Professor Belichick Discusses TV Tape vs. Coaches' Tape


When Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is in the mood to answer a question about the in’s and out’s of game planning, scouting, or stats, you’re in for a treat. If you’re the type of football fan who values looks into what goes on behind the scenes or how coaches go about doing things, you got your money’s worth during Bill Belichick’s press conference earlier today. A question, and then a few follow-up’s, were asked about what, if anything, can be learned watching the playoff games on TV as opposed to watching the coaches’ film, and Belichick gave some great insight. Coaches’ tape is an overhead shot of all 22 players on the field, broken up snap by snap, where you can better see formations and where and how each player moves.

Grab your green notebook and enjoy another lesson from Professor Belichick:

Well there’s a lot more for us on the coaches’ film. I don’t want to say there’s no value, but it’s a lot higher on the coaches’ film than TV scouting. 

“Maybe a play or two [that you can judge from live TV], I don’t know. You’re at the mercy of whatever they show you. If they show you something and you can learn something from it then great. We really have to get a lot of information off the coaches’ copy where you can see all 22 players and see exactly what the schemes and the relationships are. Sometimes you get a close-up shot and you can see a little more when it’s just two guys in the picture instead of 22. I mean, I’m not saying there isn’t any value to that because there is and we use that all the time because of the closeness of the shot and how much more detailed it can be relative to a technique or hand placement, little things like that. But as far as actually scouting the team, no. 

“There is probably some [value of seeing a game unfold real time to see the momentum that occurs in a game].

There is a little bit of a disconnect from the tempo of the game [watching coaches' film]. That can play into it; there’s no question that can play into it. Although we do, as I’m sure every team does, we do break those things down – like what a team does after they get a turnover, as an example, that type of thing. It’s not just another play; it’s a specific situation that we look at. Yeah, there’s definitely a flow of the game that you don’t get off of the coaches’ copy.”

A question was then asked about how he receives the film and how quickly he gets it. Belichick said that they usually get the 1 p.m. game by 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. How it gets to him, he doesn’t know, and his comical response provided a new term to put up there with his “MyFace” term.

 “…there’s no picking up the film at the airport and waiting for the FedEx. There’s nobody delivering it. It’s all, I don’t know, wire-optics or some other term that I don’t even know what I’m talking about.”

Wire-optics. Yep.

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