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SPF's Week One Monday: Channeling SEC over Big Ten

Posted: Sep 10, 2007

12 of our 13 SPF teams have played.  Only the Bengals remain with a tough Monday Night battle against the Ravens. 

It's only week one, but let's review what we know.  The Swampland footprint loves football.  It is part of the culture.  However, the Swampland footprint is hit or miss with the NFL.  SPF is here to examine why and advise teams on how to improve it.

Let's face itm owners of SPF franchises, you have an amazing opportunity.  You have a football crazy market.  You also are in one of the few constantly growing markets in the USA.  You just have to know who you are potential fans are and how to appeal to them.


The big NY or LA media often sees the South and the midwest as being pretty much the same thing.  Whether they call it the "Bible Belt" or "rural America" or "middle America" or "fly over country", there is little distinction made between the two regions.  We can parse through the many differences between the South and the midwest, but there is no better line in the sand than its college football.

College Football in each region is shaped by their respective cultures.  Both represent the mindset very well. 

The athletes/systems paradigm: The midwest is the home for "old school", manufacturing- based corporate America.  It is home to the "company man".  Big Ten football is characterized by their coaches - Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and the like.  These men had their way of doing things.  Players are recruited to fit their system.  Coaches are judged on how they run their systems.

The SEC does have some of this like Bear Bryant's wishbone or Steve Spurrier's "Fun and Gun", but it is all about athletes.  The fans can respect a coach's system only so far, but they also know that a superior athlete can make all the difference.  Ask a Georgia fan about Herschel Walker or ask an Auburn fan about Bo Jackson.  Ask an Oklahoma fan about Adrian Peterson or an Arkansas fan about Darren McFadden. 

In all of these cases, coaches and fans understood that having a superior RB talent made everything a whole lot easier running the ball.  Overnight, any SEC school that gets a star RB might go from passing to running in the same way that Tennessee implemented a pro-style offense to take advantage of Peyton Manning's skill set. 

Except for rare cases, the Big Ten favors systems and will target players that fit the system rather than tailoring systems around star players.


There are far too many NFL owners that don't understand that they have to sell the NFL to SEC football fans.  That is the competition.  Unfortunately, too many teams have coaches that take a Big Ten approach to the game.  This is a franchise-killing approach.

Jack Del Rio is starting to become an SPF whipping boy.  Despite owner Wayne Weaver's belief in him, Del Rio's approach to coaching this team is killing the long term viability of the Jags in the Jacksonville.  The Jags under Tom Coughlin threw the ball and scored points.  They also sold out games.  The Jags under Jack Del Rio play 13-10 games on a regular basis.  They have won more than they lost of those over the last two seasons, but it is still boring.

Dan LeBetard points out in his column today that Cam Cameron's offensive reputation look a lot like the same boring brand of football that Dolphins' fans have suffered through since Marino's retirement.  In Cameron's defense, the team has no playmakers to speak of.  I guess this makes the Ted Ginn pick a little more defensible now. 

Ugh.  It took Bobby Petrino one game to end his honeymoon in Atlanta.  Replacing Vick with Joey Harrington wasn't Petrino's choice, but the results have been exactly what most people expected.  Harrington is a disaster.  This quote from ESPN's KC Joyner says it all:

Harrington did well at times but his overall metrics were really bad. Low success percentage, low YPA, mediocre bad decision percentage. And all of that despite the Dolphins doing everything they could to tailor the system around him. It could be a long year for the Falcons in 2007.

Send Harrington to the bench now, Bobby.

Jon Gruden's offense is becoming like Groundhog Day.  He keeps tying to re-create his Oakland offense which was built on veterans like Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, and Rich Gannon.  However, it might make a little more sense finding younger, faster, cheaper, and more durable players.  Jeff Garcia was already knocked out in game one.  This doesn't bode well.

Gruden has had several drafts now, but the team seems thin as Mary Kate Olson every year.  Gruden is a good coach, but the Bucs are starting to remind us of a good Conference USA team playing an SEC team.  If everything goes perfect, they can win, but the Bucs best will never beat a good NFL team's best.  The loss to Seattle on Sunday proved that.

Joe Henderson of the Tampa Trib has already started the Gruden firing watch.

These four coaches better be finding a way to get more creative on offense.  The sad thing is that 3 of the 4 are offensive coaches.  Only Del Rio has a defensive background.  Still, Del Rio's Jags have picked offensive player every year he's been there but this year so something is out of whack.

At least Cowboys owner Jerry Jones understands the vaue of a high-powered offense.  The Cowboys have been taking some arrows in the Dallas press about their lack of defense against the Giants last night, but this year's offense appears ready to outscore anyone.

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