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The Modern Era of Football

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Caligo

Premiership Player
Aug 18, 2023
3,556
2,836
AFL Club
Hawthorn
As a Collingwood supporter we have often heard we had won only one or two flags in the modern era. We have often been told flags in the 50s don't count but had to listen to certain supporters gloating about flags in the 70s and 80s being 'modern day despite this being 40 and 50 years ago.
I am genuinely interested in what do people consider the 'modern day' when it comes to AFL.
Is it since colour TV?
Is it since the introduction of the AFL?
Is it since the 2000s?
Is it since we have had a full quota of teams in the competition?
Is it post COVID?
Maybe a different response.

This may be age specific and different generations may have different answers so interested in what people deem as 'modern day football'.
Great question. I think of a flag being modern if, when you watch the replay on YouTube it doesn't look so grainy and poor quality that you want to turn it off. So for me, that means anything after 1970.

But the flags I tend to be most judgy about are those from the argus era. Any time you can lose the GF and win the flag just feels really cheap to me.
 

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BF Tiger

Norm Smith Medallist
Jun 5, 2007
9,730
22,065
9th
AFL Club
Richmond
If someone could be bothered there is possibly a statistical measure that could be used. Something like the increased use of handball, increase in average distance run, increase in interchange numbers (not number of players on the bench), …
 

btdg

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 7, 2005
5,538
9,290
Melbourne
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
Carlton
I actually think there are three eras in football. Sorry for a long post, but here is my case:

The first era is the 'early era', which lasts from 1856 until 1966. This is characterised by tribal, club-based rivalries, amateur players, stagnant footy with the ball being hoofed up the wing (aerial ping-pong), and is barely recognisable from what we see today.

The 'transition era' begins roughly with the move of Ron Barassi to Carlton in 1966. This swings the axis of football dominance (from Collingwood/Melbourne to Carlton/Hawthorn) and starts a bunch of trends:
  • professional coaches and more tactical emphasis - particularly on motivating players and making tactical 'changes' in position
  • higher paid, semi-paid professional players, and eventually a player arms race (pulling players from other clubs, then the country, then other states... all while player payment rise).
  • an increased focus on fast ball movement - from Barassi's declaration to his players to 'handball at all costs', to rising professionalism improving fitness and athleticism, which obviously peaks in the 90s with guys like Crawford/Koutoufides who are just pure athletes. This all helps lead to...
  • a high scoring era defined by the dominance of key forwards. In 1965, John Peck won the Coleman with 56 goals and no-one had kicked more than 80 in 12 years. By 1970 Peter Hudson (recruited from Tassie) was kicking 146... that's how fast it swung, but the era of Big Forwards lasts right through the 1990s
  • a shift away from a 'club' model towards a 'franchise' model - clubs need more money to pay the star players, become more corporate, more focused on sponsorship and season ticket holders (rather than genuine 'membership')
  • TV starts to drive the game, initially through absence. Barassi's move overlaps with TV stations actually taking it OFF air... which a few years later leads a league desperate for exposure to more innovation including... playing games outside Victoria (because by law footy could only be Saturdays in Vic), Friday night footy, etc. Colour TV appears in 1975 too...
  • a move towards a national game: from regular tournaments with other states, to the Swans, to WCE/Brisbane and ultimately a fully national league. Expansion really continues until 1995 in a pretty similar way.
  • The VFL broke ground on its own venue - VFL park - in late 1966, and it opened in 1970 (Barassi's first premiership at Carlton)
  • rising media presence - but it is a media monolith, with a few big players (the Victorian newspapers, then the Footy Show in the 90s, etc)
  • Along the way: multiple teams struggled for money while trying to balance the player arms race with slowly growing revenue (really only resolved by the TV rights exploding in the mid-late 90s) - we see tin rattling, teams relocating and merging, etc.

The transition era IMO runs right through the 90s - when you think about it, all those trends still clearly apply right up until the late 90s, and the game looks fairly similar righ up to that point, albeit with faster and more skilled players.

For me, there are therefore 2-3 possible turning points for the start of the modern era:

1. The obvious one is Terry Wallace employing the 'superflood' to defeat the invincible Essendon 2000 team. The Bombers were still a 'transition era' team based around fast ball movement to a dominant forward. For the first time in this match, the Bulldogs employed a whole-team zone defence, pulling numbers inside 50, and grinding the ball down the field, holding the Bombers to 'only' 81 points. Note that LAST placed St Kilda averaged 84ppg that season, and Essendon averaged 128ppg.

2. The AFL enforcing the Salary Cap. The obvious one to round out the transition era is the penalties to Carlton in 2002. The Blues had kickstarted the transition era with Barassi, been arguably its most dominant team, had done the best job of plucking interstate players, been the most ruthless with coaches, had the most obvious corporate ties, and been the most vicious in dealing with other clubs struggling financially (both in offering to 'merge' with them, and forcing them to play home games at PP). And ultimately, Carlton were the most flagrant (of many clubs...) in refusing to follow the cap rules, leading to the biggest penalties at the same time as falling to last place (and haven't been back since). Essendon, also flagrant salary cap dodgers coppped the second biggest penalties across the journey, and weren't far behind.

I therefore place the start of the modern era in 2002... assuming it took a couple of years for teams to figure out the Superflood, and by 2002 Essendon had started falling away, replaced by teams who defined the start of the modern era built around:
  • an arms race in tactical innovation: from the 'flood', to the possession game of mid 00's Sydney, to Collingwood's high rotation of players, to Hawthorn's rolling zone, to Richmond's scramble-ball, to...
  • the dominance of contested ball winning midfielders (who have won essentially every Brownlow medal of the modern era (compared to the transition era which had winners who were ruckmen, full forwards, back pockets, wings, and culminated with a strange sequence of hard running midfielders with blonde tips...). 2002 was also (coincidentally) the debut season for Judd, Hodge, Mitchell, Ablett Jr, Bartel, Dal Santo, Montagna and Swan - yep, it was a good time to be starting a career as a contest ball winning mid...
  • a wider spread of goal kickers and lower scoring overall. 2002 is notable in that David Neitz won the Coleman with only 82 goals, the lowest winning total since... 1967 (the first year of the transition era). Since, only Buddy has kicked 100.
  • a fully televised sport. In late 2001 the AFL signed a deal with Channel 10 and Foxtel meaning that 2002 is the first season where every match is broadcast in full. Fans can watch every match their team plays, but also see other games as well. This is a HUGE change... oh, and the fee goes from $40m per year to $100m per year - clubs don't have financial woes from this point on...
  • a huge importance on the draft, and later trades, as the means of player acquisition, rather than internal development and 'recruiting'.
  • The Docklands stadium opened in 2000, and football started to be played with a roof on perfect turf... other grounds around the country also started workign towards 'perfect' conditions
  • stability across the league. No expansion for 15 years, then 2 teams at once but in a very different way to before... then nothing for 15 years, etc.
  • Also: the rise of the internet and diversification of media: from multiple footy shows springing up on different platforms, to the internet and BigFooty, to twitter, etc.

I genuinely think this is the clearest set of eras. To summarise:
  • Early Era = foundation to 1966 = amateur, black and white, amateur, tribal and local clubs, etc. Dominated by Collingwood/Melbourne (and Essendon, I guess)
  • Transition Era = 1967-2002 = increased professionalism and athleticism, player arms race, shift towards running, attacking footy and dominant key forwards; financial instability ended only by the rise of TV. Dominated by Carlton/Hawthorn/Essendon
  • Modern Era = 2002-present = rapid tactical innovation, draft/trade/salary cap, every match on tv on a perfect field, multiple media sources, dominated by Geelong/Sydney and whoever else can innovate ahead of the league for a 3-4 years 'window'
 

Caligo

Premiership Player
Aug 18, 2023
3,556
2,836
AFL Club
Hawthorn
I actually think there are three eras in football. Sorry for a long post, but here is my case:

The first era is the 'early era', which lasts from 1856 until 1966. This is characterised by tribal, club-based rivalries, amateur players, stagnant footy with the ball being hoofed up the wing (aerial ping-pong), and is barely recognisable from what we see today.

The 'transition era' begins roughly with the move of Ron Barassi to Carlton in 1966. This swings the axis of football dominance (from Collingwood/Melbourne to Carlton/Hawthorn) and starts a bunch of trends:
  • professional coaches and more tactical emphasis - particularly on motivating players and making tactical 'changes' in position
  • higher paid, semi-paid professional players, and eventually a player arms race (pulling players from other clubs, then the country, then other states... all while player payment rise).
  • an increased focus on fast ball movement - from Barassi's declaration to his players to 'handball at all costs', to rising professionalism improving fitness and athleticism, which obviously peaks in the 90s with guys like Crawford/Koutoufides who are just pure athletes. This all helps lead to...
  • a high scoring era defined by the dominance of key forwards. In 1965, John Peck won the Coleman with 56 goals and no-one had kicked more than 80 in 12 years. By 1970 Peter Hudson (recruited from Tassie) was kicking 146... that's how fast it swung, but the era of Big Forwards lasts right through the 1990s
  • a shift away from a 'club' model towards a 'franchise' model - clubs need more money to pay the star players, become more corporate, more focused on sponsorship and season ticket holders (rather than genuine 'membership')
  • TV starts to drive the game, initially through absence. Barassi's move overlaps with TV stations actually taking it OFF air... which a few years later leads a league desperate for exposure to more innovation including... playing games outside Victoria (because by law footy could only be Saturdays in Vic), Friday night footy, etc. Colour TV appears in 1975 too...
  • a move towards a national game: from regular tournaments with other states, to the Swans, to WCE/Brisbane and ultimately a fully national league. Expansion really continues until 1995 in a pretty similar way.
  • The VFL broke ground on its own venue - VFL park - in late 1966, and it opened in 1970 (Barassi's first premiership at Carlton)
  • rising media presence - but it is a media monolith, with a few big players (the Victorian newspapers, then the Footy Show in the 90s, etc)
  • Along the way: multiple teams struggled for money while trying to balance the player arms race with slowly growing revenue (really only resolved by the TV rights exploding in the mid-late 90s) - we see tin rattling, teams relocating and merging, etc.

The transition era IMO runs right through the 90s - when you think about it, all those trends still clearly apply right up until the late 90s, and the game looks fairly similar righ up to that point, albeit with faster and more skilled players.

For me, there are therefore 2-3 possible turning points for the start of the modern era:

1. The obvious one is Terry Wallace employing the 'superflood' to defeat the invincible Essendon 2000 team. The Bombers were still a 'transition era' team based around fast ball movement to a dominant forward. For the first time in this match, the Bulldogs employed a whole-team zone defence, pulling numbers inside 50, and grinding the ball down the field, holding the Bombers to 'only' 81 points. Note that LAST placed St Kilda averaged 84ppg that season, and Essendon averaged 128ppg.

2. The AFL enforcing the Salary Cap. The obvious one to round out the transition era is the penalties to Carlton in 2002. The Blues had kickstarted the transition era with Barassi, been arguably its most dominant team, had done the best job of plucking interstate players, been the most ruthless with coaches, had the most obvious corporate ties, and been the most vicious in dealing with other clubs struggling financially (both in offering to 'merge' with them, and forcing them to play home games at PP). And ultimately, Carlton were the most flagrant (of many clubs...) in refusing to follow the cap rules, leading to the biggest penalties at the same time as falling to last place (and haven't been back since). Essendon, also flagrant salary cap dodgers coppped the second biggest penalties across the journey, and weren't far behind.

I therefore place the start of the modern era in 2002... assuming it took a couple of years for teams to figure out the Superflood, and by 2002 Essendon had started falling away, replaced by teams who defined the start of the modern era built around:
  • an arms race in tactical innovation: from the 'flood', to the possession game of mid 00's Sydney, to Collingwood's high rotation of players, to Hawthorn's rolling zone, to Richmond's scramble-ball, to...
  • the dominance of contested ball winning midfielders (who have won essentially every Brownlow medal of the modern era (compared to the transition era which had winners who were ruckmen, full forwards, back pockets, wings, and culminated with a strange sequence of hard running midfielders with blonde tips...). 2002 was also (coincidentally) the debut season for Judd, Hodge, Mitchell, Ablett Jr, Bartel, Dal Santo, Montagna and Swan - yep, it was a good time to be starting a career as a contest ball winning mid...
  • a wider spread of goal kickers and lower scoring overall. 2002 is notable in that David Neitz won the Coleman with only 82 goals, the lowest winning total since... 1967 (the first year of the transition era). Since, only Buddy has kicked 100.
  • a fully televised sport. In late 2001 the AFL signed a deal with Channel 10 and Foxtel meaning that 2002 is the first season where every match is broadcast in full. Fans can watch every match their team plays, but also see other games as well. This is a HUGE change... oh, and the fee goes from $40m per year to $100m per year - clubs don't have financial woes from this point on...
  • a huge importance on the draft, and later trades, as the means of player acquisition, rather than internal development and 'recruiting'.
  • The Docklands stadium opened in 2000, and football started to be played with a roof on perfect turf... other grounds around the country also started workign towards 'perfect' conditions
  • stability across the league. No expansion for 15 years, then 2 teams at once but in a very different way to before... then nothing for 15 years, etc.
  • Also: the rise of the internet and diversification of media: from multiple footy shows springing up on different platforms, to the internet and BigFooty, to twitter, etc.

I genuinely think this is the clearest set of eras. To summarise:
  • Early Era = foundation to 1966 = amateur, black and white, amateur, tribal and local clubs, etc. Dominated by Collingwood/Melbourne (and Essendon, I guess)
  • Transition Era = 1967-2002 = increased professionalism and athleticism, player arms race, shift towards running, attacking footy and dominant key forwards; financial instability ended only by the rise of TV. Dominated by Carlton/Hawthorn/Essendon
  • Modern Era = 2002-present = rapid tactical innovation, draft/trade/salary cap, every match on tv on a perfect field, multiple media sources, dominated by Geelong/Sydney and whoever else can innovate ahead of the league for a 3-4 years 'window'
Superb post.
 

TP86

Club Legend
Apr 16, 2010
1,299
1,605
AFL Club
Hawthorn
If anyone had the data/history on the formation of the players' association and tracking of what year in the 90s CBA's were signed and what the average player salary was...that will be your answer. The tipping point for the game being full-time professional and full-time job might be obvious somewhere in the early 90s when looking at that data.

As has been raised already in this thread, a different era with regards to tactics, coaching and how clubs operate probably starts with Grant Thomas in the early 2000s and is solidified by Clarko's cluster in the late 00s. The 'post-modern' era.
 

sobrave

SHRIMP CITY BEACH 1993
Aug 15, 2015
34,681
82,059
42° south
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
I actually think there are three eras in football. Sorry for a long post, but here is my case:

The first era is the 'early era', which lasts from 1856 until 1966. This is characterised by tribal, club-based rivalries, amateur players, stagnant footy with the ball being hoofed up the wing (aerial ping-pong), and is barely recognisable from what we see today.

The 'transition era' begins roughly with the move of Ron Barassi to Carlton in 1966. This swings the axis of football dominance (from Collingwood/Melbourne to Carlton/Hawthorn) and starts a bunch of trends:
  • professional coaches and more tactical emphasis - particularly on motivating players and making tactical 'changes' in position
  • higher paid, semi-paid professional players, and eventually a player arms race (pulling players from other clubs, then the country, then other states... all while player payment rise).
  • an increased focus on fast ball movement - from Barassi's declaration to his players to 'handball at all costs', to rising professionalism improving fitness and athleticism, which obviously peaks in the 90s with guys like Crawford/Koutoufides who are just pure athletes. This all helps lead to...
  • a high scoring era defined by the dominance of key forwards. In 1965, John Peck won the Coleman with 56 goals and no-one had kicked more than 80 in 12 years. By 1970 Peter Hudson (recruited from Tassie) was kicking 146... that's how fast it swung, but the era of Big Forwards lasts right through the 1990s
  • a shift away from a 'club' model towards a 'franchise' model - clubs need more money to pay the star players, become more corporate, more focused on sponsorship and season ticket holders (rather than genuine 'membership')
  • TV starts to drive the game, initially through absence. Barassi's move overlaps with TV stations actually taking it OFF air... which a few years later leads a league desperate for exposure to more innovation including... playing games outside Victoria (because by law footy could only be Saturdays in Vic), Friday night footy, etc. Colour TV appears in 1975 too...
  • a move towards a national game: from regular tournaments with other states, to the Swans, to WCE/Brisbane and ultimately a fully national league. Expansion really continues until 1995 in a pretty similar way.
  • The VFL broke ground on its own venue - VFL park - in late 1966, and it opened in 1970 (Barassi's first premiership at Carlton)
  • rising media presence - but it is a media monolith, with a few big players (the Victorian newspapers, then the Footy Show in the 90s, etc)
  • Along the way: multiple teams struggled for money while trying to balance the player arms race with slowly growing revenue (really only resolved by the TV rights exploding in the mid-late 90s) - we see tin rattling, teams relocating and merging, etc.

The transition era IMO runs right through the 90s - when you think about it, all those trends still clearly apply right up until the late 90s, and the game looks fairly similar righ up to that point, albeit with faster and more skilled players.

For me, there are therefore 2-3 possible turning points for the start of the modern era:

1. The obvious one is Terry Wallace employing the 'superflood' to defeat the invincible Essendon 2000 team. The Bombers were still a 'transition era' team based around fast ball movement to a dominant forward. For the first time in this match, the Bulldogs employed a whole-team zone defence, pulling numbers inside 50, and grinding the ball down the field, holding the Bombers to 'only' 81 points. Note that LAST placed St Kilda averaged 84ppg that season, and Essendon averaged 128ppg.

2. The AFL enforcing the Salary Cap. The obvious one to round out the transition era is the penalties to Carlton in 2002. The Blues had kickstarted the transition era with Barassi, been arguably its most dominant team, had done the best job of plucking interstate players, been the most ruthless with coaches, had the most obvious corporate ties, and been the most vicious in dealing with other clubs struggling financially (both in offering to 'merge' with them, and forcing them to play home games at PP). And ultimately, Carlton were the most flagrant (of many clubs...) in refusing to follow the cap rules, leading to the biggest penalties at the same time as falling to last place (and haven't been back since). Essendon, also flagrant salary cap dodgers coppped the second biggest penalties across the journey, and weren't far behind.

I therefore place the start of the modern era in 2002... assuming it took a couple of years for teams to figure out the Superflood, and by 2002 Essendon had started falling away, replaced by teams who defined the start of the modern era built around:
  • an arms race in tactical innovation: from the 'flood', to the possession game of mid 00's Sydney, to Collingwood's high rotation of players, to Hawthorn's rolling zone, to Richmond's scramble-ball, to...
  • the dominance of contested ball winning midfielders (who have won essentially every Brownlow medal of the modern era (compared to the transition era which had winners who were ruckmen, full forwards, back pockets, wings, and culminated with a strange sequence of hard running midfielders with blonde tips...). 2002 was also (coincidentally) the debut season for Judd, Hodge, Mitchell, Ablett Jr, Bartel, Dal Santo, Montagna and Swan - yep, it was a good time to be starting a career as a contest ball winning mid...
  • a wider spread of goal kickers and lower scoring overall. 2002 is notable in that David Neitz won the Coleman with only 82 goals, the lowest winning total since... 1967 (the first year of the transition era). Since, only Buddy has kicked 100.
  • a fully televised sport. In late 2001 the AFL signed a deal with Channel 10 and Foxtel meaning that 2002 is the first season where every match is broadcast in full. Fans can watch every match their team plays, but also see other games as well. This is a HUGE change... oh, and the fee goes from $40m per year to $100m per year - clubs don't have financial woes from this point on...
  • a huge importance on the draft, and later trades, as the means of player acquisition, rather than internal development and 'recruiting'.
  • The Docklands stadium opened in 2000, and football started to be played with a roof on perfect turf... other grounds around the country also started workign towards 'perfect' conditions
  • stability across the league. No expansion for 15 years, then 2 teams at once but in a very different way to before... then nothing for 15 years, etc.
  • Also: the rise of the internet and diversification of media: from multiple footy shows springing up on different platforms, to the internet and BigFooty, to twitter, etc.

I genuinely think this is the clearest set of eras. To summarise:
  • Early Era = foundation to 1966 = amateur, black and white, amateur, tribal and local clubs, etc. Dominated by Collingwood/Melbourne (and Essendon, I guess)
  • Transition Era = 1967-2002 = increased professionalism and athleticism, player arms race, shift towards running, attacking footy and dominant key forwards; financial instability ended only by the rise of TV. Dominated by Carlton/Hawthorn/Essendon
  • Modern Era = 2002-present = rapid tactical innovation, draft/trade/salary cap, every match on tv on a perfect field, multiple media sources, dominated by Geelong/Sydney and whoever else can innovate ahead of the league for a 3-4 years 'window'

Good post, but Neitz won with 75. Must have kicked a few in the finals. Confused me cos I know Modra won one with a relatively low total (81 in 1997)
 

Shane Heard

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 11, 2018
9,698
16,617
AFL Club
Essendon
If someone could be bothered there is possibly a statistical measure that could be used. Something like the increased use of handball, increase in average distance run, increase in interchange numbers (not number of players on the bench), …
Chris Connolly (2002-2007) at Freo was the one who went nuts first with huge numbers of interchange rotations.

The 7 mins on 5 off stuff for mids.

Every other team was doing it within a year or two.
 

btdg

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 7, 2005
5,538
9,290
Melbourne
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
Carlton
If anyone had the data/history on the formation of the players' association and tracking of what year in the 90s CBA's were signed and what the average player salary was...that will be your answer. The tipping point for the game being full-time professional and full-time job might be obvious somewhere in the early 90s when looking at that data.

As has been raised already in this thread, a different era with regards to tactics, coaching and how clubs operate probably starts with Grant Thomas in the early 2000s and is solidified by Clarko's cluster in the late 00s. The 'post-modern' era.

There's a bit on wikipedia: AFL Players Association - Wikipedia.

Basically, this aligns with my view that the modern era began in 2002, but to summarise:

- VFL/AFL had some form of players association in the 70s but it didn't go anywhere. First real waves were in 1992 with a minimum salary of $7500 set

- In 1998 the AFLPA achieved membership of 100% and negotiated a deal that ran through 2002, under the leadership of... Andrew Demetriou (who then left to become AFL CEO). During this 5 year window, the AFLPA took on a broader role and started pushing for stronger investment in player development, retirement planning, and education and training. The 2003 CBA was really the first IMO where you had 100% professional players
 

btdg

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 7, 2005
5,538
9,290
Melbourne
AFL Club
Carlton
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Good post, but Neitz won with 75. Must have kicked a few in the finals. Confused me cos I know Modra won one with a relatively low total (81 in 1997)

You are correct - I must have looked at totals including finals. I also missed 1975 which was a bizarrely low year where Leigh Matthews won with 67 (the winners either side kicked 99 and 91)

Point still stands though: Neitz's 75 was basically the lowest since 1966, with the era in between defined by dominant full forwards.

Neitz was IMO a more 'modern' key forward anyway - able to get up the ground, swing into defence, and providing more of a contest in the air. I think you could take Neitz and put him fairly seamlessly into a 2023 match. I don't think you could do the same with Lockett/Lloyd etc.
 

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iameviljez

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 20, 2004
16,942
20,679
Brisbane
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I consider one round 21 match in 2000 the starting point of modern defensive tactics. It took the invention of flooding to stop the bombers juggernaut that year.
Ease was doing it four years before that. But smart defensive structure wasn’t widely adopted till it won a flag.
 

Randall Stevens

Senior List
Jul 7, 2017
228
573
AFL Club
Hawthorn
To me 'modern era' is more of a media term than one I hear the average fan refer to.
Even when referred to by the media, the definition is constantly changed to suit the narrative of whatever argument is being advanced.

Also - and this is probably a whole different argument - modern doesn't necessarily mean better.
No doubt that players today are bigger and stronger than in (say) the 1980's, and the game is far more tactically advanced.
However, I along with plenty of others would argue that the game was more exciting in the 80's and 90's than it is now, with generally higher team scores and certainly far more regular 'bags' and century goal seasons by the power forwards.

The OP is correct though that perceptions will be largely driven by the age and experience of each supporter.
As a Hawthorn fan of almost 50, I value our premierships in the '83-'91 era just as highly as those from 2008 to 2015. However, I personally feel less enthusiasm to the flags prior to that simply because I don't recall them. On the other hand, my father has experienced all of Hawthorn's premierships and no doubt took just as much enjoyment from 1961 and 1971 as from 2015.
 

Bunk Moreland

Hall of Famer
Sep 22, 2011
40,344
87,168
Your girlfriend's dreams
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Essendon
It's basically impossible to say. There has been no revolution. Only evolution.

People try to do it tactically but even that only refers to relatively recent times. We hear about how the high scoring, free wheeling footy changed when tactics got better in the 90s. But even before that was just an era, not all time.

I always look at the century goalkickers as evidence of this. People think it used to happen all the time, but it didn't. It happened a lot in the 70s, 80s and 90s, but that's only three decades out of all of footy history.

Between 1940 and 1968 - so virtually three decades as well - one player kicked 100 goals - Coleman, who was pretty clearly just a freak (he did it three times in four years).It was similar to the current era in terms of big goalkickers.

And before that there was one decade, the 30s, dominated by Coventry, Pratt and Todd. That's it. Other than that football has been much stodgier.

My point is, people talk about "the old days" and "the modern era", but footy is just constantly evolving.
 

iameviljez

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 20, 2004
16,942
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Brisbane
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I always look at the century goalkickers as evidence of this. People think it used to happen all the time, but it didn't. It happened a lot in the 70s, 80s and 90s, but that's only three decades out of all of footy history.

Between 1940 and 1968 - so virtually three decades as well - one player kicked 100 goals - Coleman, who was pretty clearly just a freak (he did it three times in four years).It was similar to the current era in terms of big goalkickers.
That's not a coincidence. In 1969, the VFL introduced the out-on-the-full rule and hey presto, centurions.
 

Bunk Moreland

Hall of Famer
Sep 22, 2011
40,344
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That's not a coincidence. In 1969, the VFL introduced the out-on-the-full rule and hey presto, centurions.

I think the big change was probably two umpires in 1976. It cut out a LOT of behind the play treatment to gun players.

I think Coventry and Pratt were the first true superstar goalkickers and after a few years the opposition clubs thought you know what, let's just bash the s**t out of these individual superstars and we'll beat them.

The goalkicking exploits stopped. There are many stories from Coleman about the treatment he used to receive behind the play, and he was known to meet fire with fire and retaliate.

The second umpire came in the 70s and the goals started flowing again.
 

iameviljez

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 20, 2004
16,942
20,679
Brisbane
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If someone could be bothered there is possibly a statistical measure that could be used. Something like the increased use of handball, increase in average distance run, increase in interchange numbers (not number of players on the bench), …
There is one - it was something like the number of possession chains that start in D50 and end in... I think it was either a shot, or an i50. Anyway, whatever it was, the % of end-to-end chains just collapsed sometime about 15 years ago.
 

iameviljez

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I think the big change was probably two umpires in 1976. It cut out a LOT of behind the play treatment to gun players.
That was a change, but I don't think it's a coincidence that the on the full rule comes in circa 1969, and in 1970, after just the one centurion in three decades, you have three in one year, then Hudson matching the record in 1971.
 

Caligo

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That was a change, but I don't think it's a coincidence that the on the full rule comes in circa 1969, and in 1970, after just the one centurion in three decades, you have three in one year, then Hudson matching the record in 1971.
I get the logic of how if you stop bashing the gun forwards they will kick more goals, but the on the full rule doesn't feel like it would make such a difference. Why would it matter that much?
 

iameviljez

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I get the logic of how if you stop bashing the gun forwards they will kick more goals, but the on the full rule doesn't feel like it would make such a difference. Why would it matter that much?
Because before the OOF rule, defenders used to take the ball and hoof it into Row Z, hugging the boundary. That meant they didn't have to kick accurately, or think about where they were kicking, or even hit a teammate. They could also waste a heap of time and help the midfield get back.

1968 - roughly 2,700 goals kicked in 120 games.
1969 - roughly 3,300 goals kicked in the same number.
 

No Quarter

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#DR3
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Some time after senior footy players didn't look like they were in their 40s/50s
 

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