NFL Is the New NBA: Say Goodbye to Defense and Tune In for the Last 2 Minutes

WesAnalyst ISeptember 21, 2011

The Patriots can't play a lick of defense. And neither can anyone else.
The Patriots can't play a lick of defense. And neither can anyone else.Marc Serota/Getty Images

I texted a friend during the Sunday Night football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons. We ripped the play-calling, wondered how long it would take before Vick would get hurt and then came across an odd observation: The NFL is the new NBA.

I'm never going to say the NFL is on the same level as the NBA in terms of an overall product, but the way both sports are played and watched is eerily similar.

What is the biggest cliche about watching the NBA and the style in which teams play?

Don't waste your precious time watching the game, until the last two minutes. Both teams will go on runs due to a lack of defense. And with limited defensive effort no lead is safe and all hell will break loose as the fourth quarter comes to an end.

Sure, you might miss a highlight-reel dunk, a shooter go unconscious from beyond the arc and a handful of other plays. But it makes no sense to sift through all of it when you get everything you need in the final 120 seconds 

That's when Kobe Bryant makes everyone's jaw drop and when Dirk Nowitzki proves he is one of the best players in the world.

No one cares about Dwight Howard altering a shot or Tim Duncan pulling down a board in crunch time. Maybe people who think they are true basketball fans care about it. The majority of the public could care less though.

It doesn't make one side right or wrong, but that's how it is.

It's all too familiar to what NFL fans have watched so far. All you have to do is edit out a couple sport-specific terms and swap superstar names.

I'm not saying it's completely bad.

I have been entertained by defenseless efforts such as the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers opening-night tilt. Up and down the field they went and there was nothing the defenses could do.

And Week 2's thriller between the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders was actually a snore-fest in the first half. But if you tuned in for the final minutes you would have thought it was the game of the year.

At what point though are teams going to step up and play solid defense throughout a game?

Yes, I know the Steelers pitched a shutout, the Lions surrendered a mere 23 points in two games and there are eight teams who have allowed less than 300 yards per game.

The only rebuttal I need is the schedule and the talent. Look at who those teams have played and who attempted to act like a quarterback.

Pittsburgh feasted off Seattle's Tarvaris Jackson and his ineptitude.

Detroit let up a field goal against Matt Cassel and a Chiefs offense playing without running back Jamaal Charles.

And the eight teams who haven't allowed 600 yards this year had the luxury of going up against the likes of Luke McCown, Kerry Collins, Matt Hasselbeck, Alex Smith and the aforementioned Jackson and Cassel.

Off the top of my head, the Ravens and Bears had the only good defensive efforts against respectable teams.

I looked it up and I'm sticking to it. Kind of.

The Ravens allowed 315 yards against the Steelers and the Bears gave up 366 yards to the Falcons.

Okay, the yards against isn't great. So how did they keep points off the board?


The Ravens and Bears combined to force 10 turnovers, with the Ravens forcing seven. That's alarming to me.

Are teams only able to make stops via turnovers and horrendous talent?

That's basically what happens in the NBA. We see a score on the bottom, which reads 90-79 and think to ourselves, "Hmm, whoever won that game, must have played pretty solid defense." About 10 minutes later, the score scrolls by again and we notice the team who put up 79 points was the New Jersey Nets.

The light goes off and we realize what went down.

I know we are only heading into the third week of the season, but I want to see two perceived Super Bowl contenders face off and make some stops.

New England had no answer for Philip Rivers and San Diego other than to wait for the real Chargers to show up and self-implode. San Diego moved the ball well enough to pile up 470 yards, but four of their nine drives ended with a turnover.

I'm sure there are a couple hundred NBA fans fretting about the potential loss of games due to a lockout this year. If they begin to go through withdrawal and are in need of a fix, give them a little NFL and all should be fine.

The best thing is they will know the routine and what to expect:

Tune in to the final two minutes and don't expect anyone to play defense.