Whether Chiefs head coach Andy Reid meant to or not, he sent one NFL position group into football extinction with a roster decision.
Back in the days of ground-and-pound, the fullback was a valued position group. In fact, sometimes there was more than one fullback on a roster, if you can believe it.
The Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970’s, for example, often used Franco Harris as a fullback option, along with Frenchy Fuqua, who oh so often would be Harris’ lead blocker when Pittsburgh needed him most.
Gone are those days, at least for now. While a solid running game is still important in the modern NFL, it often comes out of single-back set or even the shotgun. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid knows this, which is why he’s expected to employ his run-blocking tight end as a fullback in some two-bat sets.
Who needs fullbacks? Not Chiefs coach Andy Reid
“The tight ends can work into that spot,” Reid said, via the Kansas City Star. “We know Noah [Gray] can do all of that, and that’s kind of where we went with it. We’ve got a number of tight ends that we feel comfortable with, so maybe you keep an extra tight end as opposed to that fullback.”
This isn’t the first time Reid has eluded to eliminating the position altogether. On Travis Kelce’s podcast, the KC coach suggested “the fullback has kind of been eased out of the game a little bit.”
Now, he’s finally pulled the trigger altogether, allowing Michael Burton to leave for the rival Denver Broncos.
The reason Reid’s input on this matter is so important is that his Chiefs are the class of the NFL. If Kansas City makes a decision, either on the field or in the front office, the rest of the league will shortly follow suit.
The fullback was already an endangered species of sorts. Now, it’s on the verge of extinction.