I feel so fortunate. I have had the pleasure of traveling to other countries and visiting ancient empires. But you don't always have to travel great distances to have new experiences. I have - not mentioned family members in my posts to protect their privacy....and I will continue that practice but with his persmission - Steve - my brother-in-law took me on a very different journey this week. I journeyed into the realm of NFL player grading!
My brother-in-law "Steve" is a football coach. He has been a head coach at a major D1 school - has been an offensive coordinator in college and the NFL - has coached and tutored some of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and was the interim head coach for the St. Louis Rams........he also played in junior college where he set the national passing record and when he played D1 was Sports Illustrated's Player of the week after engineering an amazing fourth quarter comeback throwing the winning touchdown with just seconds left in the game (and I was there to watch). He is brilliant at understanding and coaching football. He spends his time tutoring young players - quarterbacks playing in the NFL - is a player consultant and grades NFL offensive players for ProCoach.Network. This is where my journey went. I got to spend the morning reviewing "game tape" of the Detroit Lions vs Dallas Cowboys from this past weekend with him grading the offensive players.
The internet has changed everything. It obviously isn't game tape or film anymore. Everything is digitized. The big business of the NFL and Fantasy Football has also changed the way players are looked at. Information is power. Key players are scoured over. How they execute is evaluated by a number of coaches and they are given a grade. It is either positive or negative. As he explained there is a site: google it "PFF" which is profootballfocus.com. It is owned by Chris Collinsworth the broadcaster and former NFL player. This site is a data goldmine of player information.
The site "PFF" is chock full of statistics and player analysis. Did you ever wonder where they get all their information and how do they get it so quickly? Well, they hire people around the country to do the analysis. While I was sitting there on Tuesday morning Steve received an email with the Monday night game between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs. He had the game literally within 12 hours after it was over. They were asking him to grade it.
His expertise and focus is on the offense and offensive players. He told me that there are usually more than one person doing this type of work on the same game. About 70% of the time he agrees with the grading decision that was made. Which means 30% of the time they disagree. As we "watched film" he pointed out that a player may come across as missing his assignment or being out of position on a certain call - but that it may not be the players fault. It could be that the blocking scheme was wrong based on the defensive alignment. So in addition to the grading they will add comments. A way to explain why they graded it so and to look for a consensus over a disagreement.
I watched maybe 30 plays and players. Right guard - left guard - running back - quarterback - wide receiver covering a variety of plays. He would repeat the plays maybe half dozen times each to get a good look at what the player was doing right - or wrong. Where were their feet in relation to whom they were blocking? Where their hands were - their helmet placement. Their body alignment to the direction of the play.... did they move laterally or backwards or forward? Were they out of position completely? Did they hold a block too long? Did they even make the right block? What about the pass route. Did they read the defensive back correctly - make the right cut? Replay - repeat - replay until a decision was made as to the caliber of play and a grade assigned. Was their play "positive" or "negative" and why.
That data and information is then sent back to ProCoach.network which in turn compiles it and forwards to other sites including "PFF". All waiting to be accessed by subscriber, coaches and lovers of the game.
Finally - he showed me another website that is the access point for almost all players in the country down to High School and even JV in some cases. It is the highlight hub for teams, players, coaches, recruiter, etc. Anyone playing almost anywhere in the country can be found at: hudl.com It is the new "highlight" tape for young players wanting and hoping to play in college and beyond. It is where they can post their best plays and where college recruiters can see their skills. It is a new age....player evaluation without leaving the comfort of your home or office.
He does this every week. He will spend between 3 and 5 hours grading players. He has access to every NFL game played....although he is only asked to look at certain games. He will watch 2 games and grade the offenses of both teams. To say he gets to know tendencies is an understatement. He knows football and loves football.
What did I learn? I learned that what I see isn't always what is happening on the field. The nuances of the game often escape me. A friend of mine once told me "it is not what you don't know that will get you - it is what you think you know that just ain't so - that will trip you up". You think you know football until you sit with someone who really does..............
Thank you Steve - for sharing your time and knowledge with me this week. Great journey !
Travel safe - Travel well !
BK Travel Tips
To enjoy travel and see the world and often yourself as if for the first time and with with the eyes of a young child.