Mike Leach is the football rebel that not only stormed the castle, he's now eating caviar in the throne room. His Air Raid offense, birthed as a Guerrilla warfare answer for underdog programs taking on The Establishment, has now taken over the entire sport of football.
Leach's former assistant coach is now the toast of the entire sport, a coach whose last two quarterbacks won the Heisman Trophy. The first such quarterback was taken No. 1 overall in the most recent draft, and the second one could be a first-round pick as well. Said coach could have his pick of available NFL jobs with the lifting of a single finger.
The Air Raid is so popular right now that one of Leach's former players just got an NFL head coaching job after going 35-40 in six seasons at the college level.
The revolution is over, and the rebels have won.
So, how does Leach feel about his offenses infiltration of the NFL? Naturally, he loves it. "You can run the whole thing," Leach told KJR-AM in Seattle on Tuesday. "Any notion that 'anything you can run in college, you can't run in the NFL,' that's just NFL arrogance and lunacy."
Leach then tore into -- in the way only Leach can -- pretty much the only objection against the Air Raid left.
"I think the stupidity of the NFL hits a new low every time I hear this: ‘I’ve never seen the quarterback take a snap from under center.’ Oh really? You haven’t seen him take a snap under center," Leach said. "You’re at the highest level. Somehow you’ve squirmed and crawled, probably very similar to Gollum from Lord of the Rings, and found yourself in the NFL and somehow you have the total inability to teach a guy to take a snap. Aren’t they proud to have you? Every 7th grade coach in the country can teach a guy to take a snap... Well, obviously it’s because he can’t. He’s got an inability to stick his hand under somebody’s ass and pluck a ball away once it’s placed at the top."
Now that Kliff Kingsbury is an NFL head coach and Lincoln Riley could get the pick of open NFL jobs, has the godfather of the Air Raid ever considered coaching in the League? Not really, but he hasn't ruled it out. "The closest I came was years ago," Leach said. "I was just appointed offensive coordinator at Oklahoma and they asked me to coach receivers with the Bengals and I stayed at Oklahoma because I had the opportunity to call plays at Oklahoma."
It's an interesting What If? to ponder where football would be had Leach taken that job. Leach was only the offensive coordinator for one season, in 1999. Imagine Leach bails on new Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops to take the Bengals' offer and remains in the NFL ever since. The Air Raid never transforms college football and, now, the NFL, meaning the NFL would have inadvertently snuffed out the revolution it now embraces.