Why Chip Kelly’s teams don’t huddle and why that’s a mistake

Chip Kelly is not tied to the traditions of football. He is a football outsider.

He acts as if football tradition is primitive and beneath him. He is enlightened and the rest of the league is trapped in the dark past. He tries to profit from rejecting particular aspects of football tradition he believes coaches irrationally perpetuate simply for the sake of tradition.

Like the huddle. Kelly’s offense never uses one even though every other Super-Bowl winning team in NFL history has. Kelly eliminates one of the most basic football traditions.

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This article has 29 Comments

  1. “If football is poetry, huddles are the rhyme scheme. And, Kelly uses blank verse 100 percent of the time.”

    Haha, I loved that! Very good.

    1. Quips are cute. But often wrong.

      And Grant crapped the bed. The no-huddle is old. The communication problems were solved in the 1980s. It took the Bills, Bengals and Broncos to the Superbowl as a primary offense. It’s also been used by many, many other teams to supplement their regular offense in non-4th quarter desperation hurry-up situations.

      At this point the no-huddle is 15% of NFL offensive snaps. It’s not just for the final drive in a desperate attempt to not lose.

        1. Nice article Grant. There could be other advantages to a huddle that have not been discussed. There is a long standing rumor that Hacksaw Reynolds once had to take a leak during a game so bad that the team huddled around him while he did his business right there on the field.

  2. As much as I hate Peter Carroll, he’s absolutely right. Grant, I agree with Scooter. “If football is poetry, huddles are the rhyme scheme. And, Kelly uses blank verse 100 percent of the time.” Bloody brilliant! Maybe OregonNiner will get it but I doubt it…;>)

  3. Sigh. I see why Kelly got irritated. Just when you looked like you were finally getting it…. When I thought you might actually think things through and research your material before going off…. .

    So, way back in the day, when you were doodling with Crayons or whatever it was you were doing back in 1988 the Bengals adopted the no-huddle offense under Sam Wyche. They got to the Superbowl and only an heroic defensive effort coupled with Montana’s last drive at the end of the game got the 49ers the win.

    One of the teams the Bengals defeated in the playoffs that year, with the no-huddle offense, was the Buffalo Bills who adopted it. The Bills K-Gun offense took the Bills to the Superbowl 4 consecutive years. Yeah, they came up short, but when your defense is giving up over 35 points a game in the Superbowl, you’re going to come up short.

    During that time many other teams adopted the no-huddle and ran it for significant parts of the game but not as the primary offense.

    And even in modern times other teams besides the Eagles have gone the no-huddle as their primary offense. Denver went to the no-huddle when they signed Manning. In 2013 Denver scored over 600 points using the no-huddle as their primary offense after adopting it in 2012 and scoring 481 points that season.

    The Patriots under Brady use the no-huddle for significant stretches of their games. For example, when they beat the Chiefs in the playoffs last year they locked the Chiefs into a bad match-up defense and marched down the field for a TD. They continue to do so today because it’s a great tactical weapon, locking defenses into poor match-ups.

    And, just as in the 80s and 90s, there are teams that use it a lot, but not as primary. The Colts, Packers, and Giants are all significant users of the no-huddle offense. And enough use it today that no-huddle offense accounts for 15% of all NFL snaps.

    And one thing coaches, from Wyche to Belichick all talk about when the no-huddle is discussed is the communication. The Patriots used ONE WORD from Brady that tells everybody what they’re to do and how to do it.

    And that’s all the communication you need. One word. Just one word.

    So, yeah… Maybe before you go off on some rant and piss off the head coach because you are the Guardian Of The Things That Must Be This Way Because 1960s Or Some Such… Just maybe… Oh, I don’t know…. Possibly read up on the history of the subject you’re lighting into.

    Because, man, you really got this one wrong…

      1. Teams use no huddle periodically to change the tempo. I don’t believe any team has every used it exclusively.

    1. Bengals with Boomer used a “sugar huddle” with “buzz words” to express plays, etc., not the No Huddle system as you errantly state.

      1. They also had a QB who had a football IQ orders of magnitude greater than our playground football specialist.

    1. CFC – You beat me to it. If true, I’m not surprised. I thought maybe Baalke would get canned, Chip another season. But offing both also makes sense.

      Hope the new regime puts in a physical man blocking system that most matches the personnel.

  4. Schefter – “San Francisco is expected to make sweeping changes, dismissing both HC Chip Kelly and GM Trent Baalke, league sources tell ESPN.”

  5. Jason La Canfora ‏@JasonLaCanfora 8m8 minutes ago

    The York family met this week to talk about possible organizational changes and roles of Baalke, Kelly and Jed York moving forward
    10 replies 28 retweets 18 likes

  6. Cam Inman ‏@CamInman 4m4 minutes ago

    Cam Inman Retweeted Adam Schefter

    Only franchise in NFL modern era to fire back-to-back coaches after 1-year terms: #49ers in ’76-77. Poised to do it again? Wouldn’t surprise

  7. fortunately for Baalke and Kelly it won’t be a long flight home from Seattle during which they will have to contemplate their futures.

  8. Jason La Canfora ‏@JasonLaCanfora 15m15 minutes ago

    Been reporting for weeks 49ers plan to fire GM and let new GM hire a new coach. Prepared to eat Kelly contract (til he’s back in NCAA)…

    1. I think the big players (Big Ben, Bell and Brown) are sitting out tomorrow. So we might just get our wish.

  9. I guess York is up to his sneaky ways, starting the rumor so the sting is not so mighty. I do believe it as that’s York’s style. My question who in the hell wants to come to this circus? Four HC in four years that is something to be real proud of – not. One thing when Kelly goes so does Kaep and that pleases me to no end. No QB and none on the horizon will keep this team sucking for a good long time.

  10. From a Philly native, Kelly’s a hard headed bum,dump him and dump him quick, he’s pro football poison,a true schleprock

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