The Chiefs’ bison concept
The Bison concept was brought to the NFL by former North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz. It’s not an all-purpose play like mesh or Y-cross but it does have its uses. Teams around the NFL noticed its efficacy in the low red zone (5-10 yard line) and installed it themselves.
The Eagles call it ‘Mario’
It’s essentially arches/short post designed for when the field is condensed
As mentioned above, it’s a play that’s best saved for the low red zone. It also should only be used in its current form against middle of the field closed (MOFC) coverages (1 high coverages, unless vs Tampa 2-
This resulted in the Chiefs only calling it 6 times over the course of the last two seasons. Four of these times were against MOFO coverages. They were 1-4 for 2 yards on these plays. Their two examples vs MOFC coverages resulted in one touchdown and one dropped touchdown.
The Chiefs always paired bison with a knife concept on the backside. Knife is a nice way to defeat double press as the knife should usually get sufficient separation.
The pre-snap read for the quarterback is simple: work the knife side if double press; work the bison side if MOFC; audible to a different pass concept or simply a run if 2-high.
The post snap read is also easy for the quarterback. If it’s MOFC, the apex defender will flow towards the flat to cover the back. Due to the tight split and the fact that the middle of the field is closed, the CB will usually have outside leverage. So, the quarterback should trust the short post/arches receiver to beat him. This just leaves the strong hook defender, and is thus the read for the quarterback on the play. If it’s possible to throw the sit, the quarterback should do so ASAP. If the hook is sitting in the window then he should throw the arches route.
Some examples of the QB’s read
If the defense is showing pressure pre-snap but there’s not double press to the knife side, the hot should be the back’s shoot route. If the defense brings pressure without showing it than you just have to hope that the quarterback gets the ball out before getting sacked (which shouldn’t be a major issue as the sit and arches route are quick developing).
The only adjustment needed to make it an all purpose play in the low red zone is to have the Y run a sit and go if two high. The easiest way to run it would be to have him run to the same spot as he would if it’s single high (5 yards over the ball) if the mike is sinking back (Tampa 2), but if the mike is matching him then he should run at him, sit in front of him, and then pivot back outside. The quarterback should throw slightly to the outside of him.
This adjustment will make the play effective against quarters as the mike will be isolated on the Y.