"Run the football, play good defense and avoid turnovers".

For many years, it's been considered the football formula for success. Vince Lombardi, Don Shula and Chuck Noll were among the hall of fame coaches who believed in those basic strategies for winning football and, in between them, a combined 8 Super Bowls were won by executing those fundamentals to the fullest.

But that was then and this is now.

"I am a firm believer in running the football," ESPN's Tom Jackson said while speaking of the upcoming conference championships.

"It sounds great," answered Trent Dilfer. "But the league isn't set up for it right now. This league is set up for video game football".

As players, both Tom Jackson (Denver Broncos, SB XII and SB XXI) and Trent Dilfer (Baltimore Ravens, SB XXXV) know what it takes to make it to the Super Bowl. But, as analysts, it may be true that only Dilfer knows what it takes to get there now.

The winds of change (and the more significant changes in rules) evolved the NFL into a scoring league, and that run-first mantra may be repeated often by analysts but it's hardly demonstrated in today's game. In 2009, only 2 teams finished with more rushing than passing yards. And it's been 34 years since a team won the Super Bowl with an offense that gained more yards on the ground then through the air.

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Tennessee's Chris Johnson led the NFL in rushing (2,006 yards) while the struggling Titans switched quarterbacks before Week 8. Still, the Titans gained more yards passing the ball than running it this season. The Vikings offense is led by Adrian Peterson, widely considered the best running back in football today, but Minnesota averaged 140 yards more passing per game then running. The Miami Dolphins, and their 'Wild Cat" offense led by Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, gained almost 1,000 more yards in the air then on the ground.

Perhaps no two teams in pro football today are a better contrast in between the run and the pass mentality than the pair that will meet for this year's AFC Championship. The 2009 Indianapolis Colts finished 2nd in the league in passing offense, but last in total yards rushing. The New York Jets were the NFL's top rushing team in 2009, but were ranked second from the bottom (31st) in passing.

For the Indianapolis Colts, the pass-first strategy is as fitting to their team personal as the current throwing trend is to the NFL. Peyton Manning won his 4th league MVP Award in 2009 and the Colts' top running back, Joseph Addai, is one of the NFL's best at picking up the pass blitz. This season, despite the loss of Marvin Harrison and a Week 1 injury to Anthony Gonzalez, was one of Manning's best as he passed for 4,500 yards and 33 touchdowns en route to a 99.9 QB Rating.

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Unlike the Colts, the New York Jets entered 2009 with a rookie quarterback, Mark Sanchez. Like last year's Baltimore Ravens, the Jets won their way into a conference championship game in spite of the inexperience playing under center.

In 2008, rookie Joe Flacco led the Baltimore Ravens to a wild card playoff berth and all the way to the AFC title game. The Ravens ran the ball on 58% of their offensive plays during that regular season. The 2009 New York Jets ran the ball on over 60% of their offensive plays from scrimmage.

The Jets head coach, Rex Ryan, was the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens last season.

Read: Jets' QB Mark Sanchez Comes Full Circle to Indianapolis

The New York Jets were the NFL's top rushing team in 2009. They also ranked 31st in passing offense. Of the 321 yards in total offense the Jets offense averaged each week, over 172 was generated by running the ball. Other than the Jets, only the Cleveland Browns finished this season with more yards on the ground than through the air. And the Browns lost 11 of their first 12 games of 2009.

Despite the impact that passing has had on the league, Ryan holds firm to his beliefs. Following the Jets upset win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild card round, Rex said, "You have to be able to run the football this time of year, and you have to be able to play defense, and we can do that better than any team in the league. That gives us a chance in every game, no matter who we play."

No better opportunity for Ryan's old school attitude to prove its value in today's NFL than when he leads the Jets into Indianapolis to play a team, and an offense, built for the modern era of professional football. According to most, the Colts are favored by more than a touchdown over the Jets when they both meet with the hopes of advancing to Super Bowl XLIV.

The AFC Championship Game will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium this Sunday, January 24th. Kickoff is scheduled at 3:00 p.m. EST.