Thursday, January 9, 2020

Close Coach Phillips—But Off Just a Little Bit

By John Turney 
Today Coach Wade Phillips did a great chat on Twitter, fielding questions from his followers. And he did a wonderful job. He's a great coach and a gentleman.

Of course, he repeated a claim that has been made over the years, that isn't true, it's close, but it's off some.

Here is the LINK to the Q&A.

Phillips is referring to the 3-4 defense and why he likes it more than a 4-3 and then says the Houston Oilers were the first team to use the 3-4 fulltime.

Well. . . yes and no.

The first teams to use it as their full-time base defense were the 1974 Oilers AND  ALSO the 1974 New England Patriots. Both teams opened the 1974 using the 3-4 defense, not just the Oilers.

However, many (if not all) teams dabbled in going back to the early 1960s. In the early 1970s a lot of teams used it quite a bit, the Patriots and Oilers among then, especially in 1973. But the Dolphins used it as a pass defense (the 53 defense) in 1972-73 and the Bills used it a lot in the mid-1960s, as did the Chargers and other AFL teams/

So, Phillips is not far off, but just to be accurate the Patriots got there first as well.
Game 1 Oilers used the 3-4

Patriots in Game 1, 1974 in the 3-4
Obviously, we are not saying Phillips is wrong or is intentionally deceptive, it's just likely he does not remember what the Patriots were doing.

Here are some AFL shots from the 1960s with a few teams in the 3-4—
This is the 1960 Chargers versus Denver with LAC in 3-4

1965 Chargers with the RDE on 2-point stance

Same game, Chargers with left DE standing up giving defense a 3-4 look

1965 Bills in their 3-4 with the RDE on second level over a guard

Chiefs with Buck Buchanon on the nose RDE standing up (LLB Bell in crouch)
We could show a lot more, but as we mentioned almost all teams used some form of a 3-4 defense and some point. In the 1950s teams mixed it in, even the Colts who'd move Bid Daffy Lipscomb to from right defensive tack to right inside linebacker in a 3-4 look. Others had variations as well but none didn't use it full time as the '74 Patriots and Oilers did but they did use it.

1 comment:

  1. Wikipedia has a good article on the 5-2 defense, which is the forerunner of the modern 3-4. I think Gregg Williams had the Saints, at the time a 4-3 team, in a 3-4 to start Super Bowl 44 - God, that's a long time ago now!