I once commented that football offenses have evolved so much where there really aren’t many differences from one team to the next. Offense is offense. Gone are the days of having a Wing-T team, a Split Back Veer team, or an I-formation team rotating through your schedule. Everybody looks pretty similar, with the rare exception.
Then I read this quote in a Chuck Klosterman interview:
”One thing that social media is absolutely going to do is make it more difficult for people to evolve intellectually.”
I thought about it, and then I thought about how often you can ask what a coach’s favorite run play is and receive an echo chamber of POWER.
I like Power. I also like Inside and Outside Zone. They are great plays and can be incorporated into any and every offense. But I also love Inside and Outside Veer, Counter Option, and Bootlegging off of the Counter or Stretch action. When was the last time you saw any of those more than once a season?
I remember when this began. There was a constant mention of losing athletes from the football field to the hardwood court. So coaches started calling their new offense “basketball on grass” in hopes of making the product on the field more exciting and more enticing to athletes. Pretty soon everybody was doing it. Spreading out their formations and finding ways to get the football down the field faster.
The movement happened so fast because it was, and still is working. Offenses switched from these “old-school” systems to a common spread style that is seen everywhere today.
All of this happened when message boards, and now Twitter, caught fire and increased our ability to connect with and learn from each other.
As much as this has helped us, is it also hurting us? Sure we may have different names for our offenses like Spread, or Power Spread, or Air Raid, or whatever, but are they really all that different? (I know I just touched a nerve there and expect to be attacked)
Coaches from these “different” systems talk to each other and adopt a pass concept here and run play there and now we have arrived where it is really just offense.
If variety is the spice of life, our football spice rack is getting pretty bland. I mean, even Nebraska looks like every other football team. Nebraska.
Different styles of offense are getting harder and harder to find, and therefore learning from coaches actually using them is reduced as well. It does make it easy for a coach to move from one school to the next, but the only thing to learn is new terminology. The knowledge from one system to the next stays alive and is constantly recycled without any new or “old school” sources being tapped.
So the question begs to be asked, how do we evolve our sport and as football intellectuals from here?