I did not watch the 50th edition of the Super Bowl, but all the media that I consume around it tells me that people were disappointed in the lack of action. People were hoping for more action and offense from the attacking side. But instead what happened was they were shut down by something that might be even more skillful, but nobody wants to see.
Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships.
This is actually how I survive against better grapplers. And how I can train people I’m better than to become better attackers. I mainly focus on defense and that keeps me in the match for longer than going for an attack. I have, by doing this, become harder to submit and I’m comfortable in positions that puts pressure on me, making me stay calm and keep it technical. I see it often, how people panic when they end up in a position that threatens a submission. And while you should get out of there, you’ve got to keep calm to minimize your mistakes. Evaluate (fast) if you even are in danger before you spend all your energy trying to solve the situation.
A great defense will get you pretty far, but most people find it boring to look at. But that might be because they’re looking at the wrong thing. Focus is usually on the attacking side, as they are the ones that have the opportunity to change things on the scoreboard. But what people that don’t actively practice the sport, or are more connected to an aggressive way of playing, do not appreciate is the beauty of having and efficient defense.
I’m going to go back to grappling and fighting sports for this, because that’s what I know. Here we definitely see the same phenomenon, the audience is reacting and cheering an offensive participant without seeing the technical prowess of the defending part. The roar of the crowd is only present when the attack is strong and visual. And we can definitely see that many of the viewers don’t understand what’s really taking place, as they are only vocal when there are big movements. Only when you have an educated audience can you hear the cheers and clapping when a fighter advances position in a an impressive way on the ground by baiting an attack and taking advantage of the response to increase his or hers advantage in a manner that only someone that is active withing grappling can understand.
To better illustrate the point we can take a look at Anderson Silva, as he managed to make defense entertaining. While he might have gathered some controversy over how he fought some fights purely on counter-striking, and not going on the offense, he did stay a champion for a long time against many different opponents. But what we’re seeing with all that ducking, bobbing, and weaving is a magical defense that was, for quite a while, considered unbreakable. And people will cheer for it, because it’s very visual and easy to follow. Griffin is swinging and Silva is avoiding in a very large and easy-to-understand manner.
And people won’t appreciated it unless it’s displayed in this fashion, because they can not see it. In MMA they only see that the attacker is not able to get a submission, or not connecting with a strike, and in Super Bowl L they saw the attacking team fail in their attempts to light up the scoreboard. And while someone that understands what’s going on and can appreciate what is taking place, and marvel at the execution of the defending party, that is basically not good television.