The Ideal Package for a Football Obsessive

Slate's guide to consuming culture.
Dec. 16 2010 1:46 PM

The Ideal Package for a Football Obsessive

From time to time, a Slate staffer or critic offers up a favorite cultural pick for Procrastinate Better readers. Today's endorsement is from Slate senior editor Josh Levin.

It’s a great time to be an NFL-loving homebody: Every gameis broadcast in HD, slow-motion replays abound, and the yellow first-down linemakes it head-slappingly simple to ref the game from your couch. Nevertheless,there’s still a fundamental problem with televised football—you can’t see allthe players. When the ball is snapped, wide receivers vanish off the side ofyour flatscreen as the camera zooms in on Tom Brady. As Aaron Schatz explained in Slate in 2007 , the only way to see all 22 players at once is to get access to theNFL’s proprietary "coaches’ film." As of this year, it’s proprietary no more.Subscribers to the NFL’s " Game Rewind "package—it costs $29.99 for the rest of the season—can watch online replays ofevery contest, including about 10 plays per game from the eye-in-the-sky perspective.On the coaches’ film, receivers and cornerbacks stay in frame, allowing you tounderstand how plays develop from beginning to end. For football junkies, thisis enlightening stuff—now, if only we could watch the whole game this way.