NFL enthusiasts are thrilled to watch the Atlanta Super Bowl share their explosiveness with the former team that won the ATL League Grand Match.
The biggest show on the grass.
Yes, at the turn of the century, there was a group that shared many traits of levity with these Rams and Patriots. Dick Vermeil – a defense-focused coach – has for decades used a fast-paced strategy with a resourceful quarterback, decisive receivers, a running back to the Hall of Fame and an offensive line that could dominate by blocking playing on the ground or protecting the passer.
Above all, this team starring Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and a lesser known group has adopted the attitude of attacking a defense from first to last breakdown.
They were not as laborious as the Patriots can do, and they had no rising star watching him like Sean McVay with the current Rams. What the 1999 Rams brought to the Super Bowl in early 2000 was a killer instinct when they had the ball that the two teams that will meet on February 3 also have – but not so dramatically.
"That team and that time, football saw everyone with a 3-meter spirit and a cloud of dust in December and January, and you had to run the ball to win was a kind of mantra." said Warner, who entered the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 2017. "We were one of the first to show that you can win by throwing first. I guess all of this is relative with an extremely talented team, because Marshall has traveled nearly 1,400 yards.
"But if you think about it, we've kind of ushered in the new era, the fantastic football and the fan base, not just the hardest. I think this marked the beginning of a new era for the NFL and what people would see. That brought us where we are now: people like the offensive and like to see the mark. Even a lot of rules give you a little more freedom to do it. "
Freedom is so, well, free that this year, the NFL recorded a touchdown record with 1,371, beating the previous mark in 2013 by 33; and finished second in 2013 with 11,952 points.
Three teams – Chiefs (35.3%, Rams (32.9%) and Saints (31.5%)]- averaged at least 30 points per game. Kansas City scored 565 points, the third highest total in the history of the NFL.
When the St. Louis Rams were celebrating like in 1999, they scored 526 points; ranked first in yards, passing yards and in TD passes; and were second in the rushing yards at the attempt. Faulk has accumulated 1,381 yards and seven touchdowns, caught 87 balls for 1,087 yards, with five more touchdowns, and was the offensive player of the year in the NFL for the first of three consecutive seasons.
All that Warner has managed to do is win the first of his two world championship titles. Warner stepped in when Trent Green starter ripped his knee in pre-season. His ascent forward was not projected at this stage.
"At the university, in northern Iowa, we often played an offensive game, which impacted my skills," says Warner. "When I played Arena Football, we scored 60 to 70 points per game. So, my mentality in the NFL was not that we would score 25 or 30 points, but every time we touch the ball we are supposed to score. Why do we have to bang? If we go crazy, what do we do wrong?
This philosophy has certainly contradicted Vermeil's earlier approach. To his eternal credit, however, Vermeil acknowledged what he had offended. And he also went 5-11, then 4-12 in his previous two years in St. Louis. Winning immediately was therefore a priority for the veteran coach to keep his position.
So he released coordinator Mike Martz and the rest of the offensive.
"The talent may not have been a bit refined, but it was there," said Vermeil. "We thought we could be productive in attack, but does someone really expect to be so productive?" I'm not sure of that.
Well, Warner did it.
"I've never really seen the game differently," he says. "I was so used to attacking and throwing the ball and scoring and even more and scoring. This led to what we did with the Rams and what we accomplished. "
What they accomplished was the forerunner of what we see now week after week in the NFL. You know, 5,000-yarders, 50-player shifts and the kind of numbers that thrill fantastic players.
"We were successful early, and every time you want to change something … what do you do if you do not have success right away? This success allows you to continue to say, "Let's see how sustainable this is."
It lasted nearly two decades, with no signs of slowing down.
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