Recently, our beloved Vic Ketchman penned an editorial piece that tried to make the case that physicality is not as important as it once was to a team's success. As always, he used his favorite team, the Steelers, as an example of a team that will be hurt by the new rule changes.
I agree with Vic on the premise of not having any new "safety" rules, however, I don't think it neuters the game. Vic tries to make the case that 50 passes a game will become the norm, however, this simply is not the case. The new rules should have virtually no impact on the standard, "run the ball and stop the run" mentality that made this team so great a few seasons ago. No bone-crushing hits over the middle against defenseless receivers. Dumb rule, but still, it will not impact the running game.
No going after the QB's knees. Again, dumb rule; players are taught to finish out plays from pee-wee league on to the NFL, and to suddenly say that a player can't go for a QB's legs when he is blocked down, is a travesty. We should all operate under the assumption that no player would intentionally try to end another's career. This may not be the case, but to change the game for the sins of a few players is really beyond stupid.
No wedges of 3 or more players on kickoff returns. Dumb rule, but at least it has no impact on the running game itself. If Vic's point was that it will be easier to pass now, therefore more teams will take advantage of the opportunity, he's wrong. The minute teams start subbing in their smallish DT's to rush Peyton Manning, I can promise you that he'll change the play to a run of some sort. Audibles will become more common, and we'll see David change the play at the line more frequently. These things even out, and to say that fundamentally the game won't be won by the most physical team is outright foolish. Big hitters will still be coveted at Safety, and the rule against hitting defenseless recievers has nothing to do with hitting a player to dislodge a catch from being made.
These are people, and people can be broken. They're not robots or Madden players who have no regard for themselves or their bodies. Their will can be broken, and heart/will is just as important to winning as having talent. If you physical demoralize a team for 3 quarters and dominate the line of scrimmage, do you think their chances of a 4th quarter comeback are better or worse? Physicality wins out over finesse, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Now, if the NFL ever goes to a two-hand touch rule, then I'd say we might be in trouble, but for now, let's just out muscle the competition.