Skip to main content

How Chip Kelly influenced the Patriots no-huddle

The Boston Globe came out with an interesting piece early this morning, explaining how Chip Kelly helped influence New England's use of the no-huddle.

The relationship between Chip Kelly and Bill O'Brien all started with pick up basketball games between two east coast coaching staffs.

While Kelly was at the University of New Hampshire, the staff would sometimes travel up to Brown to talk schemes, and play the occasional pick up basketball game. It was there that Kelly started to share no huddle ideas with Brown assistant coach Bill O'Brien, and their friendship carried over to when Kelly went to Oregon and O'Brien joined the Patriots staff.

Kelly went back to the east coast to talk the no huddle with the Patriots staff a handful of times, including two years ago when he caught the ear of Bill Belichick. Kelly told Belichick and the staff that he was moving to a no huddle system that used just one word to signify the entire play call.

One word was all Kelly planned to use to to communicate the entire offensive formation, protection, motion, shift and play.

While it was hard for the New England staff to grasp at first, Chip Kelly's message to them was to not put a limit on the players' minds, because they will learn what you teach them.

“I was interested to hear how he did it,” Belichick explained of Kelly's no huddle knowledge. “I would say he expanded it to a different level and it was very interesting to understand what he was doing. Certainly I’ve learned a lot from talking to Chip about his experiences with it and how he does it and his procedure and all that.”

New England switched to the one word system while O'Brien called the offense in 2011 and had to adjust the one word play calls a few times throughout the year before they really got things rolling in the playoffs. Now, because of their unique personnel with guys like Aaron Hernandez, they're able to check out of an empty backfield pass formation, to an under center run to take advantage of a defensive alignment, all with one word.

Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe does a great job of further explaining how the Patriots now use their no-huddle system in the original article, which can be read in its entirety here.