There is an excellent article by the Wall Street Journal investigating why the NFL won't release video showing all 22 players. Some interesting quotes:
If you ask the league to see the footage that was taken from on high to show the entire field and what all 22 players did on every play, the response will be emphatic. "NO ONE gets that," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in an email. This footage, added fellow league spokesman Greg Aiello, "is regarded at this point as proprietary NFL coaching information."
Proprietary NFL coaching information? I guess being a student of the game isn't a valid passtime anymore. You have to be an NFL coach before you get to study how the game is played by the professionals. Alas there isn't a lot that a humble student of the game can do, as the NFL gets to do what it wants with its proprietary film.
However this is a statement that made me mad as a fan as well as a student of the game:
Charley Casserly, a former general manager who was a member of the NFL's competition committee, says he voted against releasing All-22 footage because he worried that if fans had access, it would open players and teams up to a level of criticism far beyond the current hum of talk radio. Casserly believed fans would jump to conclusions after watching one or two games in the All 22, without knowing the full story.
Why is avoiding well-researched and evidence-based criticism a valid reason to avoid releasing the tape? Might as well forget the scoreboard as well if the NFL wants to avoid angry fans. That way every coach is a genius! The NFL might as well tell fans to go care about something else. This game you are watching on TV is just a gimmicky made-for-tv special where the strategies don't matter. A former player had this to say:
Lonnie Marts, a former linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars, says there are thousands of former NFL players who could easily pick apart play-calling and player performance if they had access to this film. "If you knew the game, you'd know that sometimes there's a lot of bonehead plays and bonehead coaching going on out there," he says.
Sounds like information I would pay dearly for! It is too bad that the NFL won't release it, even for $100 per game:
Earlier this month, the league quietly asked fans, through a survey site, whether they would pay up to $100 to watch an online feed of the All 22....
The NFL says the league wasn't actually serious about releasing the footage. The survey was meant only to gauge fan interest, Aiello says. "There's not a product in development," he says. "This is a long way from becoming a reality, if ever."
The whole article is extremely interesting, I suggest you read it immediately.