The “No Huddle” Offense an Example of Lean

As you are watching football this weekend, pay attention to the number of teams going “no huddle.” In college, you will see Oregon or Texas A&M do it. In the pros, you will see some of the most productive offensive teams like New Orleans, New England and Green Bay do the same.

Five years ago, no one did the “no huddle.” This year, 14% of the plays run in an NFL game are “no huddle.”

The goal of the “no huddle” is to eliminate any extra time that comes between snaps. The teams that run “no huddle” work hard on their conditioning and pace. By eliminating wasted time between snaps and having a more fit team, they attempt to both tire the opposing team and prevent substitutions the defense might attempt to combat the weariness they experience by responding to the “no huddle.”

So, receivers are instructed to get the ball to the official so that he can put it in play faster. The offense sprints to the line of scrimmage to set back up. The play is called with single words or a hand signal. The pace of the game is sped up.

No wasted time. No wasted motion. Better use of a dear resource – time involved in moving the ball.

We did a study once where we examined saws to see how much actual time wood was in contact with a saw blade. The measurement was done on a productive saw. The results were a shock. The measurement was that about 50% of the time we were cutting and 50% of the time we were sitting around.

Time was eaten up with changeovers, moving lumber to and from the saw, unplanned bathroom breaks, lack of information – you name it. Lots of things.

The “no huddle” studies how a team runs an offensive drive and sets about moving faster. Why do we trot instead of sprint? Why do we make the official chase down the ball? Why do we need to huddle each time to decide what we are going to do? Why do the titles of the plays need to be so complicated? What can we learn in advance to make this go faster? How can we prepare ourselves as players to be able to move at this faster pace? Will it give us an edge that sets us apart?

What does “lean” look like? A “no huddle” offense.

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