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Can There Be Such a Thing Too Much Scoring?

As you struggled to get out of bed this morning after getting blackout drunk from so, so many points last night, here’s a little Hair o’ the Dog to help you with that offensive hangover:

–105 points is the 3rd most ever scored in a single game.
–In case Joe Tessitore failed to mention it enough, those were the most points scored ever on Monday Night Football.
–The two teams combined for 1,001 yards.
–There six lead changes, four in the 4th quarter.
–The O/U was 64, the highest for any game since 1986.
–The Over hit with 2:24 left in the 3rd and was exceeded by 41 points.
–The Chiefs became the first team to ever score 50 points and lose.
–The Chiefs loss dropped the record of teams who scored 50 to 216-1 (.995).
–The Chiefs joined the 1966 Giants as the only teams to lose two games in which they scored 40+ points.
–The quarterbacks combined for 891 passing yards.
–There were 14 touchdowns scored. On the season, the Bills have 13.

I could belabor the point further, but you get it. You don’t need me telling you there was a metric ass ton of offense, two defensive scores and 21 accepted penalties. The question is being asked if that was the best regular season game in NFL history. And if the Chiefs and Rams meet in the Super Bowl, the Earth might crack in two like an egg from the excitement.

Which brings me to my point: Is there such a thing as too much offense?

I’m not going to be grandpa at the Thanksgiving table prattling on about how things nowadays are terrible and killing the buzz. I’m not about to talk like some persecuted soccer purist about the magnificent, symmetrical grandeur of the nil-nil tie. So let’s skip the part where you accuse me of wishing for the leather helmet days and games of 3-0. And instead, let’s go to the other, opposite illogical extreme and ask if we’d really like more games with no defense at all. Where pro football is reduced to the NBA All Star Game.

We could compare it to the Big 12 like a lot of people have, but no Big 12 game got this out of hand all season. I don’t want this to be the norm, but I think last night is where the NFL is headed. With virtually no stops. Where defenses are basically reduced to letting receivers roam wide open all game while hoping for a strip sack as the only way to kill a drive. Where what used to be half the game is eliminated by the rules. Where the vision Bill Polian brought to the Rules Committee – his wettest dream – comes to fruition. Where an otherwise good thing like touchdowns get force-fed to you in an unlimited supply for all eternity:

Look, last night was wild. I loved it as much as you did even though I had no Fantasy players in it. But if this is going to be our reality, I promise you it’ll get old, fast. I used to think I couldn’t see enough offense in baseball. Then the Roid Era came and I found out over time there are only so many 14-11 games you can watch before the sight of a ball clearing a fence stops being special and starts becoming routine. In the middle of that era Pedro Martinez hit his peak and his games were way more special than any eight home run slugfest. Just ask any Mets fan if he would’ve liked to have seen Jake deGrom give up some runs because scoring equals excitement.

By the same token, what makes a 75-yard touchdown pass great is that it’s rare. And therefore special. Or it’s supposed to be. Be careful what you wish for because when they start becoming commonplace (and it already feels like we’re seeing 10 of them a week), they’re going to lose their appeal. Again, taking it to the illogical extreme reductio ad absurdum, if uncovered receivers catching bombs with no one around them is what we’re after, then let’s limit defensive unit to nine guys instead of just emasculating defenders with penalties.

I guess it comes down to a matter of personal preference. It’s not like I’m a huge fan of 3 & outs with a passion for the fine art of the punt. But I’ve seen legendary defenses [Opens the Cliche Generator app] impose their will on an offense. And while it’s a different type of excitement than watching a six passing touchdown explosion, I think it’s no less exciting. The 1985 Bears are the gold standard, obviously. But I’ll add the Bill Parcells Giants. The 2000 Ravens. The 2003 Patriots. The Legion of Boom. There’s something about watching a collection of tough sons of bitches bully an elite offense and crush their spirit that simply speaks to my heart. But I’m afraid we’ve seen the last of them. When the TV ratings come in from Chiefs-Rams we might never see a defensive back allowed to put his hands on a receiver again. And this does not gladden me, it saddens me.