article: CFL-inspired QB revolution in the NFL

[b] ALLAN MAKI The Globe and Mail

They saw it in the motion, the way the running backs moved before the football was snapped. They saw it in the formations, the multiple sets with receivers spread from sideline to sideline. Mostly, they saw it in the way the quarterbacks were used, how they were allowed to run. The way San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran the Green Bay Packers right out of the NFC playoffs.

For those who coach and manage in the CFL, that playoff game – in fact, the entire 2012 NFL season – produced a common refrain: the four-down game is looking more and more like the three-down version when it comes to offensive scheming and quarterbacking. It’s been that way the past few years, but this past season was a full-on convergence, a melding of philosophies. And it wasn’t just the Super Bowl-bound Kaepernick who highlighted that point. It was Robert Griffin, RGIII, doing a Warren Moon for the Washington Redskins. It was Russell Wilson resembling Doug Flutie for the Seattle Seahawks. They threw the ball with precision and they ran defences ragged with their head coach’s blessing.

No one will ever mistake the CFL for the NFL – the economics are way too tilted in the U.S. league’s favour for that to happen. But as the four-down game changes, as it becomes less rigid, more adventurous, it moves into the CFL’s world[/b]

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...the sad thing is the CFL won't get much if any credit for the renaissance occurring in the NFL, many americans will think this was just the normal evolution of their version of the game

Anyone that has watched the CFL over the past few years can see that the Pistol Formation is the standard formation. when is the last time a team had an offense where the QB lined up under center except for short yardage. The run part of the Pistol will not last as long as people think

I see more the spread formation in use in the CFL than the pistol formation, and I can see how it could have influenced American football.

If there has been greater influence on the NFL game by the CFL, it was via the run-and-shoot of yesteryear as is now the spread offence as is used currently by New Orleans and Green Bay and often Denver. Sometimes there is one back and sometimes there are no backs, but it is the spread offence.

Notice last night even Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens used it with four and five receivers on an otherwise pro-set offence most of the game.

Henry Burris is the only CFL QB since I have been watching the CFL since 2009 to use mostly when at Calgary often a formation as resembled the pistol with effective misdirection and play action. The other QBs are just scrambling at times after looking to pass including Buck Pierce.

Here is a very detailed article about the pistol formation's roots at the University of Nevada as is Colin Kaepernick's alma mater:

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Whether the coach at Nevada in 2005, Chris Ault, was inspired by the CFL or not is unclear, but I do not agree with the general slant of the article cited in a previous post that the pistol is an "all-Canadian" idea lest someone can point me to Canadian inspiration for Chris Ault at Nevada in 2005.

And if they should widen the field, I'd have to likely reverse my view below after a few years because no doubt some of the decades of intelligence on plays and mechanics for more mobile QBs will drift even more from Canada to the NFL.