Through the years, I had never considered the possibility of a moral debate regarding the no-huddle offense.
The football huddle was invented between 90 and 120 years ago, depending on what history you believe. Teams have continued to do so because that's the way it has (almost) always been done. Some teams have decided to ditch the huddle, finding they could call plays and execute just as well without it, while maintaining a good tempo and not letting the defense substitute. It doesn't seem to be anything particularly underhanded.
But Alabama coach Nick Saban believes the no-huddle offense is bad. Really bad.
On the SEC teleconference Wednesday, the week after playing an Ole Miss team that rarely huddled, Saban sounded off about not the legality of the no-huddle offense, but whether it was fair. He said, "I just think there's got to be some sense of fairness in terms of asking is this what we want football to be?"
"I think that the way people are going no-huddle right now, that at some point in time, we should look at how fast we allow the game to go in terms of player safety," Saban said on today's SEC teleconference. "The team gets in the same formation group, you can't substitute defensive players, you go on a 14-, 16-, 18-play drive and they're snapping the ball as fast as you can go and you look out there and all your players are walking around and can't even get lined up. That's when guys have a much greater chance of getting hurt when they're not ready to play.
"I think that's something that can be looked at. It's obviously created a tremendous advantage for the offense when teams are scoring 70 points and we're averaging 49.5 points a game. With people that do those kinds of things. More and more people are going to do it.["]
"Those kinds of things," Nick? I think Saban might have had been considering a spinoff for "Breaking Bad" in his head when he said that last part. Presumably most coaches will have the same dumbfounded responses that Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, a proponent of no-huddle offenses, will have (via the Houston Chronicle):
"Everybody is just playing by the rules right now," Sumlin simply responded. "It's in the rule book."
I propose that all offenses should huddle up before every play. And maybe shout out what play they are running to the defense, to not inconvenience the other team. And definitely no play-action passes or flea flickers, which are designed to deceive.
And please, whatever you do, stay off Nick Saban's lawn.