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Need help settling a football debate

Discussion in 'NFL Football Forum' started by Crazy Patriot Guy, Aug 26, 2011.

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  1. Crazy Patriot Guy

    Crazy Patriot Guy Rookie

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    #11 Jersey

    Some of my co-workers and I had a debate throughout the day about whether the 1972 Miami Dolphins (or any other team from 40 years or so ago) could compete in the NFL today.

    I say no, saying the size difference will be two much to overcome. That isn't to say that some of those guys weren't big (Csonka would be a big RB right now) but overall the size difference would wear them down and eventually the modern teams would take control. I'd say the average player is faster now as well.

    The argument against it seemed to state over and over that size and strength aren't everything. That's very true but it was if the guys were acting like no modern NFL player has any skills at all, they're simply strong and big. That's obviously not the reality.

    Again, I don't see how they could compete for an entire game giving up so much size, especially by today's NFL rules.
  2. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #51 Jersey

    In Australia we often run into the same discussion about teams from bygone eras competing in the current Australian Football League environment. The overwhelming answer is no (usually agreed upon by players from the era).

    Whilst the general framework remains the same, the nuances, requirements and expectations thanks to advances in professionalism, strategy implementation and general conditioning would make it difficult for past teams to compete wholeheartedly.

    The discussion then moves to leaving the accomplishments of yester-years team in their rightful time; their era and their era alone. Marvel at what a side did in its period of dominance without having to compare them against a team of today.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  3. jcdavey

    jcdavey Rookie

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    yeah you can't really compare eras

    different drugs and supplements and technology
  4. BHSL2

    BHSL2 Rookie

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    The '72 Dolphins would be outclassed by even today's mediocre teams. I think on strength and conditioning alone, the game's a wrap. It's like a college football team taking on a professional team. The players are just more athletic for one, and coaching has changed/evolved. There are plenty of strategies and nuances implemented in today's game that weren't around in '72. You're right, size and skill would bury any team from the 70s vs a modern team.
  5. Ghost of Ben Dreith

    Ghost of Ben Dreith Rookie

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    16-0 would be 0-16.....would love to see it if Shula was coaching them.
  6. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    All anyone has to do is look at draft guides for the past 15 years or so. The players are bigger faster and stronger than they were in the 60's & 70's. There is really no debate on that.

    There are always exception that someone can site for individual players. But overall for the top to bottom of players in the NFL now vs then, there is no debate on that.

    The Dolphins of 1972 would get crushed playing a full NFL schedule of today's players. I would say that the NFL is the one pro sport that the delusion of talent did not take place with expansion. But I do think that right now it's at it's peak, any further expansion will make the overall product weaker.
  7. bagwell368

    bagwell368 Rookie

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    I've thought about this a lot in several sports.

    I'd say in the major NA team sports, 1985 and later is fairly competitive with today. I think circa 1970 basketball and football would have few players that could hack it today. Baseball and hockey a bit better I believe. 1955, forget it, I think Jim Brown is the first football player with a shot and he came later. There is no way a guy like Jim Otto or Ray Nitschke or Sam Adams could play today as they were - none.

    As for the Fins, they are massively overrated. They played teams with an aggregate .342 or something equally awful W-L%. The 1986 Giants would have beat that team by 35 on any given day, and the Pats of 2007 while Morris was still in one piece would have beat them by 70 on any given day.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  8. Jangles

    Jangles PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Are you going to print this thread and be like, "See told you so. Guys on the internet agreed with me"

    But seriously the answer is no. I'm not sure how it's even debatable
  9. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Personally I completely discount the differences in size, speed and style of play when comparing players or teams of different eras.

    To me it is unfair to look at it that way. Every player, coach and team builds upon what was learned from pervious players, coaches and teams. In this example the 1972 Dolphins today would have the benefit of the knowledge of everything that has happened over the last forty years in terms of nutrition, training, film study, healthy lifestyle, etc. Similarly, put todays players in a time machine so they are born in 1950 and they're not nearly as big, fast, or have as much knowledge of how to prepare for a game.

    To put it another way, if you are going to look at speed and size as a determination of 'who is the best', then you may as well not even bother having any 'best player ever' or 'best team ever' debates because today's player and team will always win. Then next year (okay, next decade) the same thing will happen and whomever is the best at that future date would be the 'best ever', ad infinitum.



    In my opinion the best way to compare players or teams from different eras is to compare them against their contemporaries. While that Dolphin team should absolutely be remembered and credited with that undefeated season, they were not remotely close to being the most dominant team in a single season or over the course of several seasons in my opinion.

    To me the biggest accomplishment of that Dolphin team was not that they went undefeated, a fact everyone is aware of thanks to the annual reminders. Instead, the big story which is vastly overlooked is that they persevered and won the NFL championship despite losing their starting quarterback, and having to rely on a 38-year old journeyman career backup - a player whose biggest claim to fame prior to that was being the QB of the first NFL team to lose to an AFL team in the Super Bowl.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  10. Crazy Patriot Guy

    Crazy Patriot Guy Rookie

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    #11 Jersey

    Nope, just wanted to make sure I wasn't crazy in believing those old teams wouldn't stand a chance today. Now, if my printer was working, I'd make 30 copies. ;)
  11. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The issue is that training nutrition and many other factors weren't known at that time, so IF those players had the same back ground as today's players then they could certainly compete, People haven't changed genetically much if any from 1972, so the differences are either the above or PED's.
  12. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    The key missing qualifier is "How long would they have to adapt to the modern game?"

    One offseason isn't nearly enough.

    2 years of training? It starts becoming more reasonable. The first year is just strength, conditioning, film work, and basic individual techniques. The second year is more like regular modern training.
  13. scout

    scout Rookie

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    #15 Jersey

    Not only would the size be a disavantage, but they also were one dimensional. Bob Griese might be in the HOF, but that doesn't mean he was impressive. I think he completed 5 passes in that Superbowl win. Thus, great runners behind a small offensive line which would get destroyed against today's defense.

    • TE Marv Fleming 6-4 232

    • LT Doug Crusan 6-5 250

    • LG Bob Kuechenberg 6-2 253

    • C Jim Langer 6-2 250

    • RG Larry Little 6-1 265

    • RT Norm Evans 6-5 250

    New England Patriots defensive line:

    Wilfork 6-2 325
    Haynesworth 6-6 335
    Warren 6-4 330
    Ellis 6-5 290

    Seriously, Is someone actually going to argue the point?
    I like the matchup between Vince and Langer.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  14. Crazy Patriot Guy

    Crazy Patriot Guy Rookie

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    #11 Jersey

    Very well said. I agree, you can't compare the two eras. But these guys were determined that the 72 Dolphins could step into a time machine tonight and face off tomorrow against current teams and handle things. They could play as is, no adjustments to modern trainings, nothing. That's when I had to call bull ****.
  15. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #61 Jersey

    It's debatable because some folks WANT to believe. They HAVE to believe because they have so much wrapped up emotionally in it. Sometimes nostalgia clouds one's judgements to the facts of a situation. Those "good old days" usually weren't, and that simple time you yearn for was also a time where people died younger, suffered longer and often had a much harder time with things than we have today.

    As a historian, one other thing about debates like this really bothers me: judging a team, or person, or event, outside of their own time/environment. You can't use today's standards or morals or whatever to judge someone or something from the past. To be fair & objective, you can only really do a comparison to how that team, or that player or coach or whatever, performed compared to those around them. A few years forward and back is about it. they were products of their own time, their environment, both socially, physically, financially, etc.

    It's an interesting debate to compare the '72 Dolphins with the 2007 Patriots, but it's pointless for anything other than the sake of doing it.

    Respects,
  16. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The '72 team wouldn't stand a chance in a game today. Every single play they'd be called for pass interference, roughing the passer, hitting a defenseless receiver...
  17. Jangles

    Jangles PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I laughed out loud
  18. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If they are going to look at it in that narrow of a viewpoint, then yes - there's absolutely no way that team or any other from a previous era could compete against modern teams.


    Sorry if I veered the thread off-track; it's just that I often see that same argument thrown out there in any of the multitude of 'who's the greatest ever' debates that constantly crop up. In those discussions the height, weight and speed of players from differing are irrelevant, in my opinion.
  19. Crazy Patriot Guy

    Crazy Patriot Guy Rookie

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    #11 Jersey

    No worries, it was a great read.
  20. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    The teams from the 70s? ...no

    Now the 1989 49ers or the 1985 Bears could be a different story....those teams were Dominating almost the entire season....the Dolphins were good and better than the rest but were somewhat soft in that weak year of 72 and could not do that today.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
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