Talk:List of formations in American football

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The single wing, the spread (or shotgun), and are they the same?[edit]

This is, IMO, an issue of language, and how people use it, and not so much an issue of the real formations involved. So let me see if I can lay it out as best I can.

1. If you're the kind of person who uses "single wing" to denote all the formations that involve a pass from center to the tailback, and do not distinguish between the various old formations, then the single wingback is a shotgun, or spread formation.

2. If you're the kind of person who thinks the single wingback is one formation, the double wingback is another formation, the short punt is yet another formation, and that spreads of various kinds may be a double wingback but may not be, then what you're going to say is that the shotgun is a descendant of the spread. This is an argument that will never leave the Wikipedia and will always be in the hands of the last opinionated editor to touch it.

I personally am in category 2. I'll note that the coaches of the time, in the books of the time (Bible's 1947 text, Don Faurot's book on the Split T, even Jones and Wilkinson's 1957 text) didn't treat these offenses as the same. The coaching texts of the time show very different defenses for the single wing as opposed to the spread.[1][2] They did not lump all these defenses in one grand bucket. The single wing was a power running formation. Double wings and spreads were passing formations. They seem as different to me as apples and oranges, and to the extent the Wikipedia cannot accommodate the differing points of view, it does a disservice to everyone. Dwmyers (talk) 18:32, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

pro set[edit]

This may be a generational thing, but I most associate the pro set with Vince Lombardi (Giants, Packers, etc). Dwmyers (talk) 21:13, 21 June 2013 (UTC)


4-3 inventor is really up in the air historically, take your pick of any number of teams that experimented with it. Tom Landry is often credited as the inventor as he was the first to use it as his base defense. Dwmyers (talk) 21:13, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Double Wing[edit]

The discussion is entirely modern and ignores history. I've been reading biographies of Sammy Baugh, and TCU back in the 1930s used it extensively under Dutch Meyer. To claim Don Markham "invented" the double wing is historical nonsense, as Sammy at TCU with Meyer were using the formation before Don Markham was born. Dwmyers (talk) 11:52, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

To Add[edit]

  1. "T-Wing" formation, created and first used by Otto D. Unruh in 1938 (source in article).


  1. ^ see Faurot's separate chapters for single wing defense (21) and spread defense (22). Secrets of the "Split-T" formation, Prentice-Hall, 1950
  2. ^ See Jones and Wilksonson's separate chapters on single wing defense (16) and spread defense (17), Modern Defensive Football, Prentice-Hall, 1957