Spread Offense



The spread offense is an offensive scheme that is used in the National Football League and the Canadian Football League.

This offense is used at every level of the game including college football and high school football across America and Canada.

The offense is used in the NFL when a team is behind or they are trying to quicken the pace of the game.

Creator of the Spread Offense


The creator of the offense is Rusty Russell a graduate of Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, and thecoach of the Fort Worth's Masonic Home and for orphaned boys.

Russell who started coaching in 1927, created the offense because his team were physically over match.

A book was written by author Jim Dent entitled, Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football.

The spread offense consist of the quarterback in the shoot gun usually with a empty backfield (no running back), and a 5 receiver set.

The formation can vary with a running back in the backfield, a TE and three wide receivers. Some formation have the offensive linemen split.

The objective of the spread offense is to spread the defense out to move the football vertically down the field by running and passing. This offense spread the defense thin across the field horizontally to cover man to man.

The first team to run this offense were the Houston "Luv Ya Blue" Oilers, followed by the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions. In the 1980s the San Diego Chargers and the west coast offense develop by Bill Walsh of the San Francisco 49ersused variations of the offense.

In 2007 the New England Patriots used the spread with Tom Brady and wide receivers Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth, and Jabar Gaffney.

Every team in the NFL uses a version of the spread scheme during a two minute drill, to trier the defense and to give their offense a boost.

The spread football offense is not used as a teams primary offense in the NFL. Defensive players in the NFL are much faster than college defensive players.

The spaces for NFL receiver covered by an NFL corner-back closes quickly. In addition, the quarterback risk being injured even if he has a blocking back in the back field.

The risk versus reward is not worth the risk since the object of the offense is to spread the defense by using the receivers and running back to spread the offense instead of providing pass protection for the quarterback.

In recent years the head coach Chan Gailey of the Buffalo Bills used the offense with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Atlanta Falcons with Matt "Matty Ice" Ryan have been using the spread scheme to speed the game up or get offense a boost.

The Super Bowl Champions Green Bay Packers have been running the spread football offense with QB Aaron Rodgers. The Denver Broncos also used the offense when Tim Tebow became the starting QB.

In the future I think this offense will be used more often with variation to protect the quarterback. Look out Defenses!