Thursday, August 27, 2009

Miami Dolphins: Revolutionizing NFL Football?

The words "Wild" and "Cat" have recently conjoined to describe one of the most exciting offensive play sets that the game of football has seen. It originated from the University of Delaware's "Wing-T" formation and more-recently from Arkansas University's modern rendition of it. It has nothing to do with the wild or a feline animal, but it sure does make defensive coordinators go as crazy as it sounds.

When the Miami Dolphins were down 0-2 and heading to New England in week three of 2008, they were facing early season playoff elimination. What did they do? Coach Sparano told David Lee, former offensive coordinator from Arkansas University, to think of something creative to use against the Patriots. That creativity took shape in the Wild Cat formation. The Dolphins stepped into Gillette Stadium and torched their division rivals by a score of 38-13, forcing faithful New England fans to head for the parking lots by the third quarter.

The Wild Cat became a new sensation. It wasn't as effective down the stretch, but it created confusion and long yardage plays. So today you hear of the WC on the sports networks, in the papers and on the internet - discussing how effective it will be, how to defend it and its potential in the NFL. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Wild Cat may just be another step in the evolution of the NFL's on-the-field product.

The Dolphins may not have created it, but they were the most recent team to bring it to the pro football realm. Trickeration at the peak of its meaning is what it is all about. Rumors swirl about whether teams are "Wild Cat Equipped." It seems as though it truly has set off a fire in the NFL.

The latest generation of QBs, those who exhibit speed, agility and scrambling skills, are at the centerpieces of this formation. Now that Michael Vick has joined the Philadelphia Eagles they have opened the door to Wild Cat plays. Pat White in the Dolphins' roster gives Miami's Wild Cat formations a more serious passing threat. And look at Tim Tebow from the Florida Gators, a prime candidate to play in the WC, with skillful passing and smash-mouth running abilities (once he enters the NFL of course).

With players like these in the league, the possibilities are endless.

As for those who believe that the Wild Cat is a temporary fling in the NFL, that is difficult to fathom. With the aforementioned athletes available, and similar players up and coming, it won't be that easy to blitz the hell out of each Wild Cat play. Ronnie Brown may not be a bonafide passer, but try pass rushing against a versatile QB - that just leaves another wide open receiver on the field.

Beyond the NFL, the Wild Cat has even reached the virtual football world through EA Sport's Madden 10. Fans now get the opportunity to run actual WC plays on their gaming consoles and attempt to fool opposing defenses.

Yes, it has actually gone this far, and to think it all started in week three of the 2008 NFL season. Some may be skeptics, but for many this is "change we can believe in."

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