A term in football used to describe a very basic and straight forward offense. Vanilla Offense utilizes very predictable and simple plays in which there are no complicated offensive plays. This type of offense gained it name due to its bland nature and are generally found in teams with less skill and ability at pulling off more complex play running.
During a vanilla offense the players line up and run basic
patterns for passes and forward runs with minimal variety. A
vanilla offense may use safe plays that only gain a few yards
instead of more tricky plays that would allow the team long gains
on the field. This type of offense is primarily done during
exhibition games. The purpose is to thwart the opposing teams'
coaches from gathering any information from the team's playbook. It
would be detrimental to a team should their more strategic plays be
known and studied by an opposing team prior to the actual
Other situations where vanilla offenses can be seen is when a coach lacks the confidence to try more complicated offense formations and plays during a game.