Give me potent offenses over 3 yards and a cloud of dust
Old-school Big Ten football, with all due respect to Neil and anyone else, was boring.
Give me spread offenses. Give me clever game plans. Give me high-concept passing attacks. Give me points, lots of them.
Don’t give me 14-10 or 13-6 games, or God forbid the 6-4 game that made your eyes bleed and set the sport back 100 years.
Watching Penn State football the past 2 ¢ years has been tremendous fun. Getting rid of the old 3 yards and a cloud of dust mentality and replacing it with 40-yard passes and quick scores has been an exciting and necessary evolution.
When I say the addition of Joe Moorhead as offensive coordinator in 2016 was the single-biggest factor in the Nittany Lions’ return to national prominence, that opinion is based entirely on the team winning while lighting up scoreboards and adopting modern offensive football philosophies.
I realize my opinion may sound blasphemous to longtime Penn State fans, who for decades were accustomed to one style of football — defense first, don’t take many chances on offense and win low-scoring contests.
There’s no debating that PSU used that formula to achieve tremendous success for decades. But when it comes to the kind of football I prefer to watch, that has never been it.
I want to be entertained by sports. I want to see skill players making plays. I want to see dynamic quarterbacks whipping the ball all over the field.
I was a huge Miami Dolphins fan growing up, primarily because I loved Dan Marino and the magic he could perform throwing a football. And that was well before most NFL teams had figured out how to have a potent passing attack.
Most football fans here grew up watching the Steelers, who were built around defense and a strong running game, as well as Penn State, also built around defense and a strong running game.
That’s really traditional Big Ten football, and after watching it for so long, it’s natural that Neil and many other fans around here are fond of it.
To each his own.
The 14-10 game I mentioned earlier was a reference to Penn State’s iconic national championship victory over Miami in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl. But there will never, ever be another national title game that low scoring, and teams that can’t get to 30 points against just about any opponent really can no longer win a title.
The 13-6 game was a reference to the huge win at Ohio State in 2008 when Mark Rubin forced Terrelle Pryor to fumble.
Those are two of PSU’s most important victories ever. And they will always have a special place in Nittany Lion lore, despite so few points being scored.
That 6-4 loss to Iowa in 2004, on the other hand, was old-school Big Ten football run amok. No one can deny that was a travesty of offensive football.
No matter the sport, I want offense. I want to see home runs in baseball, a bunch of 3s in basketball and a slew of touchdown passes in football.
Which is why I’ll take the version of Penn State football we’ve seen for the past 2 ¢ years over the old-school Big Ten style any day.
Cory Giger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.