NFL offense is on a record-setting pace this season with nine quarterbacks possessing a quarterback rating of more than 100 through Week 3.
Plays and schemes can immediately rise up from the high school or college to the NFL due to technology and a new group of coaches who are ready to run them.
“The availability of all this information and game tape has brought football together. It really has,” said Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who was the Eagles quarterbacks coach last season. “College guys are getting our tape, we are getting their tape, and there is a lot of cross-referencing going on right now. That’s why you’re seeing the two mesh together.”
The innovation cycle of the NFL is getting faster and schemes change quicker in a year than they did in previous decades.
“The thing about even five years ago is that it was harder to do this—your access was limited,” said Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. “Now you can see big plays from junior high. Your access to creativity at the lower levels is so much higher than it was a decade ago. That is a real benefit.”
The NFL has also become more willing to accept the spread offense.
Bill Belichick sent Josh McDaniels to study Urban Meyer's offense at Florida and the Patriots created the first offense in NFL history to run a majority of their plays in shotgun during the 2007 season. Andy Reid has also espoused the benefits of the spread for years with Patrick Mahomes running it at an incredible clip this season. Doug Pederson, a disciple of Reid, won the Super Bowl with a significant number of run-pass options.
“Before the last three or four years, colleges were trying to get pro tape all the time. For the first time, it’s the reverse. NFL is taking from college; college is taking from high school,” Dolphins offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “Even the coaches—pro coaches are going to college; college coaches are going to high school.”
When the Wildcat became a popular formation a decade ago, teams had to roll in a separate TV with a VHS machine to show the players whereas now they can go on YouTube.
“I know coaches scour YouTube,” said Mike Kuchar, who runs X&O Labs, a website for coaches. “It’s no longer ‘get on a plane, spend money, find a connection who knows somebody who knows somebody.’”