Last football season, late in the year, I wrote about the Denver Broncos offense under Tim Tebow. Game announcers, NFL talking heads and nearly everyone at ESPN (other than Skip Bayless) opined that the Denver offense wasn't sustainable. I argued that this particular offense, called the spread or spread offense, would work.
I never understood why John Fox or John Elway didn't or wouldn't open up the offense and get more creative in play calling. Instead, they would stand in front of the media after wins or losses and say that the offense wouldn't work in the NFL, but they had to run because of Tim Tebow.
Let me tell a secret you're not hearing from the talking heads after the first two week of the NFL season. Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton are running the spread option in the NFL. Griffin ran it nearly to perfection the last two weeks and got a win against the Saints (he might have gotten a win against the St. Louis Rams until a stupid penalty forced a long field goal).
I can't tell you how many times I have seen the "zone read" run in the NFL the last two weeks. (Zone Read is a popular spread offense.)
Newton ran for a career-high 71 yards against the Saints running the spread option. (Honestly, I missed the Carolina loss to Tampa Bay the week before, so I don't know what they were running in that particular game.)
All over the NFL, more teams are running elements of the spread option. In reality, the "wildcat offense" that started in Miami is just the spread option that includes throwing the ball.
Tebow is now in New York and took snaps at quarterback for the Jets in the third quarter. The first play was a Tebow run for 22 yards and his second was a Joe McKnight run for 12 yards.
Rex Ryan, Jets head coach, pulled Tebow and reinserted Mark Sanchez at quarterback and New York ended up punting on that drive and losing 27-10 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As more college football teams run the spread and send quarterbacks to the NFL, you will see the spread offense more frequently in the NFL. I give credit to the Carolina and Washington coaching staffs for realizing the strengths of their quarterbacks and playing to them. The Redskins and Panthers aren't doing anything new on offense. They are just putting a new spin on an old idea and making it work at the highest level.
Here's a quick football lesson: The spread option is just another incarnation of the Wing T and triple option. Only high schools run the wing T offense anymore, but all the service academies run the triple option, and most college teams run variations of the triple option.
Newton, Griffin and Tebow aren't reinventing the wheel; they are just using the newest type of wheel. It doesn't mean they are a better product, just that they can work like any other quarterback.
If the Jets end up pulling Sanchez for Tebow and open up the offense (unlike Denver), you will see the spread option work at a high level. Trust me; I saw it at the University of Florida for three years.