buckeye, 3 downs doesn't kill the running game, but what it does is change the strategy of how the running is used. Often here, sometimes there as well, the pass is used to set up the run. The biggest fallacy among people who don't watch loads of CFL games every year is that the running game is not important. Nothing could be further from the truth if you understand the game here and know it. For my money, 3 downs beats 4 downs for how the game is played but that being said, in the NFL now you win by the pass and not the run as in years past where you could get by just with a running game and have a crap qb, not any more and even the NFL is using 4 and 5 receiver sets often. There's a reason Peyton Manning, Brady are the stars. The rb's aren't the big stars any more there IMHO. I do love the running game and how it's used differently in both leagues and styles. While I find 4 downs inferior to 3 downs ie. 4 downs allows mediocre teams to have the ball too long without forcing a change of possesion, that's my biggest beef with the American game, I still like watching the 4 down game. I just have to change my thinking, it's a slower game than the CFL and that's ok, it's just different for me. 3 downs allows for more concentration on special teams, yes, and I like this aspect of the game a lot.
Also, McGill introduced the run to American football and if it werent' for McGill, you guys might be calling soccer your no. 1 'football' sport. See:
[i]Standoffish from the start, Harvard declined to participate on the grounds that its Boston rules were so different from those of the other colleges that they could not be reconciled. Its letter explaining this to the captain of the Yale team is an unintended masterpiece of patronization. "You perhaps wonder on your side at our rules; but I assure you that we consider the game here to admit of much more science, according to our rules. We cannot but recognize in your game much brute force, weight and especially 'shin' element. Our game depends upon running, dodging and position playing.... We even went so far as to practice and try the Yale game. We gave it up at once as hopeless. . . . I would send you a copy of our rules but we do not have a spare copy."
Those students who did attend the conference formed the Intercollegiate Football Association, the sport's first governing body. The game they agreed upon still very much resembled soccer; no throwing or carrying the ball was permitted. Teams were to have twenty men to a side, although Yale argued for eleven on the theory that it might be easier to gain faculty approval for fewer men to travel to away games. These 1873 rules, which lasted only one season, were ultimately of little significance. Harvard eventually prevailed, but first Harvard's own game had to change.
The occasion was a pair of matches in May 1874 against a visiting team from McGill University of Montreal. The first of the two contests was played under Harvard rules, the second under the All-Canada Rugby Rule Code. Harvard won the opener, 3-0, in just twenty-two minutes, while wearing for the first time "magenta handkerchiefs bound round their heads." Although the second game ended in a scoreless tie (in part because McGill had neglected to bring a Canadian rugby ball, assuming erroneously that they could buy one in Boston), Harvard students who had recently derided the Canadian rule as "wholly unscientific and unsuitable to colleges," so preferred the new game that they decided to adopt it[/i]. (continues . . .)
Football : The Ivy League Origins of an American Obsession
Mark F. Bernstein. Univ. Pennsylannia Press.
344 pages | 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 | 28 illus.
Cloth 2001 | ISBN 978-0-8122-3627-9 | $47.50s