Sunday, December 4, 2011

The "All 22": A View from 50,000 Feet


Every play in every NFL game is filmed by the League from multiple angles, ReedAlbergotti tells us in the Wall Street Journal.

On its way to accumulating about $4B in annual broadcast rights, the NFL is willing to sell virtually every angle it films except one.  It’s called the “All 22” and its taken from a vantage point that shows the entire field, what every player does on every play.  “NO ONE gets that,” an NFL spokesman said.

Who ran, and which way?  Who blocked and where?  Who didn’t do his job?  Which coach got out-coached?    How is the game plan unfolding? Without the All 22, it’s impossible to adequately analyze a game.   Most of us see only a fragment of what’s happening on the field, and that includes the experts who are explaining the action to us.

In other words, access to the All 22 makes everyone a whole lot smarter.  The NFL knows that and apparently doesn’t want to put up with a better-informed fan base.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an All 22 angle for your life?  For your family?  For your job?  A military general might find his on the side of a mountain, overlooking the field of battle.  A parent may find hers from a single, unexpected discussion with her teenager.  A fractured family might find their All 22 in the gathering after a funeral.  A CEO may find his or hers from a customer visit, a lunch with employees, preparation of a business plan, a visit from a peer CEO, or a great board meeting.

The air is way too rarefied to hang around long at the All 22, 50,000-foot level, and there are (mostly unpleasant) words to describe people who try.  On the other hand, you must find a way to visit from time to time because there are also (mostly unpleasant) words to describe people who spend their days in the details and their lives in the weeds.

What we know is that the NFL won't sell its All 22.  Coming from one of the great financial and business successes of our generation, that should be a clue, no?