It's my impression that football votaries like smashmouth, low-scoring field position games a lot more than casual fans do. I'd guess more than a few of those casual fans would judge a typical 48-31 game more thrilling to watch than a 9-6 game. Assuming I'm in it to see the most competitive sixty minutes possible, I wouldn't--I'd take the second game for sure. But I'll still follow the NFL as high-scoring, pass-happy games become more common, whereas casual fans (especially women) will be unlikely to stick around if this year's Jets became the NFL archtype. So I'd guess the current trend will be good for business.
To the extent that passing is more important in the regular season than it is in the post-season, it's unfortunate as far as the league's level of popularity is concerned--the other way around would be more desirable. More indoor arenas and closed stadiums might help.
Steve wondered if the pattern in 2009 of passing's dominance over rushing as a determinant of success was carried over from the season before. It could have been a fluke year, or the beginning of a secular trend. The following table shows the correlations between winning and both passing and running yards per attempt by regular season going back to 2002:
* not statistically significant at 90% confidence
In 2008, the pass-run gap was less pronounced than in 2009, but still significant. However, 2007 was similar to the just-concluded regular season. As we move back in time, passing maintains the upperhand, but not as overwhelmingly so. In 2004, when the playoff-bound Falcons (Vick alone ran for nearly 1,000 yards that year), Steelers (Staley-Bettis one-two punch), and Jets (Curtis Martin in his best season before complications with a knee injury forced him into retirement) built their offenses around the running game, rushing came within striking distance of passing in importance.
As Steve has discussed, the nimble, impatient quarterback who's comfortable being flushed out of the pocket to run is not the future of football, it is the past. The nearly total domination of passing relative to running today suggests that a new paradigm is emerging, where the running game is clearly superceded in importance by the ability to move the ball through the air.
If a football votary is up for investing a little time in it, it'd be interesting to see how the pass-run dynamics correlate with success going back several decades. NFL.com's stats on per-play averages extend back over 60 years, so the data are there.