I'm not a huge fan of American Football, but this article in The New York Times shows a fascinating development of how the game can be played.

From what I understand, the "standard" situation of two lines of big blokes facing off at one another and then having a group hug while someone else throws a ball backwards is being challenged by this new structure. The picture above (which is from the NYT article) shows the potential of the A-11 formation.

Basically put, the A-11 formation allows any player to become the Quarterback. This sort of formation, according to the NYT, allows 16,632 different scenarios of play, compared with 36 scenarios if done the "traditional" way.

The A-11 formation seems to also create a new breed of player - quick and fit as opposed to huge and inertial. This will also breed a new type of play, which will increase the speed at which the game travels.

As an outsider from Australia, I can't help but see this development as being comparable to Rugby Union and Rugby League. Both games, popular and profitable here in Australian and in other nations, reward teams that are quick and creative.

I personally think that this will bring about a sea change in American Football, so long as the rules don't end up being changed to prevent it.


BLBeamer said...

This article demonstrates why football will probably always be America's favorite sport. It in many ways reflects the innovation and dynamism of American society.

I remember back in the 1970's when the University of Texas under Darrell Royal was almost unbeatable after they switched to the "Wishbone" offense. It was said at the time that it was nearly impossible to defend because each play the quarterback had three options (hand off, run or pass) and it was very difficult for the defense to be able to respond or anticipate.

After a few years, Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame developed a defense that he unveiled in a bowl game which proved quite effective against the Wishbone: Notre Dame won the game. After that, no one used the Wishbone quite so much and now, it is not so common or feared.

I am completely sanguine about this latest development. I am confident that after defensive innovators have had a chance to study the A-11, they will develop a defense which will exploit the weaknesses of the A-11 without having to change the rules of the game.

Ron said...

Amazing game - takes so long in that almost like cricket.

I remember a movie moons ago was it Notre Dame and they had to change the how far you can throw rule as one fellow could throw it to far end of field so another just ran up to end.

60s in Union there was the scissors - don't see it much now