bryant. He said the same thing about Don Shula too. It goes “He can take his team and beat yours, and then he can turn around and take your team and beat his.”
I’m clueless as to why every coaching philosophy isn’t based on that quote. There’s only so many players in the league. Rather than focusing on getting players who fit your team, why not make the best team you can with what you have? There were seven coaching jobs open last season. There looks to be another seven this one. There’s no time to get who you want. You have to get what you want with who you have.