No, seriously. Coach
In Green Bay, the
"The no-huddle is a beast,"
In that case — with apologies to
It's worth noting that while every hurry-up is a no-huddle, not every no-huddle is a hurry-up. For instance, Denver quarterback
The Packers and Seahawks could be in fast-forward quite a bit Thursday night when they kick off the NFL season at
The emphasis on speed hasn't just put a premium on the endurance of players. The NFL demands that its on-field officials meet the challenge, and they are given extensive fitness tests to make sure they aren't a drag on the frenetic pace of a game.
In July, the Wall Street Journal reported NFL referees participated in a fitness clinic in Dallas in which they were tested for all types of "functional movements," including flexibility and speed.
"We're trying to help them and we feel that's going to translate into better officiating. Better movement, better officiating," Dean Blandino, the league's vice president of officiating, told WSJ.com. "If it helps us officiate more plays [in the no-huddle], that's a good thing."
For the TV broadcast team, that demands the ability to nimbly adjust on the fly. In last season's Kickoff Opener, when Denver played host to Baltimore, the NBC crew was ready in case Manning upshifted to turbo mode.
"What [producer] Fred Gaudelli came up with was, don't even try to jam a replay in," play-by-play announcer
As it happened, Denver didn't run its fastest-speed offense and instead relied on its basic offense, so the network didn't need to show clusters of replays in packages. But with Green Bay threatening to step on the accelerator, the broadcasting contingency plan is back in place for Thursday's game.
Michaels thinks the Packers could be sounding a false alarm, particularly with the challenge of communicating in a deafening environment.
"Every year you hear teams are going to run the fastest hurry-up, et cetera, but I think that's a little bit of a smokescreen," he said. "It's one thing to say you're going to run a play every 12 seconds, but it's another thing to actually do it. You tell me if Green Bay's going to be able to run that offense in that stadium as a visiting team."
Kelly thinks people frequently read too much into a high play count.
"I don't think plays-run and playing fast are correlations," Kelly said. "I've never said that. I've seen teams run 90 plays in college and score seven points.
"I've never been a plays-run guy. I think that's an overblown thing. I've always kind of chuckled inside at this whole deal of he wants to run a ton of plays. I've never wanted to run a ton of plays. All I've ever wanted to do is score a ton of points. If we can score them in one play, that's awesome. If we can score them in 14-play drive, that's awesome too."
One of the main objectives is to string plays together in staccato fashion so that a defense doesn't have time to rotate in fresh players, or players who are better suited for, say, passing situations. As long as the offense isn't substituting players, it's not required to wait for the defense to do so.
Todd Haley, Steelers offensive coordinator, has resorted to the hurry-up throughout his career. When he was head coach in Kansas City in 2009, and his
"We came up with a package on all second downs," Haley recalled by phone. "As soon as second down ended, we went right to the line and had a package of plays we could run out of whatever personnel group we were in, to keep [Steelers defensive coordinator] Dick LeBeau from getting to his third-down calls. If you did it fast enough, he couldn't get to them, so you got a much more vanilla look."
The Chiefs had several huge plays on third down in that game, including two touchdowns in regulation and a 61-yard catch and carry in overtime that set up the winning field goal in a 27-24 victory. It was one of just four games Kansas City won that season.
Although more teams are using it more frequently, the hurry-up offense is nothing new.