Before I start, Iâ€™m not a Buffalo Bills, not an NFL fan, not a fan of any NFL player. Iâ€™m a fan of one part of the sport. I am the underdog. I root for the underdog. I love seeing the underdog beat the bully.
For two years in the early 1990â€™s, I coached linebackers at Jim Kellyâ€™s Camp in Olean, New York. Awesome experience. I coached 51 linebackers both years. Serious kids who took the sport seriously and took training even more seriously. I was in my element. Worked them hard 3 times a day. They responded with extraordinary effort.
The camp was held at the height of the K-Gun era, during the Billsâ€™ run as 4-time AFC champs. Their offense was as potent as any offense in NFL history. Their no-huddle was machine-like. Almost unstoppable. Kelly held great coaching clinics both years. I studied a lot of film. Learned a lot. I had started using a high-speed no-huddle two years earlier. The K-Gun helped me believe I wasnâ€™t crazy, that a high-speed no-huddle could work consistently. Designing a no-huddle system isnâ€™t easy. You need an air-tight language and an even more air-tight decision-making model for the quarterback to make split-second smart calls. And itâ€™s harder to teach. But the challenge is worth it because a no-huddle offense is explosive. It has the capacity to run any defense into the ground.
The K-Gun showed the football world that defenses cannot handle the pressure of a high-speed no-huddle. Defenses are not used to the velocity of thought and action. And no defense has the stamina and strength to keep-up to the hurry-up pace for one simple reason â€“ defenses donâ€™t train that way. Defenses donâ€™t train like no-huddle offenses, physically or mentally. Defenses are conditioned to expect 40-second recovery-time between plays. When an offense reduces that by 80%, it messes with defenseâ€™s collective mindset. Itâ€™s culture shock.
Some NFL and NCAA teams are using no-huddle to some degree but what baffles me is how the K-Gun didnâ€™t influence the football world more than it did. The K-Gun proved a number of things but none more important than this â€“ the same 11 guys canâ€™t play defense for an entire drive. Defenses have evolved. Theyâ€™ve become specialty units, using mass substitutions for specific downs and distance. The K-Gun forced NFL defenses to play with the same 11. They showed it canâ€™t be done because defenses are not coached that way. Defenses arenâ€™t coached to use the same 11 players.
If the Bills had not lost all 4 Super Bowls, the NFL would be the NHL â€“ a No-Huddle League. Generally, football coaches are conformists. Very few are original. Football is a copy-cat sport. If the Bills had won even one Super Bowl with the K-Gun, the huddle would be extinct today. I still believe it will happen someday. A no-huddle team will win a Super Bowl soon and the huddle will gradually disappear. I believe that and hope it will happen because football can be a supremely boring sport. The majority of a football game is down-time â€“ huddling and walking back and forth to the huddle. Do the math. A small percentage of a typical football is actual football. But, like with all myths, many people have been brainwashed to believe that the conventional huddle somehow is stimulating and exciting.
The K-Gun was one of the most potent, exciting offenses in NFL history. If you get a chance, find some film and watch a K-Gun game from the past. In comparison, todayâ€™s game is played in slow-motion.