That was a good point. Since the 70ties the lead changed between defence and attack. With attackers trying to find space and defenders filling it. Until the advent of the Blitz or umbrella defense it was a lot about handling the drift.
Fitness improved on a broad level together with more liberal replacement rules.
So collisions and recycling became more important. With different types of playes required. Stuff like jackling.
I think it is hard to compare, each episode had their thrills. And none exclusively had exiting games.