What’s the most exciting thing about the upcoming NFL season? Peyton Manning in Denver? Tim Tebow in NYC? For some, it’s the NFL’s decision to make available the infamous all-22 game film that coaches have access to. It’ll cost $70 as part of the Game Rewind package on the NFL website.
For the uninitiated, the All-22 film is designed to show what all 22 players on the field are doing on every given play, something that the traditional sideline angle from television fails to achieve.1 HDTV and the move to wide-screen aspect ratio televisions have made the sideline angle more palatable, but it’s impossible to truly gauge certain aspects of plays from that sideline angle. On many passing plays, the routes of the wide receivers and the drops of the defensive backs will take them off the screen, preventing even a knowledgeable fan from identifying what sorts of coverage or route combinations are being run until an appropriate replay has been shown. Everyone agrees that the most important perspective in football is from the quarterback, but the traditional sideline angle of television coverage doesn’t let us see what the quarterback sees; it lets us see what the people in the expensive seats can see. That made sense in a world with square televisions, but no longer.