5 top football innovations

Oklahoma State football players huddle before the next play during their team's practice, Dec. 27, 2011, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Matt York/AP

Too bad you can't patent a football tactic. If that were the case, the San Francisco 49ers could sue any team that used the "shotgun" formation (see below). But coaches and players can – and do – quickly adopt successful strategies. Among them are the following.

The huddle

In 1921, Bob Zuppke at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was scorned for the idea – until his team became national champions in 1923.

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