FanPost

Rush vs. Pass: Then and Now

“The NFL is a passing league now.” That statement is accepted as truth. And, with Marino’s all-time passing yardage record being beaten this season, it’s hard to argue. But, does effective passing lead to more post-season success than effective rushing? Today, I want to explore that question, looking not only at the recent era, but comparing nowadays against a by-gone era. Put on your white coats and join me, won’t you, in the statistics laboratory.

OBJECTIVE:

Explore effective rushing vs. effective passing as they correlate to playoff and Superbowl appearances, now and then.

DEFINITION OF TERMS:

Effective rushing/ passing = Yards per attempt

Now = 2009-2011

Then = 1979-1981

PROCEDURE:

Take the top ten teams in the categories of rushing and passing effectiveness, and see if those teams made the playoffs and/or Superbowl in that season.

RESULTS:

2009-2011: Of the 36 playoff teams…

12/36 teams had top-ten effective rushing attacks…33%

19/36 teams had effective passing... 53%

2009-2011: Of the 6 Superbbowl teams…

1/6 had top-ten effective rushing17%

6/6 had top-ten effective passing100%

note: NY Giants are dead last this season in rushing yards per attempt.

-----------------

1979-1981 (An arbitrarily chosen by-gone era): Of the 30 playoff teams…

11/30 had top-ten effective rushing37%

17/30 had top-ten effective passing57%

1979-1981: Of the 6 Superbowl teams…

2/6 had top-ten effective rushing33%

4/6 had top-ten effective passing66%

CONCLUSIONS:

Passing effectiveness correlates much more strongly to playoff and Superbowl appearances than rushing. It does now, and it did even 30 years ago.

OPINION:

Recently, I wrote a fanpost about drafting a “bruiser RB.” I felt our run game wasn’t strong enough. I’m changing my tune. Now, I think we need to concentrate fully on the pass game this off-season. The spread offense suddenly seems less distasteful, assuming we can get more yards per attempt (i.e., fewer 5-yard slants and INTs). In the draft I hope to see two new WRs, another LT, possibly a Center, and if Buddy Nix thinks there’s a potentially great QB, then I’m OK with that, too (although I still think Fitzpatrick can be effective). Your thoughts?

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.

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