If you’ve ever played me in Madden or even talked about football for 2 seconds, you wouldn’t be surprised to know that the fullback is far and away my favorite player on the field (in football, not rugby. Those guys are pussies). Short yardage work and blocking has been their primary function since the forward pass was introduced. Over time, as newer (some would say gimmicky) formations have come into favor, such as the singleback, shotgun, and pistol. If these formations use a running back, that back MUST be fast as speed has become more valuable than strength. This has probably been a natural evolution of the game seeing as blocking and stances have come a long way and the average size of the adult male human has gone through the roof after they figured out that Polio thing. Anyhow, stronger and more effective linemen mean that you no longer need to quadruple-team a guy with your guard, center, full and half back to get a pass off. Furthermore, half backs, especially the beloved Matt Forte, could make for excellent receivers, particularly in the flat for an escape route for QBs. This should all seem remedial but if you look at any team’s current roster, you will see at least one player definitely listed as FB. This too is a response to a changing game. Most teams feature a premier HB but frequently give snaps to the 2nd and 3rd string guy to get them a break. With a full back, you can have a freakishly large but deceptively quick guy in to block or run it up the gut for a few yards, giving some breathing room for your 1st stringers. The Chicago Bears’ FB Paul Lasike even brings a nice balance to the passing attack, seeing as he’s got some hands from playing rugby for BYU before selling out, I mean, cashing in, on playing football for the Mighty Mormons.
Hello, old friend
This Renaissance of smash mouth football hasn’t just been isolated to the back field. Look at any player rankings for fantasy football and you’ll see a whole mess of tight ends in the top 50. Not only are these guys capable of blocking in power run schemes as seen above, but they are tailor made for busting up zone defenses over the middle or for flag routes in the endzone. And I don’t just mean anyone. The modern tight end is a freak of nature (ie Gronk). They can do anything a receiver can but can actually stay on a block when it matters. Nowadays there is a blur between tight end and receiver but guys that cause that blur like Tyler Eifert, Gronk, and Jimmy Graham are the future of football, not to mention some of the biggest stars in the NFL.
So goodbye west coast offense and hello smash mouth, my personal favorite style of playing and/or watching football.