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NFL’s Release of All-22 Film: A Cautious Opportunity for Aspiring Sports Writers

Sponsored Post by Brian Collin

All-22 FilmThe NFL has decided to release its All-22 film to the general public for the 2012 season. An invaluable tool for football coaches, the All-22 film does exactly what its name implies – allow viewers to see all 22 players on every play.

The tape, which has been dubbed as the “holy grail” of NFL footage, shows the game from an angle that’s both wider and higher than a typical TV broadcast. During a televised football game – for obvious entertainment purposes – the camera follows the ball.

However, by focusing only on where the action is taking place, the viewer doesn’t get a holistic frame of reference when watching the development and execution of a play. The All-22 film fills in those voids, which is what makes it such a coveted resource for anyone trying to study the game of football. This comprehensive perspective gives onlookers the ability to evaluate every aspect – from blocking schemes to route combinations – of any given play.

All-22 Film Will Change Sports Journalism

In addition to providing fans with the chance to increase their knowledge of the game, the All-22 tape can be a great asset for aspiring sports journalists. Those who are interested in the All 22, which costs around $70 as part of the NFL’s Game Rewind package, may also want to look into purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket from DirectStarTV. With access to every out-of-market, regular-season game and a number of great extra features, this specialty package is an excellent supplement to the coaches’ film.

The All-22 film was previously only available to select members of the media. Before its release, the only media outlets that aired the tape were ESPN (NFL Matchup) and NFL Network (Playbook). Consequently, the majority of sports writers were left with very few resources and limited access to information. The move to release it to the public now gives everyone in the sports media world the ability to evaluate a football game in the same way.

Many casual fans may think that the release of the All-22 film is nothing more than a money grab by the NFL. However, there is much more controversy to the league’s decision to make the film available to the public than one might think.

All-22 Film Turns “Enthusiasts” Into “Analysts”?

The All 22 gives any pigskin enthusiast with a television the ability to call themselves an “analyst.” It opens up coaches and players to an unprecedented level of criticism by fans. In fact, this is the main reason the NFL has been reluctant to release the tape in the past.

Charlie Casserly, a former general manager and NFL competition committee member, told the Wall Street Journal that he was “concerned about misinformation being spread about players and coaches and their ability to do their job.” Mike Freeman of CBS Sports tweeted that the NFL’s decision to release the tape “will prove one of the greatest tactical errors the league has ever made.” Many others have made similar arguments – and with good reason. It can be tremendously difficult for the everyday fan to break down game tape and draw meaningful conclusions from their observations.

Nonetheless, on the other side of the coin, there are plenty of potential benefits to releasing the All-22 tape. For as long as the game has been on TV, fans and media members have criticized coaches’ decisions and players’ mistakes without seeing everything that happened during a play. Since it’s next to impossible to adequately evaluate the performance of coaches and players with traditional broadcast footage, there has been a lot of misguided vitriol dished out by misinformed spectators. Instead of making judgments based on limited information, passionate fans and non-traditional media members can use the All-22 film to correctly evaluate the game. It can (potentially) create a more educated NFL audience, which is a great thing for the game.

Thus, the biggest advantage of the All-22 film – the ability to break down X’s and O’s and draw conclusions from the footage – is also its biggest drawback. Watching tape and breaking down tape are two different things. It requires not only a keen eye for the game, but also a tremendous amount of time. You must have a complete grasp of offensive and defensive schemes, the intricacies of various formations and the responsibilities associated with each player on the field. If you aren’t well versed in the logistics of football, you may end up doing yourself more harm than good.

All in all, if you’re a budding sports writer, the All-22 game tape offers a great way to take your writing – and your career – to the next level. However, in order to use it to enhance your journalistic prowess, you need to know exactly how to interpret what you’re looking at into intelligible, fact-based observations.

What do you think?  Is this a good decision by the NFL?  Or, will it prove to be one of the greatest tactical erros the league has ever made? Lets us know in the comments below or tweet us @sportsnetworker.

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