With an exciting wildcard weekend and divisional round in the rear view mirror, the NFL conference final match ups provide a possible glimpse at the future of the NFL. The AFC Championship game will be a familiar match up as the Peyton Manning led Broncos will host Tom Brady for the two quarterback’s 15th meeting on the gridiron. In a rivalry that some say is the Magic vs. Bird of the NFL, only one of these prolific passers will advance their team to Super Bowl 48. While the AFC will be an ultimate showdown of pocket passing quarterbacks, the NFC Championship game will provide a match-up of two young quarterbacks who have the legs to back up their arms. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will host the defending NFC Champion 49ers led by Colin Kaepernick, where both team’s hope that their read option style of football and hard-nose defense will prevail.
Peyton and Tom, 37 and 36 respectively, are coming to the end of their careers but have left legacies of greatness behind them. These old guys (in football years) have traded NFL all-time records back and forth throughout their careers, with Peyton taking the All-time regular season records for passing yards, passing touchdowns, and single game passing touchdowns this past season. Tom Brady on the other hand has 3 Superbowl rings to Peyton’s one. This poses the question, why even bother with these athletic mobile quarterbacks if the traditional quarterback is successful?
With the emergence of Mike Shanahan’s Pistol read option offense last year, orchestrated by Robert Griffin III. NFL franchises took note of the rookie leading his team to wins, getting touchdowns with elusive and decisive plays. This offense was a contributing factor to the 49ers Superbowl appearance last year. The read option forces defenders to account for the quarterback as a runner, in addition to the running back (s) and full back (s), and the pass options. This causes confusion, because a defender will ultimately be left with a decision to go after the running back or the quarterback. If defenses adjust to blitz the option that leaves receivers in man to man coverage allowing for someone to get open easily for a pass. If they cover conservatively, the quarter back reads if the defenders are covering the running back (s) or him and carries out the open option. Look out for either Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick to be using this offense on Superbowl Sunday against an almost immobile Tom or Peyton.
A quarter back is the most important player on the football field because they have the most control over the game in their hands. While it’s said that defense wins championships, balance is the key in a championship contending team. The option provides an offense where teams don’t have to go after top paid players on offense to the point where their defense lacks talent. It leaves them with more money to spend on defensive talent as seen in the Seahawks and 49ers.
NFL teams undoubtedly have a decision to make when choosing a quarterback. Do they want to go with a traditional quarterback with top talent on offense or the emerging benefit of an athletic quarter back and a strong defense? Find out who wins, New School or Old School in nineteen days at Superbowl XLVIII.
Old School – http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000239069/Week-1-Peyton-Manning-highlights
New School – http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000125557/Kaepernick-56-yard-touchdown