Why the Pass First Offense Isn't New

But the NFL today is a pass-first league. 28 out of the 32 teams in the league last year threw the ball more than they ran. And there are a million theories as to why.

Most of these theories, however, refer to some sort of recent phenomenon. Perhaps we’re in a golden age of quarterbacks, or the recent rule changes allow receivers more space, or coaches finally discovered statistics, or even the lineman are “too big.” That last one is an actual theory.

But what if the truth is much simpler than that? What if it’s not some big new change at all? What if the NFL isn’t actually any more pass-happy than it was five, ten, or fifteen years ago? That’s what the numbers say: …