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NFL's "All-22" Footage Will Be Great, But Just Provides a Small Piece

Last year, the NFL didn’t seem likely to make the “All-22″ film of its games available to the general public, with those in the game concerned that its release would prompt greater criticism of coaches and players.

That concern, to me, seems a little misplaced, if only because there is plenty of criticism as it is. I don’t think you’ll suddenly have a net increase in criticism, though there may be specific instances where the focus changes.

On Friday, the NFL announced that it would be releasing its “All-22″ film after games are completed as part of the Game Rewind package at a cost of $69.99. While this is obviously a cool feature (more information is good), it’s not going to suddenly open up the secret vault into the NFL.

For explanation, the “All-22″ film is simply the wide angle view shot typically shot from the press box or above it. The cameraman’s job is to keep all 22 field players on screen at all time by widening out as the play develops. If you want to know the quality of what it will look like, watch the wide angle shot on today’s soccer matches, where they typically cover about 30 yards of view. It will get even wider than that on deep throws, but that’s about the size of the players you will see on the film. If it’s non-HD (which I’m pretty sure it is) you may have a hard time identifying the player numbers.

When I worked as an end zone cameraman in college back in the dark ages (when we still used VHS), there were two shots that made up the coaches film. The “all-22″ from the sideline was one, the tight end to tight end shot from the end zone was the other. We would typically both shoot scoreboard, time/down/distance, then go to the play for the snap and match them up, so they appeared consecutively when the coaches watched.

My understanding is that this is just the “all-22″ and not the entire coaches’ film. Thus, you shouldn’t expect these angles to provide any great insight on offensive line play or the blocking game. What it will provide is a complete view of all the pass routes, and where the defenders are, as the pass plays develop.

It will also provide the “What Happened” for those passing plays, but maybe not always the “Why”. The TV angles don’t let us always see the route combinations that developed to influence the final result, whether other options were open, or whether the coverage elsewhere dictated the action. What we may not always be able to tell is why a defender chose a certain option, whether it was disguised coverage where some did the wrong thing. My suspicion is that more of the big plays are simply a product of offenses anticipating coverages and calling routes to beat it (and perhaps throwing a wrinkle from an earlier route to confirm the defender’s actions).

I personally won’t be able to watch every play or grade players over long stretches of plays. I just want to go back to certain sequences or plays and see the combinations the offense used. I don’t anticipate this is going to lead to increased criticism, but increased understanding of how teams set up plays and attack defenses with route combinations.

[photo via US Presswire]

 

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