In American football, a smashmouth offense is an offensive system that relies on a strong running game, where most of the plays run by the offense are handoffs to the fullback or tailback. It is a more traditional style of offense that often results in a higher time of possession by running the ball heavily. So-called "smash-mouth football" is often run out of the I-formation or wishbone, with tight ends and receivers used as blockers. Though the offense is run-oriented, pass opportunities can develop as defenses play close to the line. Play-action can be very effective for a run-oriented team.
"Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust"
Used to describe the run-heavy offenses such as run by Woody Hayes of Ohio State University in the 1950s and 1960s. A quarterback under Hayes would often throw fewer than 10 passes a game. Hayes is credited as saying "Three things can happen when you pass the ball, and two of them are bad". This is a grind-it-out ball control offense that relies on time of possession and high percentage inside running off of handoffs to advance the ball down the field. Hayes relied primarily on the fullback off-tackle play.
Run to Daylight
The central two plays in this philosophy are off-tackle run and the so-called Packers sweep. In both plays, the offensive line would work to seal off a running lane for the back to use, and the running back would aim for this corridor rather than a specific pre-snap hole. In the off-tackle run, the quarterback would hand off (often to the fullback) who started running to the position between the tight end and tackle, but would aim for the best hole that developed. In the sweep, the two guards would pull to form the outside wall of the running lane, while the center and run side tackle would form the inside wall of the lane. The fullback would lead the path through the lane for the half back, who received a pitch from the quarterback.
College teams that used the Smashmouth offense
NFL teams that used the Smashmouth offense
|Start||End||Team||Head coach||Offensive coordinator|
|1959||1967||Green Bay Packers||Vince Lombardi|
|1969||1970||Washington Redskins||Vince Lombardi|
|1977||1980||Dallas Cowboys||Tom Landry||Dan Reeves|
|1981||1992||Denver Broncos||Dan Reeves||Rod Dowhower, Mike Shanahan, Chan Gailey, and George Henshaw|
|1982||1992||Chicago Bears||Mike Ditka||Ed Hughes and Greg Landry|
|1986||1991||Minnesota Vikings||Jerry Burns||Bob Schnelker and Tom Moore|
|1993||1996||New York Giants||Dan Reeves||George Henshaw|
|1997||2003||Atlanta Falcons||Dan Reeves||George Sefcik and Pete Mangurian|
|1997||1999||New Orleans Saints||Mike Ditka||Danny Abramowicz|
|2005||2006||Jacksonville Jaguars||Jack Del Rio||Carl Smith|
|2008||2011||Miami Dolphins||Tony Sparano||Dan Henning and Brian Daboll|
|2012||2014||New York Jets||Rex Ryan||Tony Sparano|
|2016||2018||Tennessee Titans||Mike Mularkey||Terry Robiskie|