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Some Cautionary Advice on Using NFL's All-22 Film

There has been a stir all day long Friday in the wake of news that the NFL will offer the coaches' film, or "All-22" angles as part of their NFL Rewind package. Some are going so far as to say it will be one of the NFL's biggest mistakes.

The primary argument is that fans will take things on the tape out of context and use them as ammunition to blast coaches for play-calls or to attack players for their "mistakes" on film. This brings up a valid point, but I don't think it will lead to widespread stupidity across the blogosphere, per se.

Still, it's important to consider a few things about what you see, and don't see, on the All-22 angles:

  1. You don't know the play-call.
  2. You don't know the audibles or adjustments players are coached to make pre-snap and post-snap.

Details after the jump.

As to the first point, none of us know what the actual play-call was, who was supposed to go where and do what. Most of the time it appears fairly simple, but nowadays there are all kinds of variations and trickerations going on in a NFL playbook. Just because you see a player go left, into an empty space instead of right, where a defender was bearing down on the running back...doesn't mean he messed-up.

You also don't know if the defensive back was supposed to drop back into the deep-half or if he was supposed to play man-to-man coverage. Schemes are very complex and often incorporate mixtures of both coverages, sometimes different on each half of the field.