With most of the other 31 teams in the NFL keeping the course of the "copycat" with them all trying to mimic the aerial attacks of today's most prolific passing offenses, coach Pagano (and a small list of others) still believes in using the basic fundamentals of success used in the past: "Running the ball and stopping the run." Many would call it "old school," but if we look at the history of SB winners, that term would hardly fit the bill. With teams like the Patriots, Broncos, and Saints all being the current "flavor of the month" as far as fielding high octane offenses, it's the teams that practiced the "old school" principles of the game who went the furthest in the post season. Baltimore was not a sexy pic to win the SB by any of the "experts" yet they are the current defending SB champs. Even now the biased east coast media's "love affair" with Brady and the Pats continues as they are the early favorites to represent the AFC in next year's SB along with the Broncos.
For the past 5 years, the black and blue division of the AFC North has been one of the more dominant divisions in football with the Steelers, Ravens, and now Bengals added to the mix of playoff contenders. What do these three teams all have in common? They are all "old school." When you look at the 2013 Colts coach Pags and Ryan Grigson are putting together, you will see them resemble teams like the Steelers and Ravens more and more as the years go on. Good, strong defense, smash mouth offense. Yet it's on the offensive side of the ball where this team can really stand apart. The Colts remind me of the Niners during the Montana era. That team was solid on both sides of the ball even though the Niners were known more for their high-powered offense over anything else. That being said, coach Pagano and GM Ryan Grigson believe in the fundamental approach that the game of football was built on. That battle has always and will continue to always be won or lost at the games' most crucial point of attack: "The line of scrimmage."
Any true NFL fan who's a student of the game knows that you don't have to look far to find examples of what has been the most successful approach to winning in the postseason vs that of the regular. We are all familiar with the term: Offense wins games, but defense wins championships. I can't think of a better example of this than the 2000 Ravens. A defense like that can allow you to win the biggest game of the year with a QB who had less talent than most backups in the league. Trent Dilfer was a "game manager." That's just another way of saying "A QB who doesn't lose games for you." Those type of QBs only thrive on teams who run the ball more than they pass it, or only pass it when they have to. Andrew Luck is light years ahead of what Dilfer would have ever been and he's better than most of today's starters now. Giving a QB of his caliber a solid running game and a good defense is down right scary when you think about it. That's why it's easy to get extremely excited about the Colts this year. Regardless of what the critics say and who Vegas dubs the "sexy pics" for this year's SB contenders, the Colts will be in the mix and are poised for a deep run into the post season for 2013.