- David Fleming, ESPN The Magazine
In August, to break the monotony of training camp, the Eagles held a night practice in front of 30,000 fans. Eagles Flight Night featured skydivers, a steady flow of freebies tossed into the stands and a dance routine by the cheerleaders set to "Enter Sandman" that even cranky Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich would have enjoyed.
But the real spectacle took place on the field. For two hours, regardless of down, distance, personnel groups or field position, Philly lined up -- for as many as eight snaps in a row -- in the shotgun. Flight Night, indeed. The Eagles' emphasis in practice was the latest evidence of a strategic shift in the NFL. In 2009, for what is believed to be the first time in history, more passes were thrown from the shotgun (55.7%) than from under center.
The shotgun has taken over the NFL. Its usage rate continues to rise; last year teams used it on more than half of passing plays for the first time in history. And with the likes of the Eagles embracing the formation, that stat will only increase.