I've noted several times that NFL teams as a whole are creating a trend that places a heavy emphasis on the offensive side of the ball. The quarterback position, and by extension the offensive line's pass blocking, have become without a doubt the number one most important building block in building, or in the Kansas City Chiefs case, re-building a team.
As we continue our discussions regarding who and what position the Chiefs should select with the third overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, I wanted to throw a few numbers at you to demonstrate the offensive trend in the NFL.
The average NFL game in 2008 had a combined total of 44.06 points per game. As Rich McKay, co-chair of the NFL's Competition Committee and President of the Atlanta Falcons noted in his conference call with the media the other day, this is the highest the league has seen since 1970 and the ninth highest of all time.
In addition to that, NFL teams combined for an average of 654.5 yards per game in 2008, which is the 8th highest tally of all time. The spike in yards is a correlation to the emphasis NFL teams have given to the passing game.
Before 1990, only five times did a quarterback attempt over 600 passes. Nowadays that's common place as the NFL leader in pass attempts has gone over 600 five of the last seven years.
It's not just the offenses that are excelling at putting points on the board either. The kicking games are becoming more and more sophisticated as the years go by. The culmination of this was in 2008 when NFL kickers hit 84.5% of their attempts - the highest success rate in the history of the NFL.
I'd be stating the obvious if I said scoring a ton of points translates into wins. In fact, the 2004 Chiefs (7-9) were the last team to finish in the top 10 and not win at least eight games.
With the NFL emphasizing the offensive side of the ball, the Chiefs have two options:
- Address the offense (specifically the offensive line) and keep up with the rest of the NFL.
- Address the defense and stay ahead of the curve on how to stop these offenses.
These trends are also cyclical, as McKay noted in the conference call. Offenses will spike until defensive coordinators figure out a game plan to stop them.
I'm not arguing for one side or the other in the 2009 Draft. I'm just saying that the Chiefs would be wise to note the direction offenses in the league are headed - and that's up.