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The Evolution of the NFL: An Analysis from Best Tickets

Tonight, Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins will be in New Orleans to face the Saints on Monday Night Football.  In order to win, they will have to defeat Drew Brees and one of the most proficient aerial attacks in all of the NFL.

The Saints have consistently been one of the top offenses in the NFL over the past half-decade and it’s been led by a passing game that has seen Brees throw for more than 5,000 yards the past two seasons and three of the last five.  Granted, the NFL as a league has seen the passing game thrive over the past few years.  Nine times a quarterback has thrown for more than 4,900 yards and all but two of them occurred before 2011 (1984 by Dan Marino with 5,084 yards and 2008 by Drew Brees with 5,069 yards.)

Today, Best Tickets ran a phenomenal blog piece on the evolution of the NFL offense, proving unequivocally that the NFL is ushering in an unprecedented era of passing teams, led by the likes of the New Orleans Saints.  Using data from as far back as 1932, Best Tickets demonstrated the increased usage and success in the passing game for NFL teams over the past few decades.   It’s a great, quick read and gives you a very good idea on when teams started throwing more and why teams continue to throw more.

Until now, it looked like a pipe dream that the Dolphins could become one of those teams blessed with a powerful passing offense.  Ever since Marino left, Miami’s quarterback position has been a turnstile for mediocrity with only Chad Pennington’s 11-5 campaign as a successful demonstration of throwing the ball.  Tonight is certainly a showcase for Ryan Tannehill to see if he can break the mold and become an upper-echelon signal caller in the NFL.  If he can keep up with Brees tonight and pull off a road win, the NFL will be put on notice.  And hopefully Miami will soon be the passing example for other teams to follow.


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