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What Did NFL Teams Learn From The Super Bowl?

The NFL is a copycat league, and if teams follow the Green Bay Packers script from their Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers the spread offense and the passing game will continue to become even more prevalent.

Matt Bowen of the National Football Post has a fascinating look at how teams study the Super Bowl as they prepare for the next season, and how this year's game will impact what we see in 2011 (if there is football, of course) and beyond.

What they will see is a different style of football. Sure, we saw both Rashard Mendenhall of Pittsburgh and James Starks of Green Bay get carries (limited carries) in the traditional off-tackle power schemes: Power O, Counter OF, Lead Strong, Zone, etc.

But those schemes were just throw-ins from the script in Dallas. The real game was played in the pocket. Empty sets (more than I have seen from two teams all season), bunch looks, combination routes and red zone route schemes designed to test the top of the secondary.

The WR missile screen (or bubble screen) took the place of the running game. Quick inside breaking routes, such as the slant and the Hi-Lo concepts (underneath crossers), were big in the game plan. Spread the field and force the defense to use their sub packages (nickel, dime) for the majority of the game. Take advantage of the depth in the secondary.

A pattern? Yes, especially when it happens on the NFL’s biggest stage. You need three corners—and even four—that can come onto the field and matchup with a No.3 and No.4 WR. Strong safeties that can fill the hole in the run front, but more importantly play the deep half or walk down over the slot (and the speed of the current tight end position).

Plus, a free safety that has real range. Get from the middle of the field and overlap No.1 outside of the numbers. And make a play in top of that once you get there.

Interesting stuff. If this trend does play out, what do you think the New York Giants need to keep up with it?