If you really want to be a NFL expert, you need to dig deeper than baseline stats. To help you, we have compiled a list of some things to enhance your NFL watching experience.
Learn the game
Read about football history and pay close attention to the techniques of the broadcast analysts.
Know the terminology
If you want to sound like someone who knows the game inside and out, you have to start using the terminology:
- Words to describe athleticism (“balance,” “coordination,” “agility”).
- “Leverage”—how a lineman gets underneath pads and drives an opponent away.
- “Ball skills” —catching and handling the football.
- “Catching radius”—how far a receiver can reach to catch a football.
- “Pocket presence”—a quarterback’s ability to sense pressure in the pocket.
5 things to watch during NFL games:
1. Is it man-to-man or zone coverage?
This is important for the offense because it determines the mismatches and exclude a wide range of pressure options.
If someone from the box walks out to cover that TE or RB, it’s man-to-man coverage. Regularly teams will adjust with the hope that it is man-to-man coverage to exploit that matchup.
A motion is when a skill player starts in one spot, and moves laterally or back to a different point. When a motion happen, if the defender on that player follows him for the entire motion, it’s man coverage. If the defense just shifts players a bit, it’s zone coverage.
A man-to-man coverage typically is a superior coverage than zone coverage especially when dealing with a team that has talent at the QB position.
2. Pay attention to where the ball is placed.
The ball placed on either hash mark eliminates many options for both sides of the ball. Often, the ball will be run toward the field, because there is more space out there. If the ball is run into the boundary (toward the sidelines), it’s generally an inside zone.
3. What does all the pointing on offense mean?
When the center points to someone, that’s who the offensive line is working to. Often, the QB will also point to the same player, or someone else if needed, so everyone is on the same page.
The defensive line will call stunts/twists away from where the center is sliding because those two offensive linemen are man-to-man. It’s hard to run a stunt with the center sliding your direction.
4. Keep An eye on the safeties.
Safeties can identify where a possible pressure is coming from. If a defense is blitzing, the safeties often have to crook toward that pressure to fill in the empty spot left by the rushing defender.
5. Who will cover that Gap?
The defense will do everything to cover an open area on the field. No gap goes unaccounted for and if one does, the offense will find a way to exploit it.