"'I don't know enough about the single wing,' Childress said. 'I think it was probably in before I was born. I've never read any books on it. It might be something to investigate in my bye week.'"
From a 2004 article by Dr. Z in Sports Illustrated:
"And Mularkey had an old Pop Warner double-wing that he put in after studying the playbook of a high school coach in Florida who ran it. And he says he has the first book ever written on the 'true single-wing,' and someday you just might see the Bills lining up in it ... 'only if you have the right personnel for it on the field,' he says.
"'When we ran it in camp it was amazing, the confusion all the misdirection caused. You could have defensive guys flowing in different directions. They were running all over the place.'
"During a vacation in Alaska last summer, he talked to the winningest high school coach in the state, whose team ran out of multiple-wing formations. 'He told me the biggest key was to tell a defense that had to face it -- "Don't move."'"
Mike Mularkey did what a creative, thinking, hard-working offensive coach does. He doesn't just stick to his own system: he studies other systems to see what works. He looks around to see what other coaches are doing, and tries to incorporate that into his own offensive plans. That means he studied the playbook of a Florida high school. That means he talked to a high school coach in Alaska about his offense. That means he has the first book on the single-wing offense. Whatever successes or failures Mularkey has had, he's worked hard to understand offensive football, to study what other innovative, creative football minds are doing at even the high school level. And that means he's studied some basic, old-fashioned offensive formations to see if he could utilize them in the professional game.
It's not just that I know the basics of the single wing and a NFL coach specializing in offense claims he doesn't. It's not just that an NFL coach specializing in offense claims he doesn't know the basics of a very traditional, old formation in football, that he's never even encountered it in a book.
It's that I cannot imagine Brad Childress reading a high school playbook, or talking to a high school coach, believing that he has anything to learn, that there is anything that could be added to his "kick-ass" offense.
And with that, I've lost faith that Brad Childress will ever be a better than average offensive coach. I know, it took me longer than it took most of you, but that's what's done it for me. A coach like Mike Mularkey studies high school use wing formations to try be a better coach; a coach like Brad Childress says he's never read about it in a book.
In the future I'll likely be writing posts arguing for Mike Mularkey as the next coach of the Minnesota Vikings (look forward to it! I'll have great reasons). But don't focus on that for now. For now understand this: your head coach of the Minnesota Vikings says he doesn't know enough about the single wing.