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HCA: Is the Air Raid the future of the pro game?

Writer makes a case for Mike Leach’s bread and butter to take over the professional level.

Washington State v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

WSU has consistently had as head coach some of the fore-runners of the pro offense as we know it. Dennis Erickson and Mike Price both had lots to contribute to the normalization of pass-first NFL offenses and the almost every-down use of three wide receivers or more. Mike Leach’s Air Raid may be finally making an impact at the next level as well. A new article at The Ringer posits the NFL may be ready to embrace the highly successful scheme. Rodger Sherman takes a look at Leach’s success and sees no reason why NFL teams shouldn’t embrace what he is doing.

When it comes to the Air Raid, I believe those in the NFL are asking the wrong question. We shouldn’t be trying to figure out whether players like Mayfield can make every tough throw. We should be wondering why NFL coaches are so steadfast in forcing quarterbacks to make tough throws in the first place. Why do teams keep looking for great quarterbacks, instead of running the system that consistently makes bad quarterbacks look great?

Sherman goes on to tout Leach as the most successful Air Raid coach and wonder why this offense hasn’t yet caught on in the pros like the Oakland A’s Moneyball philosophy.

In 2018, Major League Baseball runs on Moneyball. Every team has its own analytics department, and even casual fans know what OPS is. Mainstream baseball has gone from viewing Beane’s strategy as foolish to realizing it’s the smartest way to assemble a roster. But no NFL franchise has come for Leach. In fact, by going to Pullman, Washington, Leach has moved to a place that’s somehow even more off the radar than Lubbock. Mainstream football views Leach not as a prophet, but as a heretic.

In the end, Sherman says all we have to do is look as the most recent Super Bowl to the see the Air Raid is catching on in the NFL.

Philadelphia went 4-of-4 passing for 81 yards on plays using Mesh concepts in last season’s Super Bowl. The NFL’s snootiest proponents can insist that the Air Raid is too simple to succeed at the highest levels of the sport, but time and again, offenses have proved otherwise. Air Raid principles work just as well in the pros as they do anywhere else.

Mike Leach chimed in on this as well.

This is an excellent piece that is a must read for all Cougar and football fans in general.


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