Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Digital Driving NFL Offenses, but Penalties Are Key

A terrific read in today's Wall Street Journal on technology's effect on NFL offense playmaking.  Where the sidelines once relied on photographic print outs to make their way down to the field, they now have tablets, courtesy of a Microsoft sponsorship putting their Surface tablets on the sidelines.  Instantaneously, players can see not only images of the last play but actual footage as well.  For the offense, it seems to have had an effect on yardage and scores. 

And according to the article, it has been a boost mainly to the NFL offense.  While tablets have been on the field for four years, according to the report, somehow this year is different.  I'm not sure that I believe that having this access favors the offense.   The defensive side of the ball gets the same information and can make similar adjustments.  As a fan of the NFL, I believe that it is the rule changes that have had a bigger effect on playmaking then tablets on the sideline.  New rules on defensive holding and illegal contact give a big advantage to offenses.  Penalties can enable offenses to get a fresh set of downs.  The NFL recognizes that more points on the scoreboard tends to make games more exciting, resulting in more viewership and fan interest.  With more penalties being called on the defense, the offense has more success. 

Yes, the technological changes have helped the offense, but they are there to help the defense too. Is it giving the offense an unfair advantage.  I'm not so sure. 

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