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SteelTorch
08-24-2010, 08:36 PM
Since the 70's, Steeler football has been equated by a dominating ground game and an equally dominant run defense. Now in 2010, we hear a lot of people clamoring for a return of the ground game after a poor 2009 season. In short, people want to see a return to the days of smash-mouth football.

However, the league now is very different than what it was in the 70's.

In 2009, the top ten teams in rushing yards had a combined winning percentage of .544. Teams that ranked in the top 10 in passing yards, however, had a combined winning percentage of .706! This includes the Superbowl-winning Saints, by the way.
I also looked at efficiency (YPA). The teams that ran the most efficiently had a combined win percentage of .512. The most efficient passing teams achieved a .694 percentage (again including the Saints). The difference was even more profound this time. To be fair, the Saints also ranked in the top-ten in both rushing categories. But if you look it up, the best passing teams in history tend to be more successful in wins and trophies than the best rushing teams.

HOWEVER, when one looks at defense,

The teams that surrendered the fewest rushing yards had a winning percentage of .619. The ones that surrendered the fewest passing yards achieved only .456. Way lower.
For efficiency, they were roughly the same. The ones that allowed the fewest yards per rush attempt combined for .575. For passing, the teams combined for .600. (The Saints weren't in the top 10 for any category here).

Now, I know there are other factors at work here - the level of competition and the other side of the ball. For example, the Buccaneers had a good pass defense, but their offense was incredibly inept. Plus, these stats are from just one season. However, the numbers are eye-opening, and it makes one wonder how important running the ball is these days - and whether or not the Steelers should return to "Steeler football".

RuthlessBurgher
08-24-2010, 08:43 PM
"Steeler football" = doing what it takes to win. We were a predominantly running team throughout the 80's and 90's. How many championships did it get us during those two decades? We finally get a franchise QB, and we are champions once again. If we are champions, then we are playing Steeler football. No matter what it looks like.

Oviedo
08-24-2010, 09:12 PM
Then great misconception is that Steelers football is running the ball. Well kids guess what that doesn't win championships in a league where all the recent rule changes have been made to increase scoring and benefit the passing game.

Teams without "franchise" QBs do not win championships and are for the most part bottom feeders for a reason...no passing game equals loser. For everyone who wishes for a return to the glory days of old remember we didn't win a championship until we started competing through the air.

NorthCoast
08-24-2010, 09:40 PM
Hmmm...interesting stats. The key is successful runs when they have to be. We had way too may 3rd and shorts that came up empty. So while some teams might run wild between the 20s it doesn't help the cause when redzone running sucks. That's where I am hoping Redman and the OL can make some improvements.

Steel Life
08-24-2010, 10:51 PM
The simple answer is no - these things are cyclical & there's more balance than you give credit to...Tampa won with a dominating defense & an efficient offense, the same goes for the Giants...Baltimore won with dominating defense & a punishing ground game...the Steelers were hardly a passing powerhouse for XL & were a great defense that year with opportunistic offense.

DukieBoy
08-24-2010, 11:46 PM
It's about the rules changes in support of the passing game. Mel Blount could jam, play bump and run all over the field as long as the ball wasn't in the air. Those were great days, no NBA football then.

Glad we have a real QB in today's NFL. Love the no huddle fast-break football with Ben running the show.

Crash
08-25-2010, 12:33 AM
Obsolete. It's a passing league, it's a QB league.

How many good rushing teams and defense did we have from 1983-2003?

How many rings?

Get Ben? Two rings.

Here's another, in the first decade of Bill Cowher football, the Steelers had 9 teams in the top 10 in rushing, and only one team in the top 10 in passing,.

The top 10 passing team? Won the AFC.

Crash
08-25-2010, 12:34 AM
Tampa won with a dominating defense & an efficient offense

Brad Johnson was the NFC's leading passer. Their offensive numbers tanked when he didn't play for three games when he was hurt.

skyhawk
08-25-2010, 02:43 AM
Obsolete. It's a passing league, it's a QB league.

How many good rushing teams and defense did we have from 1983-2003?

How many rings?

Get Ben? Two rings.

Here's another, in the first decade of Bill Cowher football, the Steelers had 9 teams in the top 10 in rushing, and only one team in the top 10 in passing,.

The top 10 passing team? Won the AFC.

Yep. Neil O'Donnell.

And let's remember the Steelers started that season 3-4 trying to run the ball. It wasn't until (Erhardt?) started spreading it out did the Steelers become true contenders (even with a dominant Defense and one of the best Oline's in football that year (1995).

Captain Lemming
08-25-2010, 03:13 AM
People confuse "prolific" passing and "effective" passing.

Balance is key.

The reason why we did not win before Ben is not because we didnt pass a lot. Ben is the difference because he is an elite QB, which we did not have. Quality, not quantity is the change.

Bens least attempts was his first SB victory.
Bens second lowest attempts was his rookie season with his best career regular season losing to the Cheatriots dynasty.
Bens third lowest attempts was SB number 2.

Bens two most pass happy seasons are the only two that we missed the playoffs altogether.

Let me add the following:
Tommy Maddox
Neil O'Donnell (twice)
Kordell Stewart (three times)
Mark Malone

Had more "attempts" than Ben did in either championship season.

Furthermore, what happened to the Pats once they got pass happy? No more championships.

Brady has a SEASON FOR THE AGES and loses to a balanced Giants team.

Peyton the most prolific passer ever won his ONE championship during the only season when his run game and defense showed up.

People forget Peyton struggled mightily in those playoffs and had TWO RBs tearing it up , and his defense was solid. (BTW Peyton remains chocker supreme, and will NEVER be as clutch as Ben).

People say "well look at last year".

The great QBs had success as they usually do. They ALL passed a lot.

The reason the Jets were limited wasnt the run pass ratio. It is that rookie Mark Sanchez wasnt very good. Put Ben on that team dont change the play calling at all and the Jets contend for a title right now.

Captain Lemming
08-25-2010, 03:26 AM
Tampa won with a dominating defense & an efficient offense

Brad Johnson was the NFC's leading passer. Their offensive numbers tanked when he didn't play for three games when he was hurt.

Actually, Efficient is EXACTLY what Brad was. They were not prolific, Brad was "effective" thus a high QB rating.

Who was mr. Prolific? His SB opponent league MVP Rich Gannon. Crushed in the SB.

Crash
08-25-2010, 04:10 AM
Johnson had 22 TD passes and 3049 yards in 13 games in 2002, that's a tad better than efficient IMO.


Bens least attempts was his first SB victory.

He missed four games injured that season also.


Bens second lowest attempts was his rookie season with his best career regular season losing to the Cheatriots dynasty.

He began the year as the #2 QB and didn't start until game 3. He also missed the last game of the year with bruised ribs.

People who worry too much about passing attempts also don't realize when you average 8 yards per attempt you aren't dinking and dunking all over the field, of course his attempts will be down when he's averaging damn near a first down every time he completes a pass.

Pass early to get leads, run to protect them.

That's the Ben way.

Always has been.

Captain Lemming
08-25-2010, 04:51 AM
Johnson had 22 TD passes and 3049 yards in 13 games in 2002, that's a tad better than efficient IMO.

[quote]Bens least attempts was his first SB victory.

He missed four games injured that season also.


Bens second lowest attempts was his rookie season with his best career regular season losing to the Cheatriots dynasty.

He began the year as the #2 QB and didn't start until game 3. He also missed the last game of the year with bruised ribs.

People who worry too much about passing attempts also don't realize when you average 8 yards per attempt you aren't dinking and dunking all over the field, of course his attempts will be down when he's averaging damn near a first down every time he completes a pass.

Pass early to get leads, run to protect them.

That's the Ben way.

Always has been.[/quote:2dptttmr]

Actually, I agree with that formula, and I agree it works. When we do that we dont have the pass run disparity we had last year.

Shoe
08-25-2010, 01:20 PM
Conventional wisdom has been to "run to set-up the pass". But in today's game, it's the opposite--you should pass to set-up the run. That effectively plays out by you getting the lead, then "taking the air out of the ball" in he 3rd/4th quarters by running.

I think that was Cowher's downfall (that and having a Ben Roethlisberger of course). Cowher was from the Schottenheimer school, and that school is fine as a general practice. But I think it cost us at least ONE SB during that time, when we were really good for that whole time. Cheating (by the Pats*) also has a factor in this--us not having another SB.

ikestops85
08-25-2010, 01:35 PM
Steeler football is not just tough D and running the football. Steeler football is playing physical defense and being able to run the football successfully when the opponent knows we are going to run.

That was the part we have been lacking on the offensive side of the ball the last couple of years. We haven't been able to impose our will on the other guy. We used to be able to line up and tell the other guys ... we have the ball, we are going to run it and you can't do a damn thing to stop us.

Sniff, I miss the days of the Bettis dance after a tough 5 yard run. Hopefully Pouncey, Mendy and Redzone can help bring that back.

:tt2 :tt2

birtikidis
08-25-2010, 01:56 PM
I always wonder why people equate the 1970's with running the football and that that was what is steeler football. last time I checked, our qb and two star receivers from the 1970's are in the Hall of Fame. To me that suggests that we must have been a very good passing team also. So i dispute the laymans use of "Steeler Football" it's not about running the all. It's about smart BALANCED football on offense. with a stingy, hard hitting, physical defense.

Sugar
08-25-2010, 04:37 PM
I always wonder why people equate the 1970's with running the football and that that was what is steeler football. last time I checked, our qb and two star receivers from the 1970's are in the Hall of Fame. To me that suggests that we must have been a very good passing team also. So i dispute the laymans use of "Steeler Football" it's not about running the all. It's about smart BALANCED football on offense. with a stingy, hard hitting, physical defense.

I was thinking the same thing. Who were the MVP's of those SB's? Franco got the first one, but the rest were all because of the passing game and not running or D.

birtikidis
08-25-2010, 04:40 PM
I always wonder why people equate the 1970's with running the football and that that was what is steeler football. last time I checked, our qb and two star receivers from the 1970's are in the Hall of Fame. To me that suggests that we must have been a very good passing team also. So i dispute the laymans use of "Steeler Football" it's not about running the all. It's about smart BALANCED football on offense. with a stingy, hard hitting, physical defense.

I was thinking the same thing. Who were the MVP's of those SB's? Franco got the first one, but the rest were all because of the passing game and not running or D.
It never ceases to amaze me when people talk about steeler football and how it's all about running the ball. we were stuck with running the all in the 80's because our HOF qb retired and the heir apparent 1st round pick was injured and never played up to his potential (Malone).

MCHammer
08-25-2010, 05:04 PM
I think where we have strayed a bit is in terms of playcalling. I remember being a bit frustrated last year when our defense let up in the 4th quarter way too many times. A lot of that was completely on them and not having Troy and Smith. Some of it, however, was due to un-Steeler like playcalling when we should have been burning the clock to protect a lead.

Steeler football was not just running the damn ball down people's throats. I always thought of it as imposing your will both offensively and defensively, but part of that is being able to use the run to keep the chains moving and your defense off the field.

Hopefully, this year's supposed emphasis on running more effectively will mean a return to that ability. Personally, if we only ran for 85 yards per game every game I wouldn't care just so long as we can pick up 3rd and short to keep the defense off the field in the 4th quarter.

Stewie
08-26-2010, 11:17 AM
I agree that there has to be balance, and I am excited to see the young WRs (Sanders, Brown and Wallace) mature. The only thing that I don't want to see in the passing game is 5-wide. Something bad usually happens when you remove the threat of a run and a man to pick up a blitz. Ben's inteception the other night was out of a 5-wide set. Seems to always happen. The formation is inherently UNbalanced.

Crash
08-26-2010, 11:24 AM
Pssssssssst.....the Steelers were #3 in the NFL in TOP last season. A mere 17 seconds left per game than the NFL leader.

steelblood
08-26-2010, 11:27 AM
I was more frustrated when we did the old

run, run, run, punt.

I don't mind running on first down and I wish we'd run more when we are having success at it, but the playcall balance is not a real problem. Our redzone playcalling and execution are the most pressing issue of the last few years.

grotonsteel
08-26-2010, 01:21 PM
I was more frustrated when we did the old

run, run, run, punt.

I don't mind running on first down and I wish we'd run more when we are having success at it, but the playcall balance is not a real problem. Our redzone playcalling and execution are the most pressing issue of the last few years.

:Agree

I don't want again those stupid play calling:

Run,Run, pass (3rd and long) Punt
Run, Run,Run Punt

In fact last season Steelers got in trouble once they became conservative after taking lead in a game.

MCHammer
08-26-2010, 01:53 PM
Pssssssssst.....the Steelers were #3 in the NFL in TOP last season. A mere 17 seconds left per game than the NFL leader.

Yeah, and we were also #5 in total defense if I recall. But come fourth quarter we were torched by some of the weakest teams in the NFL repeatedly.

I don't remember which game in particular at this point, but in one of them we were nursing a lead in the third quarter and ran a bunch of deep passes causing the offense to go 3 in out burning a grand total of about 35 seconds. That ain't Steeler football and it's flat out stupid in my opinion. Needless to say we lost the game.

Dee Dub
08-26-2010, 01:53 PM
"Steeler football" = doing what it takes to win. We were a predominantly running team throughout the 80's and 90's. How many championships did it get us during those two decades? We finally get a franchise QB, and we are champions once again. If we are champions, then we are playing Steeler football. No matter what it looks like.

Nice! Ruthless....that there was a thing of beauty. Bravo. :Clap

ANPSTEEL
08-26-2010, 02:08 PM
Pssssssssst.....the Steelers were #3 in the NFL in TOP last season. A mere 17 seconds left per game than the NFL leader.

TOP is missleading in this circumstance, imo.

It is not about total amount of time the Offense has the ball-but in respect to resting the Defense, it is about

Sustained drives. That is one thing this O' has problems with, more so than the past.

I'm suspect you'll argue with this-

But they punt quick, or score quick.

Much like the Tommy Gun O, except that involved more "turn the ball over quick".

grotonsteel
08-26-2010, 04:12 PM
Pssssssssst.....the Steelers were #3 in the NFL in TOP last season. A mere 17 seconds left per game than the NFL leader.

TOP is missleading in this circumstance, imo.

It is not about total amount of time the Offense has the ball-but in respect to resting the Defense, it is about

Sustained drives. That is one thing this O' has problems with, more so than the past.

I'm suspect you'll argue with this-

But they punt quick, or score quick.

Much like the Tommy Gun O, except that involved more "turn the ball over quick".


Are you saying Steelers real strength is Offense??? Hmmm.....interesting

If Steelers D is going to give minimum amount of points/dominant in NFL by being on the field only for 20 min then i would say Steelers D is highly overrated and aged.

When Steelers D is giving 80 yard drives to Palmers,Cassell,Cutler,Gardowski,Quinn of the leagues it is an issue with the Defense. Don't blame offense for their woes for last season. Steelers D was horrible on 3rd and 4th down. Plain and simple.

If Defense is Steelers strength then they need to hold mediocre QB late in the game.

IMO Steelers never had problems moving the chains last season maybe except that Stains game. They were horrible in red zone. So instead of scoring 7 points they would come up with 3. Steelers O got in trouble when they started running on every 1st and 2nd down when they had a lead. They went into shell for some reason.

I think we are on a verge of seeing a Steelers team with better O than D. We definitely have more dynamic playmakers on O than D. Is it safe to say Steelers success this season is dependent on Offense and adequate defense?

Captain Lemming
08-26-2010, 06:15 PM
Pssssssssst.....the Steelers were #3 in the NFL in TOP last season. A mere 17 seconds left per game than the NFL leader.

17 precious seconds- the difference between 9-7 and 16-0. :lol:

Seriously, the issue is keeping the ball from the opponents when we have a lead. This is where "run" with a lead come into play. Our inability or unwillingness to use the run to eat up clock at the end of games hurts us. We are much more likely to lose leads than during the Cowher era, even in years when our defenses were worse because opponents didnt get enough possessions to mount a comeback.

Say what you will about "the turtle" but it worked.

Slapstick
08-26-2010, 10:27 PM
It's all about balance...

Matt Schaub led the league in passing yards last year...he had a 2-to-1 INT ration and a YpA of 8.2 yards...the Texans didn't make the playoffs...

Chris Johnson led the league in rushing yards...he became the sixth player to reach 2,000 yards in a season...he averaged 5.6 YpC and rushed for 14 TDs...the Titans didn't make the playoffs either...

Offensive balance is the key...not necessarily have an equal amount of passing/rushing, but being able to pass or rush when needed...

Discipline of Steel
08-26-2010, 11:25 PM
I agree with all of you about balance but i think its the way you achieve that balance that defines Steeler football. Dominant running, big pass plays, and intimidating defense is what i know about the Steelers way. We are not a west coast, dink and dunk, misdirection team. What we have lost in the past few years is the ability to line up and run it down a team's throat when necessary. Whether good or bad, or due to the evolution of the game, we have gotten away from that aspect of Steelers football.