Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio showcases a back shoulder fade from 1978 — about 35 years before the back shoulder fade became the rage.
Aaron Rodgers-to-Jordy Nelson is the modern era’s tandem that made the back shoulder fade the “it” route around 2012-13. Here’s a fun play where Brian Sipe-to-Reggie Rucker essentially throws this route in 1978.
It would be foolish to think this is anywhere close to the first back shoulder fade. I’m only underscoring the point that football plays evolve over time. This pass above wasn’t the precision back shoulder placement to the outside shoulder that we’ve seen during the past 5-6 years.
However, it was an intentional placement.
I see the youngbloods on Twitter joking about the game: Who is the worst player who could become MVP of the league in 1967?
As if it’s a simple given that this era of player would be better than a previous era’s option. It’s impossible to know without greasing the skids in favor of one era over the other with some unrealistic allowance.
With some notable exceptions, I believe good players then would be good players now. This play above would have been good today.