Sunday, December 31, 2023

Ranking the NFL by decades - 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000, and 2010s

 Which decade has been the best for the NFL for the last 50 years. There are a variety of factors that go into play - Great Games, Great Entertainment, Great Players, Great Feats, Charismatic events and individuals.

5. The 1990s

It is hard to call the NFL boring but this decade compare to the others. 

* The biggest factor was a decrease in offense in 1983 and 1984  there were 19.35 first downs a game by 1991 and 1992 there were 17.55  first downs a game.

* While there was a couple of good Super Bowls - 1990 season (Giants and Bills) and 1999 season (Rams and Titans), this era seems to lack the big interesting games. 

*The Buffalo Bills going to 4 straight Super Bowls did not help.

*While Dallas and San Francisco meet 3 years in a row for the NFC Championship games there was only 1 lead change in all the games.

*The Dallas Cowboys were the team of the decade but the were not as dominating as the 60s Packers, 70s Steelers or 80s 49ers.

*Barry Sanders did provide much excitement did provide much excitement but he did start in the 1980s and John Elway finally did get his Super Bowls and helicopter Touchdown.

4. 2000s

*First downs were up - 2006 and 2007 (18.5) but lower than the 1980s.

*The emergence of Tom Brady who made the game more interesting but  New England Patriots were like the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA.

*Emmett Smith breaks Walter Payton's rushing record but it does not seem to have the effect of Payton breaking Jim Browns record in the 1980s.

*The emergence of a great run of  quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Brady, Drew Brees, Philip River, Eli Manning, Big Ben, Aaron Rodgers,

*The Super Bowls did get better (Every Super Bowl involving the Patriots was good) but there were still some clunkers 2000, 2002, 2006 seasons.

3. 1970s

*Moving in the hashmarks created dominant running games with OJ Simpson, Larry Csonka, Franco Harris, Tony Dorsett, Walter Payton, John Riggins was the pinnacle of the running back dominance.

*Implementation of overtime 1974

*1978 - rule changes opening up the passing game and the 16 game schedule

* Monday Night Football, the Perfect Season of the 1972 Dolphins, The Super Steelers. Super Bowl 10 and 13 - The Steelers vs. Cowboys. The greatest matchup, The Oakland Raiders dominance.

*The immaculate reception (voted greatest single play in NFL history.

2. 2010s

*2016 and 2017 - 1st down average 19.80 - 1st downs per team highest ever.

*For the first 20-30 years in the NFL playoffs teams falling behind by 10 points would only come back 5 percent of the time but this decade was 20 percent of the time. Perfect example was New England and Baltimore in the 2014 playoff game. New England was down 14-0 and 28-14 but would win 35-31. 

*Tom Brady getting 3 more rings and producing great Super Bowl games.

*Instant reply cemented into society - making office cooler talk. 

*Through 2019 - 8 of the 10 all time TD pass leader played during this decade except (Marino and Tarkenton,

1. 1980s

*1981 - probably the single most important year in NFL history. The game you see today spurred from that year. It was the emergence of the modern offense (Bill Walsh), Joe Montana (Joe Cool, the Joe DiMaggio of QBs). The cementing of the Dominance of African American players in the game. The rookie years of Lawrence Taylor, Mike Singletary and Ronnie Lott brought incredible speed and Athleticism to the game. African Americans would begin the dominance of all defensive positions plus running back and wide receiver.

*1984, Dan Marino's 48 TD passes, Eric Dickerson 2105 rushing yards, Art Monk 106 receptions, All NFL marks at the time.

*While the Super Bowls were terrible, there were Super Teams The San Francisco 49ers, 1985 Bears (Super Bowl Shuffle), 1983 Raiders

*The Kellen Winslow playoff game

*Payton passing Jim Brown, Steve Largent passing Charley Taylor for Receptions, Jerry Rice emergence and 22 TDs in 12 games in 1987. 

*The use of the Networks to break into games and give scoring updates.

*There was no doubt by the 1980s that Football surpassed baseball as the national pastime. 

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