I used to write about how pro-style meant something different from the spread offense that rapidly took over the college game and that college head coaches who wanted to market their ability to get quarterbacks ready for the NFL had a useful pitch in running pro-style offenses.
The thing is, it appears the spread has swallowed up the pro ranks, too.
In 2013, I sat down with Reid in a plain room in a college building in St. Joseph, Missouri, where the Chiefs held their training camp. He told me that the college game is five years ahead of the pro game and that in five years, the spread offenses that had thoroughly dominated the college game would finally dominate the NFL. Five years later, it happened. The Eagles beat the Patriots in what Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley told me looked like a Big 12 game. I tell this story often for two reasons: Because it’s amazing how prescient Reid was, and because it explains Reid perfectly. He not only sees the future, but he helps shape it. Reid spent those five years borrowing liberally from other levels of football and has now perfected the form. In 2017, spread plays he ran against the Patriots were stolen by the Patriots and a slew of other teams. Reid famously stole a play last season from North Dakota State. The result? “College” plays are rarely discussed anymore. The levels of football have merged, a process Reid helped…
No, not every NFL coach is running what Reid is, but they’re no longer dismissing it out of hand like they used to, either. Hey, don’t take my word for it. Take this guy’s:
In 2018, Belichick said Reid has “over the course of time, been able to modify some of the traditional West Coast principles from Coach [Paul] Brown to Coach [Bill] Walsh to Coach Holmgren and so forth to fit his personnel and to fit new scheme ideas that he’s incorporated. So, West Coast offense is still built around speed, space, and balance—catch and run plays, yards after catch, balance between the running game and the passing game, and getting the ball to skill players so they can make yards with it.”
You don’t need to be a college quarterback in an I-formation offense to be attractive on the next level anymore. If you’re still wondering why Kirby Smart went out and hired Todd Monken, there’s another reason for you. The old pro-style sales pitch doesn’t work on the recruiting trail like it used to.