Well known it is that fans follow sports driven by passion and emotions. I am one of them. It isn’t coincidence that I have never been able to participate in debates of the best this or best that without referring to the way players made me feel when I watched them.
Styles of play can also generate allegiances the same way players or teams can do. In my case, there’s a certain style of tennis that I love watching, some football tactics have more my love than others, and this happens too with American Football.
The Baltimore Ravens play a certain style of read option offense, very well adapted to attack the weaknesses of current NFL defensive schemes and personnel formations, that is being extremely hard to stop for even the top defenses in the league. This system orbits around a QB that delivers very good handoff fakes, is extremely fast and elusive in the cuts, and knows very well the weak points of every rival formation. A pair of competent Tight Ends and versatile backs complete the set necessary to run this offense.
I just happen to stylistically and aesthetically dislike this way of playing NFL offense. This, added to the buzz and hype that the Ravens seem to be collecting around NFL analysts and journalists, make me see them as the rival to beat.
Let’s see if there’s any creative defensive coordinator that comes with the solution to force this Ravens offense to play on the back foot. The 49ers showed some hints with Sherman’s strip ball, but San Francisco’s front never seemed to be able to decipher which runner kept the ball. On the bright side for Ravens’ detractors (not haters), the 49ers were able to successfully run the football through the middle more times than we all could expect. If that is a Ravens’ weakness I am looking forwards to see how do other teams try to exploit it.
Once again we are confronted with an exciting month of December in the NFL.