OT: [WSJ] All-22 Video Not Available Because Fans Might Reach Conclusions

Submitted by SchrodingersCat on November 5th, 2011 at 11:07 PM

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.

Source

Comments

SchrodingersCat

November 5th, 2011 at 11:18 PM ^

Seems to me that they would want increased criticism from the fans. Whats the old saying, there is no such thing as bad publicity? Especially when the publicity is what you are selling! NFL sells more tickets when people talk about the game. How do they explain reducing the amount of information available to fans to the share-holders and owners?

Undefeated dre…

November 5th, 2011 at 11:27 PM ^

Traditionalist baseball has allowed the masses to analyze tons of data (including Pitch F/X, etc.) and I don't know anyone who argues that's worsened the game. I can't believe Casserly actually admitted his ignorance.

Thank goodness this is the biggest story on the board today!

SchrodingersCat

November 6th, 2011 at 10:23 AM ^

I agree, more information means more die-hard fans. More die-hard fans means more money for NFL. Transitive property: more information = more money for NFL :-D Baseball is great for just this reason, an informed fan base that is able to predict most calls based on the stats. I love sitting next to a well informed baseball fan, because I get to ping questions off them all night!

Humen

November 5th, 2011 at 11:41 PM ^

What about when people attend games? Don't most fans who would be the ones to launch serious criticism attend games? How many players are on the field when a fan attends a game? Can I make a point by asking questions?

SchrodingersCat

November 5th, 2011 at 11:53 PM ^

It is difficult for the best coaches to watch a live game and get meaningful information. Those coaches get paid well to sit in the box. As a fan, I usually get to watch one player or group at a time and even then I have issues determining substitutions. Attending a live game is great, but one cannot do real analysis based on it. Just ask Brian, his UFR would not be possible even with 22 Brians sitting at a live game. As far as questions and points being made:

Can I haz internet commenter criticize my writing style?

Nick

November 6th, 2011 at 12:43 AM ^

Pro leagues in general are too stubborn with their intellectual property.  In this case, what the NFL execs feel leaves them prone to criticism (which already happens) would actually drive fan interest.  In a league that was just locked out and does whatever it can to milk profit out of every avenue, they hoard and stash away a new potential market (Live all-22 footage or pay-per download etc.) while being paralyzed by fear of the reprecussions.

other examples include MLB taking down all youtube clips when they dont even offer any substitute of the offending material for view/sale on their own site.

The NBA is awesome in this regard as I can relive games and highlight packages from past seasons on various hosting sites. And while i am not directly benefitting them with web traffic, I am indirectly benefitting the league in that this increases my passion for the game which leads to my continued consumption.

jmblue

November 6th, 2011 at 1:20 AM ^

I hate how you can't legally buy a copy of an old game.  It seems like the networks could sell DVDs of their broadcasts to fans pretty easily if they wanted.  I'd rather give them $20 than the often shady characters that make bootleg copies.  Several years ago, I bought a tape of an old Michigan game from a guy that later ended up in jail as a sex offender.  Lovely.

 

2plankr

November 6th, 2011 at 1:29 AM ^

This is kind of like second guessing apple's privacy policies.  You might not like it, you might even be right in some particular cases, but its hard to argue with the success they have had overall

Seth

November 7th, 2011 at 8:10 AM ^

 

Lol at this (emphasis mine):

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.

O RLY? Ask any player if they would rather have Brian Cook UFR-ing their play or Mike Valenti saying they suck?

Nickel

November 7th, 2011 at 8:50 AM ^

Apparently the NFL would rather keep the criticism/analysis to the they wanted it more / showed more heart level than anything intelligent involving actual playcalls or execution.