If a team didn’t invent a particular scheme, they often receive credit for mastering it. The K-Gun, or “No Huddle” offense, is sometimes considered to be the brain-child of Marv Levy and the Buffalo Bills. In actuality, it was first used by the Cincinnati Bengals, who defeated the Bills in the AFC Championship, who employed the approach shortly after.
How the No Huddle Offense Works
The No Huddle or “Hurry Up” scheme is a means to reduce wasted clock time, and to exploit weaknesses in an opponent’s defense. The offense approaches scrimmage with a pre-determined play in mind. The quarterback calls an audible, which allows him to change or vary the play depending on the defensive scheme that he sees.
With this scheme, the offense also limits their own substitutions, with the intent to march down the field and score as quickly as possible. This approach is frequently employed during the two minute drill in order to conserve the clock (in addition to running out of bounds). In addition, this approach is meant to inhibit productivity, much like the Bills’ high-scoring offense of the 90s.
Benefits of the No Huddle Offense
One benefit of the scheme is that it maximizes the number of plays that an offense can pull off. Even when a large number of points are not the desired outcome, the scheme can allow a team to come back from last minute deficits to win games. Also, a defense is forced to dial up an answer to the pre-determined play in equal measure.
A notable, recent example of the “No Huddle” is Superbowl LII, in which the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots. In a close game, in which the Giants were heavy underdogs (and who had lost to New England in the final game of the regular season), New York employed this scheme to hang on against the previously undefeated Patriots.
Disadvantages of the No Huddle Offense
A disadvantage is that a defense can figure it out and game-plan around it once a team has employed it enough times, similar to the Miami Dolphins’ “Wildcat” offense. The “No Huddle” was at its most powerful when it was originally used by the Bengals and later perfected by the Bills.
Like the West Coast Offense, this approach generally needs to be handled by skilled quarterbacks. Teams that currently use the “No Huddle” have quarterbacks like Tom Brady (Patriots), Peyton Manning (Colts) and Carson Palmer (Bengals) on their roster. With the exception of Matt Ryan in Atlanta, this is not an approach generally used by less experienced quarterbacks.