It has been called basketball on grass. It also has been written off as a gimmick that can’t possibly work in the N.F.L. But with Kliff Kingsbury going full-bore with his version of the Air Raid offense in his first season as coach of the Arizona Cardinals, it is a safe bet that the hyperactive, pass-heavy college scheme is going to be the talk of the N.F.L. this fall.
People will talk about it if it works. Even more people will talk about it if it fails.
Kyler Murray, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who dominated while running the Air Raid at Oklahoma, and was snagged by Kingsbury with the No. 1 selection in this year’s draft, thinks any skepticism is unnecessary.
“I don’t see why everybody thinks that it can’t be successful,” Murray said last month, adding: “It works at the college level. I don’t see how it couldn’t work at the pro level.”
The Air Raid, a brainchild of the coaches Hal Mumme and Mike Leach from their days together at Iowa Wesleyan, Valdosta State and Kentucky in the 1990s, sets up the pass with the pass (and passes again if the first two passes fail). It had inspired countless debates in terms of pro viability long before the 40-year-old…