Packers.com Staff Writer Mike Spofford says yes.
More camera angles mean more entertainment, in my book.
Who wouldn’t want to see Randall Cobb’s record-tying 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from as many angles as possible? Variety is the spice of life. It will add to the memories.
Unfortunately, what I think access to the coaches’ film, or the all-22 film, will also feed is the ever-growing desire in our culture to assign blame. Who missed the block? Who blew the coverage?
I’m not crazy about that part of it, but I’ll let my counterpart cover that aspect below. There are pitfalls, to be sure, but I see a lot more positives. Fans who want to subscribe to the “NFL Rewind” online service that will include the all-22 film can get a better look at what the quarterback actually sees when he drops back in the pocket. It’s not a camera on his helmet (is that coming next?), but it’s a better peek at his field of vision than the standard TV angles provide.
I like the idea not from the “who messed up?” approach but for a look at the chess match. When the cornerback blitzed from the left, who broke off his route to become the hot read? When the blitz came from the other side, how did the offense react?
More than anything, though, this “new” viewing angle for fans should be about adding to the lore and nostalgia of the game’s great plays. I would hope with the coaches’ film now available to fans, those shots would be incorporated more into the video productions that become the historical record.
Think about Franco Harris’ “Immaculate Reception.” It’s etched in fans’ minds from only two cameras – the main TV one from above the sideline, and a low-angle end-zone one with Harris coming straight at it. It’s the same for Dwight Clark’s “The Catch.”
Those are great shots and great memories, obviously, but why not add the all-22 to those moments if the view provides something compelling? It might be neat to see how everyone on the field immediately reacted when Terry Bradshaw’s pass was first deflected back toward the line of scrimmage, or when Eli Manning was thought to be buried under an avalanche of Patriots pass rushers before he launched that miracle pass to David Tyree.
If you’d rather play the blame game, be my guest. Whether any average fan can decipher what everything on that film means is uncertain at best. You’re probably more likely to get an idea of which TV analysts are worth their salt in their on-the-spot descriptions than anything else, if that’s your thing.
For me? Give me more angles, more ways to remember the big moments. I’ll be plenty entertained.
Packers.com Editor Vic Ketchman says no.
It might frustrate you. Why? Because seeing the coverage alignment doesn’t guarantee you’ll know what the coverage is.
Please, don’t take offense to that statement. I’m not suggesting fans won’t know a good “Cover Two” when they see one. I’m just stating the simple fact that what you see isn’t what you get.
Hey, every coordinator in the league is trying to do the same thing: Disguise strategic intent for the purpose of confusing the opposition. So, if the quarterback can be confused, what do you think the chances are that you’ll be confused?
Here’s an example: You’re looking at the all-22 view and you see two safeties deep and two cornerbacks rolled up. It’s a classic “Cover Two” look, right?
Yeah, but you still don’t know enough about the coverage. What are the cornerbacks’ responsibilities? Are they to run with the receivers, or is one or both of them to settle at 10 yards and turn the receiver over to the safety on that side of the field? How many fans will decide that a cornerback whose assignment was to settle at 10 yards bit on the pump fake and blew the coverage deep?
You have to know the specific assignments within an alignment or formation to know exactly what the assignments were, and the only way to find out is by asking the coach, and he’ll skate around the answer by saying, “There should’ve been help,” or “There was a miscommunication.” Coaches don’t point the finger. Trust me.
I think the all-22 view is an excellent indicator of who won the battle of the human confrontations. You’ll see who blocked whom and who refused to be blocked. You’ll see who made the play despite the coverage or the missed assignment.
Here’s the big one: You’ll be able to see which players played above the X’s and O’s. That’s what wins; players, not plays.
In all the years I’ve covered pro football, I can tell you that I’ve never regretted advancing information provided to me by a player or coach on whom I could rely for analysis of a play, but I have often regretted those occasions when I’ve advanced an opinion based solely on what I thought I saw. Nearly always, the assignments within the coverage alignment or offensive formation were different from what the coverage alignment or formation would dictate.
Here’s an example. It involves a game-winning “Hail Mary” pass. The call was for the cornerback to settle at 20 yards and turn the coverage over to a back line of defenders, but the cornerback accurately detected that there was no need for him to settle, so he continued to run with the receiver into the end zone, which was fortunate because one of the back-line defenders blew his responsibility and the cornerback’s help was needed. The receiver then leaped above the cornerback and made the catch.
Blame the cornerback?
He responded as you would expect of a pro. He stood in front of reporters after the game and fully accepted the blame, and I wrote it as such. I later learned, however, that he wasn’t even supposed to be near the receiver when the catch was made.
The moral of the story is that strategy is meant to be disguised, and coaches and players do a very good job of it.
Be careful of what you think you see.
Cast your vote in the poll on the right, and if you leave a comment below, it might be used in an “After Further Review" video segment later this week.