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Cowher was rooting for old-school Jets

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Once the season reached the conference championship games, Bill Cowher knew that he had to support one team particular.

"I was pulling for the Jets because that was old-time football," Cowher said. "That was run the ball, play defense."

Sounds downright archaic, doesn't it? Run, run, run. Tackle, tackle, tackle. Win a 17-14 game if you have to.

The NFL has evolved into a passing game. The best teams know how to throw the ball well and often. The Super Bowl features the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints, the second- and fourth-ranked passing teams. The NFC Championship Game was a duel between the NFL's top two quarterbacks based on passer rating.

That's why Cowher was so sentimental about the ground-and-pound Jets.

"The game has changed," Cowher said. "It caters to throwing. Clearly, if you have a quarterback you can do so much more. It's a game that definitely has gone [against] the defense. Quarterbacks can't get hit. Receivers can't get hit. Anybody going over the middle can't get hit."

Cowher foresees a more balanced Jets offense next season. Behind backfield bulldozers Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene, they led the NFL in rushing at 172.2 yards a game, but they ranked 31st in passing at 148.8 yards a game.

No team threw fewer than the Jets did. The Buffalo Bills were closest, but threw 48 more times.

"What the Jets did with Mark Sanchez, they took a rookie quarterback and went pretty far with him," Cowher said. "Now they've got to expand that by throwing, but don't lose sight of the foundation."