From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog

Monday, May 10, 2004

Of Arena Football and its impact on the pros

So on Sunday, I had the good fortune to attend an Austin Wranglers Arena Football game with the distinguished 1759 Society of Austin. A good time was had by all.

My question, for those familiar with the game is this: Do you think the advent of Arena Football combined with the change in offensive philosophies has led to a more "video game" like professional product?

If you've never seen an Arena game before, a running game is almost secondary. The leading rusher in the AFL through 15 weeks has a sum total of 276 yards. There was a fair amount of ballyhoo when Kurt Warner, a former AFL quarterback, took the Rams to the Super Bowl twice, winning once. He was to be the prototype for the future NFL QB, making quick decisions and getting the ball out fast before defenses could converge on him.

Combine that with the fact teams don't seem to feel like picking up a "stud" running back is as much a priority draft wise anymore, that a successful running back can be created from a late draft pick (see the Broncos of the last several seasons), and that teams don't need a strong running game as much anymore to win (see Patriots of last season, Raiders of the year before, and Eagles of the last few years) and to me it seems to be adding up to the decline of the running game overall.

The resulting product seems to more closely resemble products out of the Madden football games for the various game consoles. Lots of dink and dunk passing combined with a few runs, and then stabs downfield for the big knockout blow. That is more like what I do on my PS2 than what George Halas envisioned anytime in his career.

Just something to think about.