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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bill Walsh (in 1984!) on the single-wing in pro-football

Blutarsky nails it, per usual. He digs out an incredibly apropos quote for the times from Paul Zimmerman's New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football, published in 1984. The quote is relevant given the rise of the wildcat, which is itself just a variant of the old single-wing with some of the modern shotgun spread elements, including the jet sweep.

… To someone who’s never seen the single wing, believe me, it can be a thing of beauty… In college it’s been abandoned, and why I’ll never know, because it seems that some of those nifty running quarterbacks would be just right for the run-and-pass tailback duties…

In the pros, its drawbacks are obvious. Your passer couldn’t take the pounding.

“I’ve reflected on the single wing,” [Bill] Walsh says. “Those blocking schemes would just chew up NFL defenses. You could double-team every hole and trap at every hole. You’d have six men blocking three. Plus you’d have the power for the sweeps.

“Joe Montana might be able to play tailback, to run and pass, but you wouldn’t let him do it unless you had another Joe Montana to spell him…”


How friggin' smart was Walsh? His issue is he just liked passing too much to do it. And hey, people couldn't figure out his offense then; the story might be different today. Again, hat tip to Blutarsky.

1 comment:

Barry said...

The Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football by Dr. Z is a great book. There are enough college QBs coming out that can run and pass that you can easily have three on your roster as well as a traditional QB (best case is with one or two of them being to help out by backing up at other positions, like WR or playing Special Teams.