Wildcat Offense: Sounds Scary!

All season I keep hearing sports commentators talk about the WILDCAT OFFENSE. They keep mentioning it, and they act like it’s something special, so I figured I’d better look into it.

Here’s what I’ve found:

There isn’t a quarterback!

I was STUNNED when I learned this. I thought you couldn’t play football without a QB, but it turns out you can if you use this offense. Normally, the ball would get snapped to the quarterback, who would handoff or pass the ball. With the wildcat offense, the quarterback sits on the sidelines and watches the ball get snapped (in some cases) directly to the runningback. The runningback can run the ball, hand it off to another player, or throw it. Since there isn’t a quarterback playing, teams can sometimes put in an extra offensive lineman, making the defense weaker than when playing against a normal offense.

It’s confusing- to the defense AND to me!
I’ve been reading and reading about this, and it turns out the wildcat offense can do just about anything. The scenario I described above is just one option. Other times, they might leave the QB in to play as a receiver, or the runningback will throw the ball instead of the quarterback. But the versatility of the wildcat offense is what makes it so successful—the defense has a hard time defending against something so unpredictable. They never know whether the ball will be handed off, passed, rush, or thrown deep. And a defense that is confused equals an offense that can SCORE. Basically, the only thing you can count on with the wildcat is that the ball will not be snapped directly to the QB. Everything else is up for grabs.

It’s something old, something new, and something borrowed. But it’s not blue.

The NCAA has been using this offense for years, and the NFL used to use it as well, but over time phased it out. But, in 2008 the Miami Dolphins became famous with the wildcat offense, when they won their divison in a dramatic way (note: their division includes perennial favorites the New England Patriots). They ended up losing in the first round of the playoffs, but 2008 is remembered as the revival of the wildcat. Now, in 2010 it is not uncommon to see many NFL teams switching to the wildcat on any given game day.  This explains why the commentators talk about it so much: it’s being used all the time.


1)   It looks like this:

2)   Ball not snapped to the QB
3)  It’s a big deal

Gals, that’s the best I could do. The wildcat offense is complicated and can be used in a variety of ways. I just couldn’t get it all into a blog post.

Got any wisdom to contribute to this topic? I’d love to hear it!


Post a Comment