Starting Lineups: An Obituary For Defense In The NFL

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One hundred touchdowns.

859 total points.

The NFL broke an almost year-old record from Week 17 last year with a record number of touchdowns in Week 14. You can see more of this information on the NFL and their picks here.

Yes, many believe that weather played a role in the dizzying amount of TDs scored thanks to the winter storm that blanketed several parts of the country this past weekend. The wind compelled some teams to run a little more and challenged others to sling the pill against it.

However, the NFL and the country have seen bigger storms, bigger snowfall totals, denser fogs and more freezing rains hit their markets before. Though this system – which did far more than make some footballs slippery – provided the background to some indelible images for years to come, it isn’t the complete reason for the offensive onslaught.

If the last decade-plus has not shown us already, we can officially say that the concept of defense in the NFL is dead.

If you were a football fan before fantasy football became the sport’s kinda-legalized gambling co-partner, you’ve probably resigned yourself to the fact that the defenses that helped make the sport and league are probably never going to come back in the ways you remembered. While some changes to how defense is played had to be made in the name of player safety – a nebulous matter despite best efforts from the league – one has to wonder if at some point the league will have to give something back to the guys paid to challenge these offenses.

On top of the rule changes, officiating has undergone greater scrutiny than ever before, and a number of questionable pass interference penalties ignited the scoring spree in some of this past week’s games. Injuries, a constant in sports, seem to have even more of an impact than past seasons. Worst of all, there must be something missing in how defense is actually being taught before these players make the NFL. At the collegiate and high school levels, it seems as if defense lags so far behind offense that the games can appear as glorified scrimmages.

Then again, a majority of games involving the New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos look kind of like those early September cream-puff games.

In what’s already been a season with about a handful of legitimately good teams, a mass amount of mediocrity and a sackful of terrible ones, this particular week should serve less as a reason to break out confetti and more of a reason to lay a wreath for your team’s secondary. Or linebackers. Or defensive line.

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