On Tuesday, the NFL Vice President of Officiating declared that former Oregon Ducks head coach and current first-year Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly will not be able to run the high-speed, uptempo offense that he ran during his time as a college coach.
While it may come as no surprise – NFL rules inherently slow down the pace of snaps – Kelly may need to make some adjustments to his strategy for the upcoming NFL season after being reminded about the rules by Dean Blandino, the NFL V.P. of Officiating.
“We have to make sure teams understand that they don’t control the tempo, our officials do,” Blandino told The Wall Street Journal. “We’re going through our normal ball mechanics, we aren’t going to rush [unless] it’s in the two minute drill.”
After multiple teams used uptempo offenses at times last year, Blandino contacted every team’s coaching staff to remind them that in the NFL, teams are not allowed to snap the football until given the signal from a referee. In contrast, college football rules allow teams to snap the football immediately after it is placed by a referee.
Kelly has been preparing the Eagles to run a play every 12 seconds this season, and his practices have been modeled in many ways after his college practices at Oregon, where the team blasts loud music and runs as many plays as possible in a certain period of time.
When he alerted Kelly of the rule, Blandino said that Kelly did not display any “overconcern.”
Oregon ran 82.8 plays per game last year under Kelly. The New England Patriots led the NFL in 2012 with an average of 74.4 plays per game, which was the highest such average in two decades.
In addition, NFL rules also state that defenses must be allowed to make substitutions if the offense makes a substitution, regardless of how quickly the offense does so. Blandino also told The Journal that, to ensure the defense has an opportunity to get set, the referee will stand over the ball prior to the snap.
Kelly will make his NFL regular season coaching debut September 9 on Monday Night Football (ESPN) at 4:10 p.m. PT against the Washington Redskins. Kelly has not yet named his starting quarterback, which will likely be either Nick Foles or Mike Vick.
Meanwhile, the Oregon Ducks start their season under new head coach Mark Helfrich August 31 against Nicholls State University at 3 p.m. PT.