1968 NY Jets vs. 2018 Clemson Tigers football team---Who would win?

  • #1
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The 1968 New York Jets went 11-3, winning Superbowl III. The 2018 Clemson Tigers football team went 15-0, and won the National College Football championship. Obviously, the 1968 New York Jets players were a far more elite echelon of football players in 1968, relative to other football players in 1968, than the Clemson Tigers football players in 2018 were compared to all other football players in 2018. The New York Jets players were, by definition, all good enough to make the NFL in 1968. Although 6 players from the 2018 Clemson Tigers football team have been drafted into the NFL and, perhaps, a few more players from the 2018 Clemson Tigers team might be drafted into the NFL, the majority of players on the 2018 Clemson Tigers football team are/were not talented enough to make the NFL. If the level of talent and skill in the NFL had always been the same from 1968 to 2018, it would be obvious that the 1968 New York Jets were better than the 2018 Clemson Tigers, but the level of talent and skill in the NFL has changed enormously since 1968. In 1968, most NFL players did not even lift weights. In the 1960s, the average NFL offensive lineman was only 6'3" and weighed only 250 pounds. The average NFL offensive lineman today is 6'5" and weighs 312 pounds. Football players today also tend to be stronger pound-for-pound than football players in the 1960s. It's a similar story for almost every other position in the NFL.

I imagine that some people might point out that there have been significant rule changes in the NFL since 1968 and ask which rules would the two teams play under, the 1968 rules or the 2018 rules. I say it does not matter that much which rules they play under. The general physical contests of football are pretty similar in each. No matter whether the two teams play in 1968 rules or 2018 rules both involve the same physical contests: Can the offensive lineman of one team block the linebackers and defensive ends of the defensive team? Can the cornerbacks of the defensive team cover the wide receivers of the offensive team? Can the linebackers and defensive backs of the defensive team stop the running backs of the offensive team? So the 1968 New York Jets travel in a time machine to 2018 and play the 2018 Clemson Tigers football team. Who would win, the 1968 New York Jets or the 2018 Clemson Tigers?
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


P.S. I had a hard time figuring out whether I should have the 2018 Clemson Tigers time traveling back to 1968 or have the 1968 New York Jets time travel to 2018. I decided to have the 1968 New York Jets time travel to 2018 because at least scientists all unanimously agree that time traveling forward is theoretically possible. It's unclear whether time traveling backward is even theoretically possible. But let's not digress into a discussion about time travel. The purpose of the post is who would have won a football game if the two teams had MAGICALLY been able to play each other.

P.P.S. I picked the 1968 New York Jets because the 1968 New York Jets won the Superbowl 50 years ago. I picked the 2018 Clemson Tigers because the 2018 Clemson Tigers won the last National Championship in Division 1 football.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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My opinion is that the 1968 New York Jets would defeat the 2018 Clemson Tigers.
 
  • #3
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My opinion is that the 1968 New York Jets would defeat the 2018 Clemson Tigers.
Wrong. They would get so many flags nowadays that they practically would play backwards.
 
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  • #4
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Wrong. They would get so many flags nowadays that they practically would play backwards.
Let's assume that the 1968 NY Jets are given a 2018 rulebook and know the 2018 rules then. This focus on the rules is a digression that is really distracting from the intent of the thread.
 
  • #5
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It shows that the question is nonsense. You cannot compare two teams of different contests.
 
  • #6
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It shows that the question is nonsense. You cannot compare two teams of different contests.
The game of football in 2018 would be very recognizable for people in 1968. There is nothing about people in 1968 that means that people in 1968 could not adapt to a change of rules and play slightly differently due to a slight change in rules.
 
  • #7
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What rules are there in football in 2018 that nobody from 1968 could learn? If you are going to state that the question is nonsense, the burden should be on you to show what rules of football in 2018 are so different that nobody from 1968 could learn them.

The rules of college football are slightly different than the rules of the NFL. Does that mean that it's impossible for former college football players to play football in the NFL because the rules are slightly different?
 
  • #8
russ_watters
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What rules are there in football in 2018 that nobody from 1968 could learn?
Given enough time, information and practice, they could learn the rules and more importantly the tactics.

This type question can be fun to debate, but since you control the scenario, that enables you to decide the "correct" answer in advance and then build the scenario in a way that forces that answer to be "correct". That makes it less fun.
If you are going to state that the question is nonsense, the burden should be on you to show what rules of football in 2018 are so different that nobody from 1968 could learn them.
Lol, this is fodder for a science fiction movie, but since it is pure fiction it is impossible to prove anything about it, and so there is no "burden".
 
  • #9
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Given enough time, information and practice, they could learn the rules and more importantly the tactics.
Yes, and "enough time" would be: a few hours maximum.

This type question can be fun to debate,...
I think interesting would be a better word.

.... but since you control the scenario, that enables you to decide the "correct" answer in advance and then build the scenario in a way that forces that answer to be "correct". That makes it less fun.
The scenario is: the rule changes are not that important. Let's forget about the rules. There is no buildup to the scenario that I have made that forces my answer to be correct.

I believe that if both teams had access to both sets of rulebooks, 1968 and 2018, the same team that would win under 1968 rules would also win under 2018 rules. The talent differences between players would be the deciding factor, not the rules.
 
  • #10
russ_watters
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Yes, and "enough time" would be: a few hours maximum.
Oh, in that case I think that would be extremely problematic for the Jets. I was expecting an answer in weeks or months!
 
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  • #11
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The scenario is: the rule changes are not that important.
Nonsense. It makes a big different where the QB is allowed to be tackled and when. It makes a big difference what counts as pass interference and what does not. Roughing the kicker? And all these many tiny differences which nowadays makes a continuous play de facto impossible. The game has changed a lot in the last decades, if not years!

I would have to look at an actual game, but compared with other sports, the game has likely become more athletic and faster. Just have a look at an average defensive line now and back then.
 
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  • #12
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Okay.....To get all this rule stuff out of the way, let's say that an expert on the rule changes from 1968 to 2018 spends 200 hours over 4 weeks teaching the New York Jets the 2018 College football rules. The NY Jets players adequately learn the 2018 college football rules. Who do you think would win the football game?
 
  • #13
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For the record, if both teams knew the 1968 rules and the 2018 rules equally well, and if the two teams played one game using the 1968 rules and a second game playing the 2018 rules, I think that the 1968 New York Jets would win both games.
 
  • #14
russ_watters
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Okay.....To get all this rule stuff out of the way, let's say that an expert on the rule changes from 1968 to 2018 spends 200 hours over 4 weeks teaching the New York Jets the 2018 College football rules. The NY Jets players adequately learn the 2018 college football rules. Who do you think would win the football game?
Does that study include film room and chalkboard study of modern tactics? Practices? Exhibition games with another team and real refs?

Also, is either team allowed to adjust their roster to deal with the fact that their compositions don't match?
 
  • #15
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Does that study include film room and chalkboard study of modern tactics? Practices? Exhibition games with another team and real refs?
The study does include exhibition games with another team and real referees. The study does include film room and chalkboard study of modern tactics also.

Also, is either team allowed to adjust their roster to deal with the fact that their compositions don't match?
I don't know what this means.
 
  • #16
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The real issue is the size of the talent pool and the level of conditioning and athleticism - we can all agree it is higher today than 1968, but is it so much higher that todays top college teams can beat 1968’s best professional teams - in football or any other sport?
 
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  • #17
russ_watters
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I don't know what this means.
The 1968 Jets had a 45 man roster. Colleges have no limit and often have 60-70 active players at a time. The Jets had 4 wide receivers total (and 6 running backs!) whereas it's common for colleges to have that many on the field at once, and Clemson had 10 with significant playing time that year. Major mismatches in roster size and allocation mean mismatches in plays. How do you defend against 4 wide receivers if you've never even seen that many on the field at once? How do you defend against a running game that never gets tired and is used 75% of the time with linemen who only defend against a run 25% of the time? (I suppose its easier if you are allowed 50% more players...)

To me it seems entirely possible that the style and roster mismatches alone could result in neither defense ever stopping the opposing offense and the winner being the team who has the ball one more time; 98-91.
 
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  • #18
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The offensive linemen for the 68 Jets were all around 250 lbs vs over 300 for the 2018 Tigers. Seems like this alone might decide the game
 
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  • #19
Klystron
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Do not overlook communications. NFL teams from 1968 would regard 21st Century headsets, wireless comms and ubiquitous cameras with playback as cheating; at best. Coaches relying on whiteboards, paper playbooks, Polaroid film cameras and hand signals would be at a major disadvantage over modern teams with information exchange.

Even supplying and teaching modern tech would not compensate for coaches who design plays and counter-plays around rapid electronic communications and players who live with our technology. Players from 1968 would barely be able to wash their hands in 2018 bathrooms. :cool:
 
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  • #20
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The offensive linemen for the 68 Jets were all around 250 lbs vs over 300 for the 2018 Tigers. Seems like this alone might decide the game
Perhaps. You cannot just assume that a 300 pound lineman is definitely going to be better than a 250 pound lineman though.

I believe that the QB/WR combination of Joe Namath and George Sauer would be better than the 2018 Clemson Tigers defensive players. I think that the 1968 NY Jets linebackers and other defensive backs would be better than the 2018 Clemson Tigers running backs and wide receivers. Just my opinion. I'll admit that i don't know.
 

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