Mike Zimmer: In-game video takes “true coaching skills away”

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There were a number of changes proposed to NFL rules and bylaws at last week’s league meetings and many of the ones proposed by the Competition Committee were adopted in votes by the 32 teams.

One bylaw change they proposed didn’t make it to a vote, however. The league tabled a vote on a proposed change that would make video available to coaches during games via the tablet computers that have been on sidelines for several years now. It’s the second time such a proposal has failed to advance through the process.

Kevin Seifert of ESPN spoke to several coaches who were strongly against the use of in-game video and their objections were summed up pretty well by Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. Zimmer felt that video would make it too easy to make the kinds of adjustments that separate better coaches than their less-talented brethren.

“If I’m looking at the video, I’ll never be wrong,” Zimmer said. “I’m against it because I think it takes some of your true coaching skills away and it makes it even for everybody, for good coaches and bad coaches. … We come in on Monday morning and start watching the tape. And you say, ‘Oh that’s what they were doing.’ Now, you wouldn’t. So I can do this at six minutes in the first quarter and say, ‘Oh here this is what they’re doing. Here’s how they blocked this.’ And I can coach my guys on what’s happening. Whereas in the past, you have to rely on your skills to figure it out.”

Zimmer, Packers coach Mike McCarthy and Rams coach Sean McVay all said they were happy to keep working off of still photographs and it looks like that will remain the case for everyone in the league for at least one more year.

36 responses to “Mike Zimmer: In-game video takes “true coaching skills away”

  1. Yes, because everyone watches NFL games to see who the better coach is- not who has the better players and team. It’s all about YOU coaches. Nailed it.

  2. What’s stopping other teams coordinators, coaches, assistants, interns, and management from looking at real time video and relaying messages to the coaching staff? Eventually someone (cough….Belicheck..cough) will see this advantage and use RT video against others like Zimmer and McCarthy who are resistant to change.

  3. Let me translate that for you:

    “The only advantage that I see myself as having over most other coaches is the ability to figure out out what other teams are doing using only stills.”

  4. Not buying this.
    A great coach can look at game film and quickly identify whats going on.
    A bad coach will take longer to figure it out.
    If anything, this favors the great coaches.

    The only way it would favor the bad coaches is if there was a lot of time between plays, like 5 minutes. The only time the coach has to look at the tape is between halves and even then how many plays can the bad coach analyze?

    Put it this way: Give Tom Brady and Paxton Lynch a quarter second to scan the field and both might be similar. Give them each 2 seconds and Brady will have a big advantage.

    Better people utilize information faster.

  5. It’s sad how people assume technology is always a good thing, without negative consequences .Most of them are confused or fooled.

  6. Weren’t still photos cutting edge technology back in the day? I wonder if Zimmer still uses a rotary dial phone and watches 3 channels on UHF on his black and white TV. It’s 2018…just saying.

  7. I KIND OF understand what Zimmer is saying, HOWEVER!, the still prints are essentially giant flip books. There are multiple stills of the play (lineup, a few during play until whistle).

    There is a reason the first movies were called “moving pictures”. SPEED THOSE FLIPBOOKS UP MIKE!

  8. Zimmer’s wrong. This sort of thing would challenge coaches to be even better. Ok, you see the video and can make an adjustment (even if you’re a mediocre coach). Great. Now the other coach has to adjust. Oh look, now your adjustment is useless and you have to adjust again. Having video means you have to keep coaching and adjusting an entire game long and can’t just stick to your game plan and expect to succeed.

  9. This guy feels the need to remind everyone he’s old school whenever he gets in front of a microphone. Getting super cringey at this point.

  10. The inevitable conclusion he hasn’t reached yet is that the best coaches would still overcome it. It’s not as if in-game adjustments haven’t been made before.

  11. If you read Tagliabue’s new video rule just before he left office in 2007 and not Jet Goodell’s retrospective reinterpretation of it to get the Pats, using video in-game is technically what the Pats were accused of in Spygate (I say accused because there was no evidence they were using the film in-game and anyway it was confiscated 15mins into the first game after the rules made it illegal). Integrity Goodell claimed that was the crime of the century and yet now with MicroCrap wants every team to have it. And the reason it got voted down was because it would only help a football savant like Belichick while totally confusing a Harbaugh who doesn’t know the rules or a Trip Tomlin who ingores them anyway.

  12. Doesn’t matter if your team wasn’t prepared to play in the NFC Championship; no amount of coaching or technology matters. Whether it’s gameday stills, video or Monday morning endzone and sideline video – you can’t deny the Eagles man-handled the Vikings.

  13. Mike Zimmer probably prefers to have a chalkboard on the sidelines as well and to use hand signals to give the QB the play instead of radio headsets 🙄

  14. Look at all the basement dwelling armchair coaches in these comments lmao Think I’m going to believe what Zimmer thinks about this over what you wannabe coaches think.

  15. Nothing in the NFL is done “tape” anymore. I’d suggest that most kids/teens have no idea what we’d even mean by the term “tape” as in “to record.”

  16. He’s still sore because Doug Pederson outcoached him and whooped his behind. At least he embraced the same crybaby attitude of his fanbase. They deserve each other and they deserve to be losers with each other.

  17. I think the issue is that coaches work 100 hours a week to put in a game plan and the team has three days to practice it. They don’t have time to put in all these in-game adjustments they need to make and make sure the players have practiced all of those too. If your game plan is out the window six minutes into the game, you’ve wasted all the time you spent during the week. Theoretically, it makes sense that the better coaches can make more in-game adjustments, but practically, there isn’t time to get the team ready for them.

  18. whatjusthapped says:
    April 4, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Just wondering, if Zimmer had access to in-game video during the championship game, might the final score be 38-14?
    _______

    Funny how Packer fans have no self-awareness. A year earlier, their team lost 41-21 in the championship game, and it wasn’t that close. This past year, their team wasn’t even in the playoffs, which they probably didn’t know because they stopped watching around Week 9.

  19. @streetyson

    Way to show everyone how clueless you are about what the Patriots were doing when they got dinged for recording other teams.

    And another fine job of representing the NE fan base.

    Stay whiny, my friend.

  20. ryann252013 says:
    April 4, 2018 at 8:47 am
    This guy feels the need to remind everyone he’s old school whenever he gets in front of a microphone. Getting super cringey at this point.

    ***

    What about the other coaches who agree with him?

  21. Belichick and about 10 other coaches said the same thing — Zim’s apparently been the only one to speak publicly about it. I suppose they are all lousy, behind-the-times coaches as well.

  22. This change would mean offensive and defensive strategies would have to be more flexible – more nimble. It wouldn’t be a matter of making an adjustment at halftime. You’d have to make major adjustments, multiple times, on the fly during the game. Zimmer is too lazy to want to do all that work.

  23. whatjusthapped says:
    April 4, 2018 at 8:39 am
    Just wondering, if Zimmer had access to in-game video during the championship game, might the final score be 38-14

    ///////////////////////////

    Funny, funny stuff right there, may we please have another?

  24. Zimmer’s wrong. This sort of thing would challenge coaches to be even better. Ok, you see the video and can make an adjustment (even if you’re a mediocre coach). Great. Now the other coach has to adjust. Oh look, now your adjustment is useless and you have to adjust again. Having video means you have to keep coaching and adjusting an entire game long and can’t just stick to your game plan and expect to succeed.
    ************
    You’re proving his point. All week long Coaches watch tape from previous games and create a game plan. If they have in-game video, the week-long preparation doesn’t matter anymore. Player’s preparation won’t matter anymore because they’ll just wait to be told what to do by their coach who is watching video of previous plays. If you want Football to be all about one person Orchestrating a team and dictating the on-field action than pick up a copy of Madden 2018.

  25. All this really means is there will be a need to employ even more coaches to watch and dissect every nano second of video footage supplied from multiple angles in an as-live format. Then you have problems with whether the home team has to provide every video feed they have to visiting teams – similar to the issues faced today when coaches use replays played on jumbotrons to decide whether to throw the challenge flag. We all know that these replays are sometimes a few seconds delayed if a close call not challenged benefits the home team.

    Ultimately I feel that the game should be played on the field and that coaches or anyone else who has any input into a teams decision process should be stood on the sideline. I would even kick coordinators out of their skybox and make them stand/sit on the sideline.

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