The NFL has come a long way, especially in its gameplay.
If you need proof, here’s the intro to CBS’ coverage of league games in 1977.
The video was originally posted by Chaz Cervino on Instagram and was re-shared by ClutchPoints.
Contact in the NFL in the late 70’s was on a whole other level 😤
(via chazcervino/ IG) pic.twitter.com/FguSjzV8Zb
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 1, 2022
ClutchPoints tweeted, “Contact in the NFL in the late ’70s was on a whole other level.”
Cervino also commented, “CBS NFL intro from 1977. Almost every clip is a penalty in 2022.”
He’s right because the short clip contains footage wherein a player steps on another player’s back.
There are also instances of a clothesline tackle, a face mask, and going under a mid-air receiver.
Those tactics are not allowed anymore, and the players in that video might not recognize today’s game.
Brent Musberger, Phyllis George, and Irv Cross were on the CBS NFL Today panel.
NFL Gave Offense The Advantage?
Back then, game scores were low because defensive players could put extra contact on their coverage.
In effect, those outcomes did not attract fans to tune in.
Instead, the league proposed rule changes in 1978 that would open up the offense.
First, they allowed offensive lineman to extend their arms to provide better protection for quarterbacks.
It also gave them the leverage to beat the defender and give them time to execute their play.
On the other hand, there’s the bump-and-run rule wherein contact is prohibited beyond five yards downfield.
Defenders can delay the receiver’s path within five yards but must give a free release after.
The best they can do is to shadow the receiver and hope to get an interception or a deflection.
Those rules helped increase scoring averages until the game became pass-happy.
Today’s players would have complained a lot if they suited up in 1977.