So, if you’ve read a decent amount of my writings, I hope a couple of things have come through on my philosophy on NFL football. I believe in the importance of a franchise QB. I believe that great NFL franchises learn to win the Draft. I believe that even in this flashy NFL, a great defense will beat a great offense.
And above all, I value toughness.
Toughness, both the mental and physical kind, is something you can sense and feel in every facet of how a football team plays. Do Receivers run out of bounds, or do they lower their shoulders and push for a couple more yards. Does your Quarterback bounce up after a hit, or does he linger? Does your defense attack and initiate full body contact? Do they beat on an offense until they get tired of the contact?
Simply, I don’t think that you can understate the value that a brutal, physical team has over one built on finesse. I hear a lot of Browns fans calling for a team built around the pass, around a vertical passing game like Chud wanted to install. While those types of teams can certainly be fun to watch, I still prefer to see a team like Seattle has. One that, ever snap, is going to try and beat you up until you cry Uncle. A team that, every play, is going to hit you in the mouth until you capitulate. A team that will stand there, man to man, and dare you to hit them back.
Now, a lot of things get associated with this type of play. Some people say these teams have “swag”. I kind of hate that word (a lot), but the point is valid. That confidence, that sense of pride and toughness is intoxicating. And as a fan, it’s a great thing to watch your team embody.
One of the reasons I like the Browns decision to hire Mike Pettine is based on this philosophy. Coach Pettine demands toughness, and based on what we know of his past experience, he seems to get it. And, in my opinion, if you’ve got a tough team, you’re never out of contention.