The Two-Back System Debate – Is Two Better Than One?

Read the arguments from Bleacher Fan and Babe Ruthless about whether or not a two back system in the right approach for a successful NFL offense.



It is often said that to win consistently in the National Football League a team must be able to run the football effectively. The Indianapolis Colts may not agree with that assessment – this year, at least – but generally that is the case. There is a reason the run and shoot offense and the Texas Tech/Hawaii type offenses are not run in the NFL.

There are currently two different “systems” that NFL teams are using. The Sports Debates will focus today on these systems.

On one end, there is the offense that features one running back. This is what the Atlanta Falcons do with Michael Turner… when he is healthy. The same approach is used by the San Francisco 49ers with Frank Gore. The philosophy is simple – one running back gets the bulk of the carriers and it does not matter if the ball is on the 50-yard line or on the goal line.

The other end of the spectrum is home to the two-back system, a maddening system for all of you fantasy football players who have a running back on your team that is within a two-back system. This is the approach taken by Arizona with Tim Hightower and Chris “Beanie” Wells. It is also used by the New York Giants with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Both running backs get, in theory, an equal amount of carries.

Obviously, there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches to the running game in the NFL, and I am relying on my colleagues Babe Ruthless and Bleacher Fan to argue this question and help the sports world determine which method is best.

Babe Ruthless will argue that the two-back system approach is the right approach to winning while Bleacher Fan will argue that the one-back system is the right way. Remember, the debate is focused on what is the best way to win the game. It does not matter which method produces the most fantasy points, for example. At the end of the day, winning is all that matters!

Bring it on, and let’s see who wins!!

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3 Responses to The Two-Back System Debate – Is Two Better Than One?

  1. grbaseball says:

    Definitely a 2 back system. However you have to have the right team for it to work. First, both backs have to be able to block and pick up blitz packages. Second, both backs have to be able to catch a pass. Third, both backs have to be able to get you a yard when you need it. A good two back tandem means your running game stays stronger, you have better blitz protection, and you will own time of possession. These will in turn produce more wins. But it is important to note that you have to have two quality RBs for this to work well.

  2. Bleacher Fan says:

    I agree completely. The 2-back system CAN be an excellent system, IF the right people are in place to execute it. If, however, you do not have the right people in place, then the 2-back system is no better than playing with your shoelaces tied together.

    ABILITY TO EXECUTE determines the best strategy.

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