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Players that re-defined the current game

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  • #31
    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


    Originally posted by bearsfan_51
    Show me your Wang, if you will.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by njx9
      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.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by descendency View Post
        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.
        And proud of it!!!

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        • #34
          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
          Last edited by phlysac; 12-09-2009, 01:39 PM.

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          • #35
            Bob ************* Hayes.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by singe_101 View Post
              Vrabel :D
              As a LB/TE hybrid?

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              • #37
                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).

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                • #38
                  yeah its really tough to say.

                  i think coordinators changed the game more than players.

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                  • #39
                    Bob Hayes.

                    "Every light must fade, every heart return to darkness!"
                    -San Francisco 49ers: Five Time Super Bowl Champions-
                    Originally posted by Borat
                    Oh, my bad. Didn't realize SWDC was the pinnacle of class and grace.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Bengalsrocket View Post
                      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.

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                      • #41

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                        • #42
                          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.
                          Last edited by umphrey; 12-09-2009, 03:52 PM.

                          Thanks to BK for the sig

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by umphrey View Post
                            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?

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by umphrey View Post
                              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.

                              Sig by the sigmaster BoneKrusher. Each one is a masterpiece
                              Originally posted by BaLLiN72
                              i wish NFLDC had something like "wall to wall" where we could see Brodeur and Job's conversations.
                              Originally posted by Job
                              NFLDC would be jizzing itself non-stop.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by keylime_5 View Post
                                fran tarkenton.
                                I'd vote for Tarkenton as well.
                                And proud of it!!!

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