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Old 11-14-2003, 04:25 AM   #1
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Angry Time To Ban The Prevent Defense!

After watching the Packers roll over and let the Eagles beat them in the last two minutes Monday night, I say enough is enough. Our draconian drug laws are designed to protect people from themselves - so I say NFL teams need to be protected from themselves as well.

The prevent defense should be banned in the last two minutes of a half, game or overtime period. Here's how it would work. At the two-minute warning, the following rules go into effect:

1. Defense must line up with four men on the line of scrimmage, unless the team uses the 3-4 alignment as its regular formation, in which case three men on the line are permitted (the offense has to have seven men on the line of scrimmage on every down, in the last two minutes or not, so what's unfair or inconsistent about this?).

2. All eligible receivers who do not line up in the backfield (i.e., wide receivers and tight ends) must be covered man-to-man. Multiple coverage of an individual receiver is allowed, and the defense is permitted to have one man (presumably a safety) play deep without covering any particular receiver. Running backs (or the quarterback, in the event of a trick play being called) are not required to be covered man-to-man.

3. The penalty for violating either of the above is five yards (no automatic first down) plus the game clock is reset to the time remaining at the end of the previous play, and not restarted until the next snap, even if the previous play was in-bounds (to take any "profit" out of using the illegal defense).

It's time to eradicate the cancer that is the prevent defense from the NFL landscape forever - and this would appear to be the simplest way to do it.

Last edited by Anthony; 11-14-2003 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 11-14-2003, 03:07 PM   #2
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The problem I see is obviously in #2... There a load of teams who play a cover-2 or cover-3 D as their base defense, and usually with good reason: lack of man-coverage skills yet speed enough to take away whole areas of the field. Also, eliminating a full zone defense is going to be almost IMPOSSIBLE because the officials are already, it often appears, overtaxed doing the jobs they have.

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Old 11-14-2003, 10:02 PM   #3
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I don't think you can outlaw plays like you do in basketball (illegal screen, etc.). If it is as ineffective as you think, teams will not use it. I say let it take a natural progression.
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Old 11-14-2003, 10:03 PM   #4
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Well, I think this should be an optional maneuver for each team to decide (whether or not to set up the prevent in certain situations), but I know I hate when a team I'm rooting for does this the last 2 minutes with , say, a 4 point lead. I would almost have them get burned and give up the big play while playing man to man. You just know that, with the prevent, the other team is going to start driving down the field with gaining momentum on each play. It seems to allow a team's offensive confidence to swell after being mediocre up to that point in the game.

One sports commentator once referred to the prevent defense as
"the-prevent-us-from-winning" defense. In many ways, he was right.
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Old 11-15-2003, 03:58 AM   #5
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Franky, your post touches on the big issue here: If you do give up the big play right away, at least your offense then has ample time to come back and win the game. Using last Monday night as an example: Let's say the Eagles scored on a 54-yard TD pass on the first play after the two-minute warning (I know, that's a bit unrealistic given how slow the Eagles' receivers are, but I'm trying to make a general point); in that case, the Packers would have had nearly two minutes left and two time-outs to either get the ball close enough for a field goal to send it into overtime, or they could have even had enough time to score a touchdown and win it in regulation. Instead, as it actually happened, they got the ball back with only 27 seconds remaining.

And the game would be made that much more challenging and exciting if you got rid of the prevent defense - which is essentially the same argument that led to the NFL's adopting the two-point conversion a decade ago (was it "fair" to penalize a team that played well enough to have an eight-point lead near the end of the game? This is what the two-point conversion does, in effect - yet no one has ever complained about this).

My father wants to go one step further - he gets mad every time he sees a quarterback take a knee to run out the clock, and he's even against letting the quarterback spike the ball to stop the clock! (On the latter point I've tried to explain to him that intentional grounding has always been officially defined as throwing the ball away to avoid loss of yardage, not doing it to stop the clock - but to no avail).
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