An offensive philosophy in football that utilizes short, high percentage passes as the foundation of a ball-control offense. More of a philosophy on how to conduct a play than a specific formation.
While the philosophy was invented in Cincinnati Ohio in the mid 1970s by coach Paul Brown, it was the San Francisco 49ers that made it popular. The foundation of the West Coast Offense is to use short routes for receivers and short passes instead of runs. The West Coast Offense will utilize many receivers to spread the ball to many targets and allow the quarterback as many options as possible. The purpose of this type of offense to thoroughly confuse the defense. Once the defense is stretched out from the short pass play the offense is open to larger gains with longer running plays and longer passes. In addition by using the short passes in the beginning of the game the longer running plays can be saved for later in the game, when the defense is starting to tire.