It's amazing how 'change' brings out the best and worst of us, not only in sports, but in life. I love when I read through the college football teams blogosphere's and those fans of teams who run more of a conventional offense calling 'The Spread' a hoax, or "gimmick offense".
So, I decided to look up the definitions of both:
hoax (n.) : subject to a playful joke - something intended to deceive; deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage
gimmick (n.) : an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, one designed to attract attention or increase appeal - a concealed, usually devious aspect or feature of something, as a plan or deal
I think if you look at these two definitions, I would tend to lean towards 'gimmick' over 'hoax', but the "deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage" part of the hoax definition has me intrigued! (Gosh, all these long words... is this English class!).
When I think of 'The Spread Offense', my first thought IS gaining an advantage over the defense based on player numbers (no more 9 blockers vs 11 tacklers scenarios in the running game), tempo (usually in some sort of a no huddle), field or 'grass' (meaning using the entire 53 yards across and the hash-marks to your advantage), and the isolation of skill players or 'athletes' (the need for the defense to tackle well in 'one on one' situations in the open field, making 'gang tackling' harder by the defense).
My mother used to say that 'most trends and styles eventually come back', and I guess in football you're seeing the return of "The Single Wing Offense", but on steroids!! (I know, steroids are a sore subject, you get what I mean though).
The three major changes, two evolutionary of the game and one technological are:
1) The Forward Pass and its complex pass routes
2) The Spread Formation across the entire field
3) On field Headsets linked to the coaches box for real time feedback and play changes
Lets go back to our definitions and now define:
evolution (n.) : development, a process in which something passes by degrees to a different stage (especially a more advanced or mature stage); "the development of ...
My vote for "The Spread Offense" is: evolution
Now...join the evolution and spread 'em out!! (and enjoy the show, it's a lot of fun).