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descendency
12-08-2009, 11:41 AM
I made a list of them. I left off some people because I don't think their play is applicable anymore, but are there any I missed? I was wondering because that term "players who will change the game forever" gets tossed around quite a bit yet really don't.

Here's my list:
Ken Anderson was what some might call a "proof of concept" or "engineering sample" for Bill Walsh. Under Walsh as OC of the Cincinnati Bengals, Anderson went from among the worst QBs in the league to the best in one years time using the then brand new West Coast Offense (which is not an actual offense nor was it founded on the west coast.) which emphasized timing between the QB and WRs. Basically Walsh believed that a play should be executable in completely pitch black conditions. While Joe Montana might get the most credit, it was Ken Anderson that proved that Walsh could take a particular kind of QB and make them produce like an elite one.

Shannon Sharpe was either too slow to be a WR or too small and weak to be a TE. No one thought he could blow by DBs and he wasn't going to be big enough to be the 6th OL on the field. Looking back now, it's obvious what they needed to do with him, but at the time it wasn't so obvious. When they got him into camp, they quickly realized what kind of talent they had in sharpe where he could make mobile blocks of LBs and DBs, was too big for DBs to cover, and too quick for linebackers to cover. He created the pass catching TE.

Laurence Taylor coming out of college was too small to play DE in the NFL. What NFL GMs failed to realize is that he was too fast *not* to play DE. Under Bill Belichick (DC) and Bill Parcells (HC), Taylor was converted to OLB in their 34 defense. His primary role was to rush the passer. What seems like common knowledge today wasn't then. The LT was just another OL. Quickly it became apparent that just any other OL could not block Taylor. They'd have to move TEs and HBs out to double team him. If you want to know how that worked out, just ask Joe Theismann, who's career was promptly ended by Taylor on what could be one of the most brutal hits in NFL history, most of which were done by Taylor.

Orlando Pace may not be the first, but he was the best "first" true left tackle. Shortly before he entered the league, Laurence Taylor (and others) created the term "blind side" tackle. The QB sure didn't know what was currently happening on that side of the field but he know what would happen if he didn't get the ball away quickly. At least that was until Orlando Pace entered into the league. While QBs still didn't have unlimited amount of time to throw, Orlando Pace's amazing athleticism and footwork combined with his huge frame (well not huge by some standard but for his athleticism yes) quickly added a counter to that free-ranging, speedy pass rusher. He would inspire coaches to move TEs Joe Thomas and Jason Smith (just to name a few) to the OT position.

Rodney Harrison is either a guy you love or you hate. Either you think he's a dirty football player or he's what football is about. However, there is one thing you can't deny, he changed the safety position possibly forever. Harrison is the only player in NFL history with 30 sacks and 30 interceptions. He could cover TEs as well as rush the passer. Harrison could drop into coverage. He was an integral part to 2 super bowl championships in NE. While some might disagree, I don't think his overall talent stemmed from his HGH use. It was just Rodney Harrison's nose for the ball that made him great. He could hit like a linebacker, cover like a safety, and rush like a linebacker. Troy Polamalu is a product of Rodney Harrison doing what he did.

Before Dan Marino came into the league, the records for passing and rushing were held by one man, Fran Tarkenton. While Marino would establish his legacy mainly as a drop back passer, he had some pretty good running ability too. However, it was nothing like Tarkenton. Tarkenton is what people wish they could have made Vince Young, Michael Vick, and others into. Tarkenton's records were "unbreakable". Enter Dan Marino, stage right. While the 1983 QB class is among the greatest ever with names like Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, and John Elway headlining the class, Dan Marino clearly stands out alone. He not only broke records that were never going to be broken, he put them where no one had ever imagined possible. Today we look back and think well Favre broke the so what... But Marino's records lasted ages and would be one of the key pieces in defining what people look at as a prototypical QB (along with Joe Montana), Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

Ray Guy is probably the prototypical Al Davis pick. (minus the 40 yard dash time). While Davis is regarded as insane today, he used the 14th overall pick to draft Ray Guy. If you haven't heard of him, you might wonder what the big deal is, but the big deal is he is a punter. The only punter ever drafted in the first round... ever. While the Raiders punting game was bad, no one expected Al Davis to draft a punter in round 1. He did. Ray Guy's reward for Mr. Davis' insane play: a punting average of over 42 yards per punt and an average hang time of over 5 seconds per punt. He became a field position weapon. Ray Guy forced the Superdome to raise it's dropped down screens from 90 feet (cough Jerry Land cough) to 200 feet. Some even regard him as a steal at 14th overall. A punter??? Yes, a punter. (and arguably the greatest punter to ever live).

bigbluedefense
12-08-2009, 11:46 AM
I like this thread.

For the record, Parcells used LT the way he did before Bellichick was with the Giants. Parcells was our DC during LT's rookie year, he's the one who revolutionized the 3-4.


Gayle Sayers, Allan Page, and Sam Huff quickly come to mind as guys who changed the game. Sayers brought flash to the RB position, and Huff was the first MIKE in a 4-3.

Really whats lost in this discussion is how its really moreso the coordinators who revolutionized the game with their uses of these players. The players play a huge role naturally, but you gotta give coordinators a ton of credit for the evolution of the game.

I'm of the belief that coordinators (only a select few) should be eligible to make the HOF. Some of the most brilliant coaching we've seen over the years came from coordinators moreso than HCs.

descendency
12-08-2009, 11:54 AM
One person I left off was Doug Plank who was the inspiration for Buddy Ryan's 46 defense mainly because no one uses the 46 defense anymore. However, Buddy Ryan (who never had hall of fame success as a coach) definitely should be mentioned as a coordinator for the hall of fame. Dick LeBeau, Monty Kiffen. Jim Johnson. (considered the holy trinity of DCs) to name 3 more as well.

I should also note that many of the people mentioned in that played before I was born. (1985) or before I was a really active football fan (mid/late 90s...). I learned about most of them through reading books.

UKfan
12-08-2009, 12:26 PM
Can I say Roy Williams for the horse collar rule? ;)

Splat
12-08-2009, 01:04 PM
Tony Gonzalez has done more for the TE position then Shannon Sharpe.

descendency
12-08-2009, 01:08 PM
dan marino as a mobile qb? um. maybe in comparison to drew bledsoe.

orlando pace? or was it anthony munoz several years earlier.

I was 99% sure I forgot someone. I guess Pace is the comparison I see more often for elite tackles coming out of high school.

Marino was semi mobile but he basically re-established the idea of the pocket passer. Or a better way to phrase that is that he came in and did it at such a high level that he re-set the way people thought about the pocket passer.

horsehockey. gonzalez got a chance because of sharpe.

This. Tony Gonzalez would have never gotten a look if it hadn't been for Shannon Sharpe. He'd have been a mediocre WR.

A Perfect Score
12-08-2009, 01:30 PM
Marshall Faulk heavily influenced the way in which modern RBs are used out of the backfield. While he certainly wasnt the first to be featured as a receiver, the way he was utilized by Vermeil and Martz as the centerpiece to the greatest show on turf definitely paved the way for RBs like Westbrook to become primary receivers on their teams.

Gay Ork Wang
12-08-2009, 01:39 PM
Marshall Faulk heavily influenced the way in which modern RBs are used out of the backfield. While he certainly wasnt the first to be featured as a receiver, the way he was utilized by Vermeil and Martz as the centerpiece to the greatest show on turf definitely paved the way for RBs like Westbrook to become primary receivers on their teams.
Roger craig before marshall?

RealityCheck
12-08-2009, 01:48 PM
Drew "Who cares if I'm short" Brees?

Shiver
12-08-2009, 01:55 PM
Roger craig before marshall?

Lenny Moore!

descendency
12-08-2009, 02:00 PM
Drew "Who cares if I'm short" Brees?

Brees is an interesting question. While he definitely has shown a blue-print to be successful as a shorter player in the NFL, I don't see anyone else I would say that has tried to emulate him with any success. Brees definitely could be said to redefine the game though. I just wonder if he was a fluke though. I mean there have been short good quarterbacks before.

No QB has made the hall of fame in the last 20 years (playing in that time) who was shorter than 6'2", so he definitely is an interesting question. I see him more an anomaly than a new rule.

bigbluedefense
12-08-2009, 02:04 PM
Anthony Munoz
Kellen Winslow Sr
OJ Simpson


Very few modern players (from the 80s up) changed the game really. Believe it or not, as much as we talk about the game changing over the years, it really hasn't changed that much at all.

The only player from the 80s up that changed the game that I can think of off the top of my head were LT and Randy Moss.

Maaaybe Brian Dawkins. If not Dawkins, then Ronnie Lott before him.

keylime_5
12-08-2009, 02:30 PM
KWSr changed the TE position, not Sharpe really. The 3-4 defense has been around long before LT came into the league, though he was really the best 3-4 OLB ever. He was the #2 overall pick in the draft, so it's not like teams didn't think he had a position in the NFL. Pace is tha man, but Anthony Munoz was a true franchise left tackle before him. The NFL has been a passing league for a long time, lots of great left tackles over the years.

Don Vito
12-08-2009, 02:34 PM
http://imagesource.allposters.com/images/pic/PHO/AAEB031~John-Mackey-Sephia-Photofile-Posters.jpg

If we're going to talk tight ends who changed the game, John Mackey has to be up there. He came way before guys like Winslow and Sharpe, he was one of the first real big time receiving threats at the position.

Gay Ork Wang
12-08-2009, 02:36 PM
Dick Nighttrain lane

D-Unit
12-08-2009, 03:07 PM
dan marino as a mobile qb? um. maybe in comparison to drew bledsoe.

I think I'd give the mobile QB credit to Randall Cunningham.

keylime_5
12-08-2009, 03:21 PM
Dick Nighttrain lane

yeah, he only completely changed how the rules of the passing game were laid out after he close-lined every receiver in his vicinity.

keylime_5
12-08-2009, 03:22 PM
I think I'd give the mobile QB credit to Randall Cunningham.

fran tarkenton.

MichaelJordanEberle (sabf)
12-08-2009, 03:27 PM
Anthony Munoz
Kellen Winslow Sr
OJ Simpson


Very few modern players (from the 80s up) changed the game really. Believe it or not, as much as we talk about the game changing over the years, it really hasn't changed that much at all.

The only player from the 80s up that changed the game that I can think of off the top of my head were LT and Randy Moss.

Maaaybe Brian Dawkins. If not Dawkins, then Ronnie Lott before him.

I was gonna say Randy, too. He hasn't necessarily ushered in a new breed of WR, but that's just because no one is on his level athletically, even now that he's gotten older.

Lott or maybe Dawkins is good, too. I'm young so I can't comment on it for sure but I'd imagine before Ronnie Lott there weren't a lot of safeties that were the calibre of the dominant playmaking safeties of today like Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu and Sean Taylor(RIP). Those kind of safeties seem to be almost necessary for a truly dominant defense now. They can do everything out there.

Rayray52
12-08-2009, 03:32 PM
Ty Law and the Pats secondary mugging the Rams in the superbowl?

Bengalsrocket
12-08-2009, 03:44 PM
Munoz before Pace, I know it seems Homerish but since some non-Bengals fans beat me to it I think I'm in the clear in this one :)

Also, while people are claiming Marino as immobile, when asked "To what do you attribute your success in the NFL to" he was quoted as replying "my feet" (maybe not exact, but very close). When Marino played, pocket awareness wasn't really a term people used at the time. Marino was well aware of the guys around him, the timing it took for guys to get to him and the sounds they were making when close, and used that to his advantage by moving around in the pocket. No, he wasn't fast, but his footwork was amazing, and that's what people mean they say he was "mobile".

Babylon
12-08-2009, 04:19 PM
fran tarkenton.

Franie was a great scrambler, Roger Staubach probably introduced athletecism to the position.

gsorace
12-08-2009, 04:28 PM
Roger Staubach probably introduced athletecism to the position.

Uhmm....what?

Babylon
12-08-2009, 04:40 PM
Uhmm....what?

Am i not speaking english?

D-Unit
12-08-2009, 04:43 PM
Bernie Kosar for his side arm delivery.

Bengalsrocket
12-08-2009, 06:11 PM
i'm not sure it's really relevant what "mobility" meant in 198x. just call it pocket awareness and make the more obvious comparisons. suggesting marino had mobility evokes memories of the chad pennington "juke".

I don't disagree. I was just trying to translate what people mean by Marino's mobility. I mean, he was mobile, but basically only in the pocket :P The guy had bad knees and was never really a threat to run the ball or even scramble out of the pocket. He did have amazing footwork though.

Arsenal
12-08-2009, 06:40 PM
They literally had to change pass interference rules for Mel Blount back in the 1970s. I'm not sure if he invented it really but Blount took bump and run coverage to a whole new level to the point where they had to make the illegal contact rule, also known as the "Mel Blount rule."

MichaelJordanEberle (sabf)
12-08-2009, 07:32 PM
They literally had to change pass interference rules for Mel Blount back in the 1970s. I'm not sure if he invented it really but Blount took bump and run coverage to a whole new level to the point where they had to make the illegal contact rule, also known as the "Mel Blount rule."

And then it went away sorta for a while till they were all like "oh **** gaiz i foundz a rule" and it become known as the Ty Law rule to some fans and the "GODDAMMITWHYCOULDNTYOUHAVECALLEDTHISWHENTHEMOTHER* *****HELDPOLLARD!?!?!?!" rule by Colts fans.

singe_101
12-08-2009, 11:33 PM
Bo
Deion, or Darrell Green. Plus he played forever
Randall McDaniel, freakish guard

Vick looked like he could, he was like Blitz.

I want to say Moss because there were other fast receivers who could outrun any corners, but he could catch 80-100 and get the fades

Kurt Warner, undrafted
Gates, power forward - tight end, undrafted

Tomlinson, passed to Ronnie Brown

Vrabel :D

I want to say Jason Taylor, giving 50-100 lbs to OTs but a Top 5 DE for a long time with zero injuries. Could play OLB but not required to.

If Peppers had gotten better then maybe, just a different blend than most DEs. He could run down Vick.

vikes_28
12-08-2009, 11:43 PM
Ray Lewis.

aNYtitan
12-08-2009, 11:48 PM
I start the list with Lawrence Taylor, he changed the way a QB is supposed to be protected on the blind side.

Tom Brady for the wrong reasons, his knee injury changed the way QB's have to be hit.
2 quick ones right off the top of my head

bigbluedefense
12-09-2009, 09:17 AM
i just wanted to repeat this. your favorite player from last year has not changed the game. period.

like, ronnie brown? really? i'm sure it has to do with the wildcat, but it's not like he's the only running back who's shown he can run it. it's not DMC's fault that the raiders are garbage.

i don't even buy moss. he's big and fast and spectacularly talented. how, exactly, did he change the game? there've been other deep threats in history, and there've been plenty of guys who wouldn't catch over the middle.

while we're on it, we're talking about changing THE game, not changing A game. there's a vast wilderness of difference between the two.

This is true, I didn't think of it that way. My reasoning was how in his prime (he kind of lost a step this year and it started last year), nobody has dictated coverages the way he has. And historically, he was the main ingredient to the 2 best offenses in NFL history.

Im torn between Ronnie Lott and Brian Dawkins. Before Ronnie Lott, no safety played with the same range and playmaking ability that he had. However, there was a dormant period in the 90s after Lott. Then came Brian Dawkins, who pretty much was the 1st of the new age prototype safeties, and following him came the likes of Polumalu and Ed Reed. It seems like at least superficially, Dawkins set the trend. Whereas Lott was just an incredible talent way ahead of his time.

I don't know what to make of that. I'm probably forgetting some safeties from the 90s as well during that "dormant" period that im thinking of.

Iamcanadian
12-09-2009, 10:33 AM
I made a list of them. I left off some people because I don't think their play is applicable anymore, but are there any I missed? I was wondering because that term "players who will change the game forever" gets tossed around quite a bit yet really don't.

Here's my list:
Ken Anderson was what some might call a "proof of concept" or "engineering sample" for Bill Walsh. Under Walsh as OC of the Cincinnati Bengals, Anderson went from among the worst QBs in the league to the best in one years time using the then brand new West Coast Offense (which is not an actual offense nor was it founded on the west coast.) which emphasized timing between the QB and WRs. Basically Walsh believed that a play should be executable in completely pitch black conditions. While Joe Montana might get the most credit, it was Ken Anderson that proved that Walsh could take a particular kind of QB and make them produce like an elite one.

This is a great point and it wasn't till many years later that DC's and HC's figured out how to stop the WCO.

Shannon Sharpe was either too slow to be a WR or too small and weak to be a TE. No one thought he could blow by DBs and he wasn't going to be big enough to be the 6th OL on the field. Looking back now, it's obvious what they needed to do with him, but at the time it wasn't so obvious. When they got him into camp, they quickly realized what kind of talent they had in sharpe where he could make mobile blocks of LBs and DBs, was too big for DBs to cover, and too quick for linebackers to cover. He created the pass catching TE.

Again, another fine example of a player who changed the discription for the position he played.

Laurence Taylor coming out of college was too small to play DE in the NFL. What NFL GMs failed to realize is that he was too fast *not* to play DE. Under Bill Belichick (DC) and Bill Parcells (HC), Taylor was converted to OLB in their 34 defense. His primary role was to rush the passer. What seems like common knowledge today wasn't then. The LT was just another OL. Quickly it became apparent that just any other OL could not block Taylor. They'd have to move TEs and HBs out to double team him. If you want to know how that worked out, just ask Joe Theismann, who's career was promptly ended by Taylor on what could be one of the most brutal hits in NFL history, most of which were done by Taylor.

My memory may be failing me but I don't believe the Giants under Parcells changed to a 3-4 defense. I believe that came later in his career. I also question that it's what caused the LT position to become so important. There had been lots of great DE's long before Taylor and protecting a QB's blind side was well established. Moving TE's and RB to help the LT wasn't that unusual. What Taylor did prove is that an OLB with tremendous speed could be used effectively as a pass rusher. That wasn't common prior to Taylor.

Orlando Pace may not be the first, but he was the best "first" true left tackle. Shortly before he entered the league, Laurence Taylor (and others) created the term "blind side" tackle. The QB sure didn't know what was currently happening on that side of the field but he know what would happen if he didn't get the ball away quickly. At least that was until Orlando Pace entered into the league. While QBs still didn't have unlimited amount of time to throw, Orlando Pace's amazing athleticism and footwork combined with his huge frame (well not huge by some standard but for his athleticism yes) quickly added a counter to that free-ranging, speedy pass rusher. He would inspire coaches to move TEs Joe Thomas and Jason Smith (just to name a few) to the OT position.

I don't think I agree with this assessment. LT's had been protecting QB's blind side for ever even if this term wasn't in use. Taylor increased the responsibilities of the LT with the increased pass rushing provided by an OLB but LT's had been taking on pass rushers for a long time before Pace.

Rodney Harrison is either a guy you love or you hate. Either you think he's a dirty football player or he's what football is about. However, there is one thing you can't deny, he changed the safety position possibly forever. Harrison is the only player in NFL history with 30 sacks and 30 interceptions. He could cover TEs as well as rush the passer. Harrison could drop into coverage. He was an integral part to 2 super bowl championships in NE. While some might disagree, I don't think his overall talent stemmed from his HGH use. It was just Rodney Harrison's nose for the ball that made him great. He could hit like a linebacker, cover like a safety, and rush like a linebacker. Troy Polamalu is a product of Rodney Harrison doing what he did.

I think it was more HC's tinkering with different uses for different positions that changed the game. The fundamental game of football was simply changing from a stagnant consistent system into one where a great amount of experimentation was taking place on both sides of the ball, Almost every position was getting some attention to see if new formations with different objectives would work in the NFL. Everything in the game was changing and technique became much more important than was previously recognized. Some of the changes were caused by rule changes, some by different defensive and offensive schemes, some by experimenting with different types of people playing a position who could do more things such as a Vick at QB. I don't think you can say a player was responsible for the change, often it was the genius of the HC or coordinator who made it possible for players to accomplish different types of stats for a position.

In the case of Sharpe and Taylor, it wasn't so easy to just play them at TE or DE. Teams were mostly run first teams back then and that required a big TE and a big DE. It took a lot of imagination on the part of their HC's to try to untilize a different set of measurables to play a position differently from other teams. This took a lot of skill and guts from their HC's to try something different and it is probably reflected in their SB victories.

Before Dan Marino came into the league, the records for passing and rushing were held by one man, Fran Tarkenton. While Marino would establish his legacy mainly as a drop back passer, he had some pretty good running ability too. However, it was nothing like Tarkenton. Tarkenton is what people wish they could have made Vince Young, Michael Vick, and others into. Tarkenton's records were "unbreakable". Enter Dan Marino, stage right. While the 1983 QB class is among the greatest ever with names like Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, and John Elway headlining the class, Dan Marino clearly stands out alone. He not only broke records that were never going to be broken, he put them where no one had ever imagined possible. Today we look back and think well Favre broke the so what... But Marino's records lasted ages and would be one of the key pieces in defining what people look at as a prototypical QB (along with Joe Montana), Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

I don't completely agree with this idea. QB's who don't win championships rarely have a long lasting impact on the game. Actually, Marino really represented the old guard of QB's, a guy who stood behind his OL and threw the ball down the field. He certainly wasn't a mobile QB. His records had a lot to do with how often he threw the ball rather than any change from previous generations. His WR's had a lot more to do with influencing future players who played their position being short, light weight with speed and quickness.

Ray Guy is probably the prototypical Al Davis pick. (minus the 40 yard dash time). While Davis is regarded as insane today, he used the 14th overall pick to draft Ray Guy. If you haven't heard of him, you might wonder what the big deal is, but the big deal is he is a punter. The only punter ever drafted in the first round... ever. While the Raiders punting game was bad, no one expected Al Davis to draft a punter in round 1. He did. Ray Guy's reward for Mr. Davis' insane play: a punting average of over 42 yards per punt and an average hang time of over 5 seconds per punt. He became a field position weapon. Ray Guy forced the Superdome to raise it's dropped down screens from 90 feet (cough Jerry Land cough) to 200 feet. Some even regard him as a steal at 14th overall. A punter??? Yes, a punter. (and arguably the greatest punter to ever live).

He probably was the greatest punter of all time but I think you can put him getting drafted at #14 on Al Davis's desire to prove to everybody just how great a football mind he had. He believed he could find talent anywhere in the draft and he was probably right back then. Unfortunately old age has robbed him of his great football mind and left his team in a total mess.

phlysac
12-09-2009, 01:35 PM
Ronnie Lott has to be a redefining safety. It was truly unprecidented to have a Rookie of the Year, 4-time Pro Bowl, All-Pro selection at CB switch to Safety and continue to be voted All-Pro at his position.

1981 - CB - Defensive Rookie of the Year - Pro Bowl - All-Pro
1982 - CB - Pro Bowl
1983 - CB - Pro Bowl
1984 - CB - Pro Bowl

1986 - S - Pro Bowl - All-Pro
1987 - S - Pro Bowl - All-Pro
1988 - S - Pro Bowl
1989 - S - Pro Bowl - All Pro
1990 - S - Pro Bowl - All-Pro
1991 - S - Pro Bowl - All-Pro

MetSox17
12-09-2009, 01:46 PM
Bob ************* Hayes.

RealityCheck
12-09-2009, 01:50 PM
Vrabel :D

As a LB/TE hybrid?

Bengalsrocket
12-09-2009, 01:55 PM
Ronnie Lott is definitely the best safety to ever play the game, but I don't know in what he changed the game. His toughness was definitely exceptional, but not unprecedented. And while he did have a crazy amount of interceptions, Ken Houston was just as much of a ball hawk as Lott, and his career started 24 years before Lott's.

In fact, Houston was a crazy defensive back when he had the ball in his hands too. Similar to how people view Rod Woodson, Ed Reed or Deion Sanders with the ball in their hands, Houston was also was pretty good himself.

I'd say Houston changed the safety position before Lott did, but that might be going back to far (it's before my time as well).

bigbluedefense
12-09-2009, 02:01 PM
yeah its really tough to say.

i think coordinators changed the game more than players.

Ness
12-09-2009, 02:03 PM
Bob Hayes.

Babylon
12-09-2009, 02:54 PM
Ronnie Lott is definitely the best safety to ever play the game, but I don't know in what he changed the game. His toughness was definitely exceptional, but not unprecedented. And while he did have a crazy amount of interceptions, Ken Houston was just as much of a ball hawk as Lott, and his career started 24 years before Lott's.

In fact, Houston was a crazy defensive back when he had the ball in his hands too. Similar to how people view Rod Woodson, Ed Reed or Deion Sanders with the ball in their hands, Houston was also was pretty good himself.

I'd say Houston changed the safety position before Lott did, but that might be going back to far (it's before my time as well).

Ken Houston would have revolutionized the position at that time more than Lott. Paul Krausse with his 81 career ints would have a say too.

fenikz
12-09-2009, 02:59 PM
http://phoenix.fanster.com/files/2008/08/awilson.jpg

umphrey
12-09-2009, 03:39 PM
Randy Moss is the reason everyone wants a 6'4"+ receiver who runs a 4.3.

Peyton Manning brought pre-snap audibles to an entire new level.

Tom Brady made "intangibles" about 6 times more important.

Devin Hester, although not doing as well now, made kick returner a much more important position. It went from kicker value to more like a 23rd starter.

Steve Hutchinson showed teams what good guard play could do for a team.

Ed Reed brought ball hawking, free lancing safety to an entire new level (for better and worse).

Dwight Freeney created a new prototype for speed rushing defensive ends.

Antonio Gates made a lot of teams look to the basketball courts for undiscovered gems or upgrade prospects based on a basketball past at the TE position.

These are all current gen players because I've only been watching football for so long. Also there may have been others to do these things first. If so I'd be curious to know.

Gay Ork Wang
12-09-2009, 03:41 PM
Randy Moss is the reason everyone wants a 6'4"+ receiver who runs a 4.3.

Peyton Manning brought pre-snap audibles to an entire new level.

Tom Brady made "intangibles" about 6 times more important.
you really think 6'4'' receivers who run 4.3 were, at any time, not wanted?

the decider13
12-09-2009, 03:42 PM
Randy Moss is the reason everyone wants a 6'4"+ receiver who runs a 4.3.
Peyton Manning brought pre-snap audibles to an entire new level.

Tom Brady made "intangibles" about 6 times more important.

You mean there was a time when people didn't want a tall, freakishly fast receiver? Interesting.

Iamcanadian
12-09-2009, 03:45 PM
fran tarkenton.

I'd vote for Tarkenton as well.

Gay Ork Wang
12-09-2009, 03:45 PM
You mean there was a time when people didn't want a tall, freakishly fast receiver? Interesting.
i was faster!


I vote Bob Hayes

Shiver
12-09-2009, 03:49 PM
If you look at the NFL prior to 2004 what you will find is Tight Ends were not used as receivers: there were a few way back in the day, Kellen Winslow Sr., Sharpe, but it is only recently that the position has become pass first. I would credit the emergence of Tony Gonzalez as the primary reason the position has changed the way it has. Now every TE needs to have some history in basketball, NFL scouts are now in the gyms looking for the next Antonio Gates, even though they find a few busts like Jai Lewis. (points for whoever remembers him)


On a side note, can announcers please stop talking about what Tony Gonzalez did on the B-Ball court more than a decade ago? Is it still a relevant piece of information? Is there anyone who doesn't know that Tony and Antonio placed basketball once upon a time?

Brent
12-09-2009, 03:49 PM
i dunno, if buddy ryan doesn't have the personnel, the 46 is a bizarre footnote in history. further, if say, ken anderson or joe montana weren't pretty solid passers, or dan fouts couldn't chuck the ball around, does anyone now care who bill walsh or don coryell were?

(clearly the reverse is true, if montana spent his career running the play action stuff that was typical at the time, does anyone know his name?)
What made Walsh great was he wouldn't try to make players fit his system, he had a system that he wanted run a certain way and scouted to that system. He got Craig so he had a passing threat out of the backfield, Montana because he was accurate and had a high "Football IQ" (I hate using that term), despite not having a cannon arm.

The WCO was all about short throws that would pick up 4-5 yards but you take those high percentage plays and next thing you know, you've throw 8 passes and moved 60 yards. What Green Bay is doing now, is a fine example of what Walsh was doing, but they are a bit more pass-heavy, obviously a result of rule changes which have made passing easier.

I think someone said this already, but the offense was all about timing, to where you could run plays in the dark. Hell, Walsh scouted defense as well as he could offense. The guy just knew football players.

Gay Ork Wang
12-09-2009, 03:51 PM
If you look at the NFL prior to 2004 what you will find is Tight Ends were not used as receivers: there were a few way back in the day, Kellen Winslow Sr., Sharpe, but it is only recently that the position has become pass first. I would credit the emergence of Tony Gonzalez as the primary reason the position has changed the way it has. Now every TE needs to have some history in basketball, NFL scouts are now in the gyms looking for the next Antonio Gates, even though they find a few busts like Jai Lewis. (points for whoever remembers him)


On a side note, can announcers please stop talking about what Tony Gonzalez did on the B-Ball court more than a decade ago? Is it still a relevant piece of information? Is there anyone who doesn't know that Tony and Antonio placed basketball once upon a time?
they played basketball?

umphrey
12-09-2009, 04:04 PM
You mean there was a time when people didn't want a tall, freakishly fast receiver? Interesting.

Haha, I knew this was coming. What I meant was that it made lots of teams feel like they need a 6'3" 4.4 minimum receiver on their team and it got a lot of receivers drafted rounds earlier than they would have been otherwise. He made measurables a prerequisite to some teams looking at first round WRs and made a lot of people think WRs without those tools could never be a #1.

Here's another one: Ryan Leaf and Tony Mandarich made the term "can't miss prospect" into an oxymoron.

I didn't know Gonzalez had a basketball history. He'd replace Gates in my other post. I almost put him in anyway because throughout most of his career he has been on another planet than his competition.

Iamcanadian
12-09-2009, 04:07 PM
Randy Moss is the reason everyone wants a 6'4"+ receiver who runs a 4.3.

No, pro teams have always been looking for big WR's with speed.

Peyton Manning brought pre-snap audibles to an entire new level.

Well, you do know that well into the 60's QB's called their own plays. They, not OC's decided the play to call and they changed the play at the line of scrimmage if they wanted to. Peyton is just a throw back to those eras.

Tom Brady made "intangibles" about 6 times more important.

While scouting has got a lot more sophisticated in the last 60 years, intangibles have long been recognized as being important.

Devin Hester, although not doing as well now, made kick returner a much more important position. It went from kicker value to more like a 23rd starter.

Hardly! Great kick returners have always existed.

Steve Hutchinson showed teams what good guard play could do for a team.

Hardly! There were many OG's who showed what a solid guard can do.

Ed Reed brought ball hawking, free lancing safety to an entire new level (for better and worse).

Dwight Freeney created a new prototype for speed rushing defensive ends.

Antonio Gates made a lot of teams look to the basketball courts for undiscovered gems or upgrade prospects based on a basketball past at the TE position.

More of a one time exception.

These are all current gen players because I've only been watching football for so long. Also there may have been others to do these things first. If so I'd be curious to know.

nice try for a newcomer to the game.

MiWolves
12-09-2009, 04:08 PM
Wow i can't believed no one mention the best pass rusher of all time Deacon Jones

Iamcanadian
12-09-2009, 04:26 PM
Thought I'd mention a few things.

Don Shula invented the zone defense with the Colts.

Al Davis invented the bump and run way back in the American Football League.

The Los Angeles Rams were the 1st team in the 50's to actually scout college players and in one season back in the 50's they got something like 17 starters from one draft. As you can guess, other team soon followed the Rams methods. Before the Rams, teams used All American lists to decide who to draft. They never actually scouted the players.

According to Dungy, Chuck Noll invented the Cover 2 Defense back with the great Steeler teams of the 70's.

Paul Brown introduced the substitution of players when he rotated one of his OG's on every play in order to send in plays to his QB.

If anybody changed some rules for the better, it was Tatum, a safety for the Raiders in the 70's I believe. He was absolutely the worst head hunter I ever saw play the game and was very lucky to not have killed a player during his career.

The 2 great CB's for the Raiders back in the 70's( not exactly remembering the decade) got a rule changed when they covered their hands with stick um enabling them to intercept a lot more thrown balls.

Deacon Jones got the rules changed for playing on the DL. As a DE he used the head slap to get the OT off guard before beating him and sacking the QB.

I could go on but that is all that come to mind right now. If I think of any more I'll post them later.

A Perfect Score
12-09-2009, 04:30 PM
Its amazing that so much wrong can fit into one post. Over/Under 5 years he has been watching football?

CC.SD
12-09-2009, 04:34 PM
My favorite was 'Steve Hutchinson showed teams what good guard play could do.'

Fellow, guards have been affecting games since before vertical passing was in the rulebook.

Paranoidmoonduck
12-09-2009, 04:44 PM
This guy
http://macfantasie.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/bob-hayes_22.jpg

The fact that Bob Hayes was only mentioned a couple times makes me sad.

We're talking about the player who was the the main driving force behind the biggest schematic expansion of defensive coverages in NFL history.

And, really, this has become two threads. There's rare guys who had a clear effect on how the game developed (Hayes, Deacon Jones, Mike Ditka, etc.) and then there's guys who help shift the expectations for their position or establish a new standard of excellence (Ronnie Lott, Shannon Sharpe, Anthony Munoz, etc.).

There's a pretty big difference there.

Shiver
12-09-2009, 05:37 PM
wait, you mean how jeremy shockey, todd heap, frank wycheck, freddie jones, wesley walls, ben coates, and, say, eric green were all used as primary receiving targets at various points between 1997 and 2002 (i got lazy)?

or do you mean how guys like derek brown, johnny mitchell, irv smith, kyle brady, and rickey dudley (1992-1996) were all drafted in the first round with the hope that they could catch effectively (funny that they were all crap)?

i call bs.


No one on that list produced like a top-tier receiver except for Shockey who is very much in the vein athletically as Tony Gonzalez. They put up productive seasons back in the day, but compared to today's game they would be mediocre at best. Heath Miller would be the second best TE in the game back in the 90s, in fact his numbers now equal those TEs you mentioned and he has three games to play, but he isn't even top-5 at his position now, maybe not even top-10. We might have eight TE with 800 yards receiver and three with 1,000 yards receiving. The position has been redefined. Of that list only Coates has more than 1 season over 800 yards, something that players like Witten and Gates do annually.

Iamcanadian
12-09-2009, 05:54 PM
This guy
http://macfantasie.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/bob-hayes_22.jpg

The fact that Bob Hayes was only mentioned a couple times makes me sad.

We're talking about the player who was the the main driving force behind the biggest schematic expansion of defensive coverages in NFL history.

And, really, this has become two threads. There's rare guys who had a clear effect on how the game developed (Hayes, Deacon Jones, Mike Ditka, etc.) and then there's guys who help shift the expectations for their position or establish a new standard of excellence (Ronnie Lott, Shannon Sharpe, Anthony Munoz, etc.).

There's a pretty big difference there.

Well, I think Bob Hayes was also seen as the guy who partnered up with Haynes to use stick um to help intercept passes. It kind of brought him down a peg or 2 having to use a sticky substance on his hands to intercept passes.
Ditto for Deacon Jones who invented the head slap to better rush the passser, a move no longer legal in the NFL.

Babylon
12-09-2009, 06:01 PM
Well, I think Bob Hayes was also seen as the guy who partnered up with Haynes to use stick um to help intercept passes. It kind of brought him down a peg or 2 having to use a sticky substance on his hands to intercept passes.
Ditto for Deacon Jones who invented the head slap to better rush the passser, a move no longer legal in the NFL.

Lester Hayes (stickem guy) and Mike Haynes Raider corners.

Gay Ork Wang
12-09-2009, 06:25 PM
Well, I think Bob Hayes was also seen as the guy who partnered up with Haynes to use stick um to help intercept passes. It kind of brought him down a peg or 2 having to use a sticky substance on his hands to intercept passes.
Ditto for Deacon Jones who invented the head slap to better rush the passser, a move no longer legal in the NFL.
by that logic Roy Williams should be mentioned

singe_101
12-09-2009, 06:35 PM
i just wanted to repeat this. your favorite player from last year has not changed the game. period.

like, ronnie brown? really? i'm sure it has to do with the wildcat, but it's not like he's the only running back who's shown he can run it. it's not DMC's fault that the raiders are garbage.

i don't even buy moss. he's big and fast and spectacularly talented. how, exactly, did he change the game? there've been other deep threats in history, and there've been plenty of guys who wouldn't catch over the middle.

while we're on it, we're talking about changing THE game, not changing A game. there's a vast wilderness of difference between the two.

Do we have to swear under oath that they changed the game, and we're limited to 3-5 guys? Let's just discuss.

Even if Ronnie Brown wasn't the only one who could do it, he did do it and they went from 1-15 to 11-5. I'm not nominating him for one of the top 10 seasons ever, just a game-changer.

Randy Moss changed the league, he did not invent anything but combined them to have numbers only (surely) bested by Rice until OAK, maybe by Alworth and others especially with PI. But discussing the virtues of 6' to 6'2 WRs who weren't the fastest man in cleats is a whole separate issue. We can go back to Hutson.

4.3 is conservative, in pads. And he can't just bat it down or faux tackle like Deion, Fabian Washington, etc. Chris Johnson is the only recent player that fast with consistent, important touches/targets.

Also, the need for the Sean Taylor safeties with 4.3 speed was stepped up for sure. They didn't need that for Irvin or Bruce.

Also, how many of these hypothetical throws over the middle were lost... he had about 80 catches every year, including 11 1998 starts and Cris Carter also catching about 90 and Reed, et al joining in. One year he did have 106, then 111. Basically healthy until the Oakland dark years.

singe_101
12-09-2009, 06:43 PM
You mean there was a time when people didn't want a tall, freakishly fast receiver? Interesting.

Who could catch, and not get injured, and be useful inside the 20.

I mean speed came up when Fitzgerald was available, 4.48 from what I see. Not a slow guy and can't be covered by an LB.

Most tall guys were like Dwight Clark and deep threats like Flipper Anderson caught about 40 passes. Keyshawn went #1 overall to the Jets but without any.

Timbathia
12-09-2009, 08:35 PM
This is a good thread. There are really three category of players that I can see are being discussed. Players that effectively were the first used in a particular way, players that changed the value or importance of a certain position, and then players that were more dominant at a position than anyone before them. I suppose you can make an argument that each category does count as at least in someway redefining the game (though the amount of redefining diminishes from first to third).

Paranoidmoonduck
12-09-2009, 08:54 PM
Well, I think Bob Hayes was also seen as the guy who partnered up with Haynes to use stick um to help intercept passes. It kind of brought him down a peg or 2 having to use a sticky substance on his hands to intercept passes.
Ditto for Deacon Jones who invented the head slap to better rush the passser, a move no longer legal in the NFL.

Babylon said, you're thinking of Lester Hayes with the stick'um.

As for Jones, I think the head slap only helps his case. He had a move that was so effective it was banned by the league. One could argue that Jones did more to change the way the trench battle was played in the NFL than anyone else.

Malaka
12-09-2009, 08:58 PM
That move is a reason why I don't like Deacon Jones it was such a cheap move especially when you account for the fact that O-lineman were extremely hindered back then with the amount they could actually use their hands. Thats just my opinion, though he obviously did change the NFL because of that move.

Paranoidmoonduck
12-09-2009, 09:01 PM
Everyone was free to use that move, Jones was just the one who was (allegedly) racking up 20 sack seasons by doing so. Same deal with Dick Lane's tendency to beat up receivers.

Malaka
12-09-2009, 09:02 PM
Everyone was free to use that move, Jones was just the one who was (allegedly) racking up 20 sack seasons by doing so. Same deal with Dick Lane's tendency to beat up receivers.

Eh you're right, just not a big fan of the move, but I guess that's why they didn't even count sacks for a period of time.

Shiver
12-09-2009, 09:56 PM
Everyone was free to use that move, Jones was just the one who was (allegedly) racking up 20 sack seasons by doing so. Same deal with Dick Lane's tendency to beat up receivers.

Who is to say that the NFL won't ban some of today's practices? Cut blocking for example; then would we devalue the accomplishments of the era's RB class?

vikes_28
12-09-2009, 11:18 PM
If you look at the NFL prior to 2004 what you will find is Tight Ends were not used as receivers: there were a few way back in the day, Kellen Winslow Sr., Sharpe, but it is only recently that the position has become pass first. I would credit the emergence of Tony Gonzalez as the primary reason the position has changed the way it has. Now every TE needs to have some history in basketball, NFL scouts are now in the gyms looking for the next Antonio Gates, even though they find a few busts like Jai Lewis. (points for whoever remembers him)


On a side note, can announcers please stop talking about what Tony Gonzalez did on the B-Ball court more than a decade ago? Is it still a relevant piece of information? Is there anyone who doesn't know that Tony and Antonio placed basketball once upon a time?

I know, I know! He was an undrafted free agent signed by the Giants in 2006. Tried playing tackle, then went back to basketball.

Paranoidmoonduck
12-09-2009, 11:55 PM
Who is to say that the NFL won't ban some of today's practices? Cut blocking for example; then would we devalue the accomplishments of the era's RB class?

I wasn't trying to implicate that I think less of Deacon Jones or Dike Lane. We don't devalue them, we just place them in the correct context against the the next era's accomplishments. Same as we would do if the NFL makes a major shift again.

mqtirishfan
12-10-2009, 12:42 AM
Randy Moss changed the league, he did not invent anything but combined them to have numbers only (surely) bested by Rice until OAK, maybe by Alworth and others especially with PI. But discussing the virtues of 6' to 6'2 WRs who weren't the fastest man in cleats is a whole separate issue. We can go back to Hutson.


Again, it's not like he revolutionized the game. Football players are just getting more athletic.

wogitalia
12-10-2009, 12:47 AM
I think the biggest change we have seen over the last 5-10 years is the safety position.

What probably started with Lott, has flowed into Dawkins and now the current generation. The safety position has gone from being a making up the numbers position to the core of the best defenses. With OL having become so proficient at stopping pass rushers, rule changes that limited what cornerbacks may do and perhaps even the evolution of RBs and TEs as receivers has made safety far more important and I think that teams like Philadelphia, New England, Pittsburgh and Baltimore have shown what an elite safety will allow you to do defensively, they could certainly be argued as the 4 best defensive teams over the last decade and all of them have had elite safeties that could blitz, cover and run support and that allowed their defensive coordinators to build attacking defenses around their ability.

I think that sort of sums up the changes though, they are more those unique talents that allow coaches to change systems. Dawkins and Polamalu allowed Johnson and LeBeau's Zone Blitzing schemes to go to another level(quite literally by involving the secondary). Randy Moss has been a guy who has allowed the Pats to run a spread offense because his abilities have opened up the underneath passes because he has basically required double coverage over the top since joining the Pats. Other parts have been important, but without that, the speed of the defensive players would be able to stop the spread most likely.

I think we are approaching an interesting time. First the West Coast offenses lead us down a path where precision was more important than athletic ability, making technique important, the trend recently though with the 3-4 defenses has been to add more and more speed and as a result technique has fallen a lot in its importance on the field. I think we are seeing with the likes of Dumervil, Harrison, Brees, Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson, Mathis, Freeney and Welker, amongst others, that teams are starting to look at more than just measurables and starting to focus more on technique again and that because of the above guys, perceptions are slowly changing about what certain positions have to look like. MJD and CJ and Reggie Bush have lead to a big rush of undersized RBs who offer different skills over the last few years, the next logical step to me is we are going to see smaller and quicker LBs in order to slow these guys and similar guys. Brees is going to lead teams to giving smaller accurate QBs a shot, but it they are still going to be up against it for sure.

The biggest one though is the really undersized DEs that are doing well. Elvis and Harrison are the most prominent but there are several other guys that have done really well, I honestly think that with the preoccupation with huge OTs who can handle the Julius Peppers of the world that they may have got to the point where they are so big that short stout players can get underneath them and win leverage consistently. Both Dumervil and Harrison use Bull Rush moves a lot and get great drive doing it and you have to think that has at least a little to do with winning leverage with little effort, and once that is won, 100lbs extra really matters very little. In many ways, I feel like we have moved past the era of giants and are moving into the speedy little persons era. Swings and roundabouts so to speak.

FUNBUNCHER
12-10-2009, 05:37 AM
Anthony Munoz
Kellen Winslow Sr
OJ Simpson


Very few modern players (from the 80s up) changed the game really. Believe it or not, as much as we talk about the game changing over the years, it really hasn't changed that much at all.

The only player from the 80s up that changed the game that I can think of off the top of my head were LT and Randy Moss.

Maaaybe Brian Dawkins. If not Dawkins, then Ronnie Lott before him.

THANK YOU.

As far as re-inventing the TE position, former 1980s Raider Todd Christensen was a dominant receiving TE who just didn't do it long enough to get HOF consideration. Still, he had 3 seasons with over 1000 yards, 2 90 plus catch seasons, a season with over 900 yards receiving and a couple 80 catch years.
Christensen was the first TE I ever knew of who put up WR numbers at the TE position.

Left Tackles are often compared to Pace because it's a modern reference that many can relate to, but he wasn't better than Ogden or a handful of left tackles that came before him.

Ray Lewis, because of his unreal range at ILB earlier in his career, is the best example I can think of a modern player who really doesn't have many historical peers.

If you truly study the game, see the film and talk to folks who saw some of the greats play in their prime, you begin to realize no matter how much the game has changed, it essentially has stayed the same.

And it's kind of ridiculous to argue that if it wasn't for Shannon Sharpe, there never would have been a Tony Gonzalez.
Former Oklahoma AA TE and Eagles alltime great Keith Jackson who entered the league a couple years before Sharpe, was the player Sharpe was often compared to in the 90s, except Jackson was bigger, 250#, and faster, 4.5 speed, than Shannon Sharpe.

BTW, this is the first time I've ever heard Marino described as a mobile QB. Great pocket presence and a wickedly quick release, but dude couldn't outrun his own shadow.

As for using stickum, Iamcanadian, the gloves that modern players use today are so 'tacky' they are able to replicate the effect of stickum back in the day.

The biggest difference in the modern NFL and the past is the de-emphasis on the importance of the running game and supremacy of the passing game.

It's so rare to see 4 or five RBs taken in the 1st round, but there used to be a time when it was common place as top RBs were viewed as elite talents necessary to win championships.

fenikz
12-10-2009, 05:44 AM
although its impossible to find 6'3 230 4.5 SS don't think they would redefine the game if a mass quantity of them existed to follow Adrian Wilson

Brent
12-10-2009, 08:34 AM
Same deal with Dick Lane's tendency to beat up receivers.
he is the reason they banned head tackling. if you ever see a film of his head tackling, you'll be impressed with how effective it is, and then say to yourself, "he's going to break someone's neck doing that."

Bucs_Rule
12-10-2009, 09:03 AM
Whichever punter first discovered how to get the ball to bounce backwards did, not sure who excatly it was. Could have been a coach that tought of it, lots of changes were done by coaches who used a player to execute it.

Was Vrabel the first defensive player to play TE and catch passes, not just block?

Paranoidmoonduck
12-10-2009, 02:26 PM
he is the reason they banned head tackling. if you ever see a film of his head tackling, you'll be impressed with how effective it is, and then say to yourself, "he's going to break someone's neck doing that."

One could actually argue that Lane was probably the most terrifying defensive back in NFL history before the league stopped that method of tackling. Say what you will about Lott or Tatum, but Lane was just brutal.

Timbathia
12-10-2009, 02:27 PM
Whichever punter first discovered how to get the ball to bounce backwards did, not sure who excatly it was. Could have been a coach that tought of it, lots of changes were done by coaches who used a player to execute it.

Was Vrabel the first defensive player to play TE and catch passes, not just block?

The Australian, Darren Bennett (punter originally for the Chargers) in the 90s is usually credited for that style of punt (it is a standard kick in Australian football). That dude was soft for an Australian footballer, but tough for a punter (he has knocked a punt returner out cold in his rookie season).

Monomach
12-10-2009, 04:36 PM
Welllllll.

Sid Luckman was pretty much the first QB to be a real passer. That ought to get a spot. Before him, QBs did a lot of blocking.

Mike Ditka changed TE from a block-only position to what it is today.

wogitalia
12-10-2009, 06:38 PM
The Australian, Darren Bennett (punter originally for the Chargers) in the 90s is usually credited for that style of punt (it is a standard kick in Australian football). That dude was soft for an Australian footballer, but tough for a punter (he has knocked a punt returner out cold in his rookie season).

Yeah that's pretty much spot on. Bennett generally gets the credit for the "Drop Punt" style, its easier to control and obviously the fact that it generally sits up on the first couple of bounces helps pin. The other Aussie punters in the league at the moment are all outstanding at it in Ben Graham, Sav Rocca and Matt McBriar. I dare say that Anthony Rocca will join his big brother in the league somewhere next year, probably even has a bigger leg than Sav.

bigbluedefense
12-11-2009, 10:42 AM
I think a lot of us are confusing great players with guys who changed the game.

Just bc you were a great player, doesn't mean you changed the game. And just because you changed the game, it doesn't necessarily mean you were a great player.

Theres only a handful of guys who were both. You can probably count them on 1 hand. And probably the only guy from the 80s up that qualifies on that hand is LT if you want to get down to it.

We can maybe name some other guys, but at that point, we're reaching.

The only 2 other guys from the 80s up I can think of are Shannon Sharpe and Ronnie Lott, but again, those are shakey choices.

adamprez2003
12-11-2009, 12:18 PM
good thread. I think Kellen Winslow Sr would be the Tight End to revolutionize the modern game by getting more of a pass catcher/ non blocker into the position. Shannon Sharpe came way later

CC.SD
12-11-2009, 12:21 PM
good thread. I think Kellen Winslow Sr would be the Tight End to revolutionize the modern game by getting more of a pass catcher/ non blocker into the position. Shannon Sharpe came way later

You have to throw Ditka a bunch of credit but it's true that KW Sr. was the first time they threw a ridiculous athlete out there basically just to go down the field and catch balls all the time.

21ST
12-11-2009, 12:22 PM
sammy baugh and the forward pass

bigbluedefense
12-11-2009, 01:11 PM
sammy baugh and the forward pass

I hear this often, but I'm usually hesitant to give him too much credit for this.


I mean come on....its the forward pass. Somebody was bound to figure it out.

ElectricEye
12-11-2009, 01:42 PM
One could actually argue that Lane was probably the most terrifying defensive back in NFL history before the league stopped that method of tackling. Say what you will about Lott or Tatum, but Lane was just brutal.

MYdH1tuq8Bg

They show some of it at two minutes. It was really brutal to watch.

CC.SD
12-11-2009, 01:44 PM
/\ it really is surprising he didn't kill somebody with that.

phlysac
12-11-2009, 02:01 PM
MYdH1tuq8Bg


Why is there a Taylor Mays scouting clip on there from 3:41-3:53 ????

Santonio10
12-11-2009, 02:24 PM
I don't know if he's been mentioned yet, Jack Tatum. The most intimidating safety of all-time.

katnip
12-13-2009, 10:28 PM
I remember reading Kellen Winslow Jr was supposed to revolutionize the TE spot like his dad

here's the little write up

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/2004/draft/players/44616.html

How could he had topped what past great TE's did. To me if he never messed his knees up he coulda had a similar impact to Shannon Sharpe.

Iamcanadian
12-14-2009, 12:18 PM
THANK YOU.

As far as re-inventing the TE position, former 1980s Raider Todd Christensen was a dominant receiving TE who just didn't do it long enough to get HOF consideration. Still, he had 3 seasons with over 1000 yards, 2 90 plus catch seasons, a season with over 900 yards receiving and a couple 80 catch years.
Christensen was the first TE I ever knew of who put up WR numbers at the TE position.

Left Tackles are often compared to Pace because it's a modern reference that many can relate to, but he wasn't better than Ogden or a handful of left tackles that came before him.

Ray Lewis, because of his unreal range at ILB earlier in his career, is the best example I can think of a modern player who really doesn't have many historical peers.

If you truly study the game, see the film and talk to folks who saw some of the greats play in their prime, you begin to realize no matter how much the game has changed, it essentially has stayed the same.

And it's kind of ridiculous to argue that if it wasn't for Shannon Sharpe, there never would have been a Tony Gonzalez.
Former Oklahoma AA TE and Eagles alltime great Keith Jackson who entered the league a couple years before Sharpe, was the player Sharpe was often compared to in the 90s, except Jackson was bigger, 250#, and faster, 4.5 speed, than Shannon Sharpe.

BTW, this is the first time I've ever heard Marino described as a mobile QB. Great pocket presence and a wickedly quick release, but dude couldn't outrun his own shadow.

As for using stickum, Iamcanadian, the gloves that modern players use today are so 'tacky' they are able to replicate the effect of stickum back in the day.

The biggest difference in the modern NFL and the past is the de-emphasis on the importance of the running game and supremacy of the passing game.

It's so rare to see 4 or five RBs taken in the 1st round, but there used to be a time when it was common place as top RBs were viewed as elite talents necessary to win championships.

This is a good review but there is no denying that the game has changed considerably. Looking at the players is just a poor way of looking at change in the NFL, they do what their HC's tell them to do. If you want to look at change, there are 2 choices which in a way intermingle with each other.
1) Rule changes, this is always the main impetus for change as it involves every player affected by the rule change. If they outlaw bump and run past 5 yards, you are going to create a new emphasis on the type of CB coaches will prefer while CB's who could bump and run down the field will become a lessor factor in the game. etc. etc. etc. for every rule change that occurs.
2) HC's and sometimes OC's and DC's will change their player's style of play and the technique needed to play under the new rule change. Or if a HC creates a whole new offense or defense in the NFL, players will have to change their game to fit in. When HC's brought in the 3-4, it completely changed how we viewed LB's, DE, and DT's, when other HC's brought in the Cover 2 defense, again some positions were redefined, CB's, Safeties, LB's DLmen. Players rarely impact changes in the NFL, rules and new ideas by HC's do. In the old days when say Shula invented the zone defense, it was a major break from the past and created a whole different type of athlete needed to play their positions. Almost every defensive player's responsibilities became redefined.
Ditto for when Al Davis invented the bump and run in the old AFL and then brought it to the NFL when they merged. He used bump and run down the whole field until it was latter changed to only 5 yards.
I don't think the young people realize how much change has taken place in the NFL, did you know that there was a time that the rules were far more like rugby rules where our game developed from. Right through the 40's and even in the earlier 50's I believe, RB's could get up after they were tackled and keep running, they had to be completely tackled before the play stopped and totally unable to get up and run again.
NFL records are a complete joke, not only have the rules changed immensely, the playing surfaces and conditions are nowhere near what they played on in the 50's and 60's. We used to distinguish between a RB who could run in good weather and a RB who could play in the mud much like horse racing does today. Quite of few of the older games were played on surfaces containing a foot of mud with no drainage, a player when tackled could slide for 20 to 40 yards and be covered from head to foot with mud and still play.
Fans of each era love their own stars rightfully so, and think the records they set make their era's players better than the previous stars from other eras. They don't know how much the game has changed and they don't care. They just look at the numbers and think they know what they are talking about.

Sloopy
12-19-2009, 05:55 PM
I am not reading through 5 pages to see if this was brought up but:
Michael Irvin?
Reason for the push off rules the NFL has in place today

descendency
12-19-2009, 06:00 PM
Let me make this perfectly clear, I am not calling Marino mobile. I am saying he was a true passing QB. He pushed past Fran Tarkenton's records for passing. (which have now been passed and passed again.)

katnip
12-20-2009, 10:39 AM
Any1 got a comment for Kellen Winslow Jr ?

My post on him is the last post on page 4

wogitalia
12-20-2009, 07:33 PM
Any1 got a comment for Kellen Winslow Jr ?

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda. Didn't change the game though.

I stand by that the last guy who changed the game was Darren Bennett with the "drop punt" kick. It wasn't some revolutionary change, but it was a new technique/skill that has modified the game ever so slightly by making punters who utilise it more effective at pinning other teams within the 20. He also was the guy who opened the door for Aussie Rules players to head over to the USA and give punting a go.