Last season in 2012 I was living with a little over 50 American Veterans recuperating. At the beginning of the football season, the college to NFL fan base in that little group was about 10 NFL fans to one college fan.
By the end of the season, the ratio was just about even between the NFL and college.
By hook or crook, I got that group to watch college football, more specifically, the brand of football that the Oregon Ducks play. People became interested in this new style of football – at least new to them. This brand of football was exciting, fast paced, successful, and probably the most telling adjective, fun.
“What is this thing you call football?” I remember one asking me. It wasn't the drudgery of a running back running between the tackles again and again and again. It wasn't the semi-fast wishbone or your typical I or T formations. This wasn't even the more enjoyable West Coast Offense. No, this was a new twist on something that wasn't new at all – the spread offense. Oregon had put its own twists and turns into the spread to make it seem as though it was something entirely new.
Typical I formation Typical T formation
Typical Wishbone Typical Spread
It was the 'Oregon Offense', it was the 'blur offense'.
Towards the middle of the season, purist NFL guys were coming to me and saying they were seeing some of the Ducks plays being utilized in the NFL. Teams like the Seahawks, the 49ers, the Steelers and maybe the mostly by the Patriots were taking a page from the Ducks playbook and they were being successful doing it. I could begin to see a shift in the mindsets of these knowledgeable football fans.
Then there were those flashy uniforms that other colleges were starting to sport. There were the wild helmets that fans old and new were coming to like. There was this flash, this blink and it's gone, this go-get-your-coffee-and-you-miss-it feeling to what the Ducks were bringing to the football world. These avid football fans were being turned to the offense-side and away from the defense-side.
By the time the Fiesta Bowl came around, it was the most anticipated bowl in our little group. When De'Anthony Thomas ran back that kick off, the place was in an uproar. Somewhere I heard someone say, “Now this is football”.
Yeah, it is football. It is Oregon's brand of football. It's the type of football that tOSU fans, 'Bama, Seahawks, 49ers and Patriot fans are telling me is their favorite type of game and that the Ducks are their second favorite team in the country.
Welcome to football – Oregon style – a brand that is changing the way the game is being played at both the lower levels and at the highest level of football. Welcome to the twenty first century style of football.