NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

As reader jebmak points out via e-mail, "The odds of this being April Fools seem slim. Finally." The measure passed by a 24-7 vote and interestingly, all of the nays were from head coaches with offensive backgrounds, and five of the seven were West Coast guys.

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Comments

54 comments, Last at 04 Apr 2008, 12:05pm

2 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

I'm happy as a Ravens fan. It seems like most teams strategy vs. them last year was to run a quasi-no-huddle offense where the defense didn't really have a chance to organize itself fully before the play. The run stuffing DTs were still effective but their coverage schemes were often a bit mixed up.

It is surprising that the league is actually passing a rule change that benefits the defense. What, are they going to actually start to call offensive holding again too?

4 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

"Would’ve preferred removing the offensive device to giving the defense one"

Why? So we can get more plays like the Diet Pepsi Max commercial?

I want more good football, not more football where the players don't know what they're supposed to be doing.

5 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

RE: #2
Remember that the radio devices automatically get turned off with 10 or 15 seconds left on the play clock, so that won't change how quasi-no-huddle offenses operate.

8 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

re: 4

Yes, it won't change how quasi-no-huddle offenses operate, but it will allow the defense to run more complex formations in response. If the offense is able to have a play sent in electronically and the defense has to look over to the sidelines and decipher a set of hand signals, the defense will be slow to align in the proper position. What matters is the speed in which the original call is sent in, not the pre-snap adjustments that QBs and MLBs can make on the fly.

9 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

OK, how many years will it be before all players can have communication devices?

And how many more years will it be before they all get two-way communications?

And how would the game change if there were no cut-off time for player-to-player communications?

10 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

RE: #2
Remember that the radio devices automatically get turned off with 10 or 15 seconds left on the play clock, so that won’t change how quasi-no-huddle offenses operate.

It get's turned off at 10 or 15 seconds on the playclock, OR THE SNAP, right? So OC's can be yelling to their QB "Look out for Justin Tuck!", and DC's can't yell at their MLB's "Idiot! Stay with Dallas Clark!"

A quick snap must confuse the heck out of the guy with the button...

11 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

1. The offensive radio was put in to shorten the game.

2. It's one more thing to break and have people bitch about.

3. I can only really see how it's an equalizer between iffy offenses facing iffy defenses.

My prediction: Lasts a couple years at most.

13 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

Over/under on what week we hear about something fishy happening with the radio equipment going out at the wrong (right?) time, especially if it happens to happen in Foxboro?

14 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

A lot of people (on both this site and Fox) are complaining, saying this will 'turn players into robots' and 'make the game too technology-centric' and so on and so forth. Just by this, I can tell that this is a great idea that everyone will accept soon enough. When QB's were first allowed to have radios, all these same complaints were brought up. Now nobody even notices it. When instant replay was reintroduced, the whining was endless about how it would ruin the game, etc. Even now, after it has become apparent that replay gets more right than wrong, the whining continues. In my experience, humans tend to complain about anything new that might improve their lives, and this is no exception.

16 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

:: Bionicman — 4/2/2008 @ 1:04 am
.
True. In soccer, the referees gets no help at all.
There's talk about giving the ref help from a tv to say a goal is offside or not, a player needs to get red or not... etc.
But people are soooo conservative, and bitch all the time "that it is a part of the game".
Annoyed the hell out of me.
.
Same with this. The QB got a speaker in his helmet, so why not someone on offense.
.
Next question though. The QB is ALWAYS on the field for the offense, but defensive players are substituted a lot more. Don't know the numbers.
If I were a DC, I would give the device to a safety and not to a linebacker.

19 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

Question: Will the defensive radio devices be turned off when the offense lines up in Punt/FG formation? The offfense (generally) doesn't have a radio-enabled helmet on the field at that point.

(Related question: Under current practice, if the team's backup QB is the holder on FG/XP attempts, is his helmet radio activated when he's holding?)

20 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

As I look into my crystal ball, I can see a day when all players have radio helmets AND are miked up. Then fans will be able to listen in on the banter and play calling, switching channels between players. NASCAR has been doing this for years. Opening up the in game communications of the athletes to the public audience. People would pay a premium for this kind of access. There would be significant ramifications to the way the game is played, but the pull of $$$ always wins.

22 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

RE: 21

That's preposterous.

Why would robots need cars? The robots could BE cars.

Clearly you haven't thought this through.

23 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

Seems to me like a knee-jerk decision that hasn't been well thought out in practicality, and is going to prove very awkward live.

I don't understand why the league feels the need to limit defenders with the listening device? Why not have six defenders able to listen to the calls, and why do they need to go out of their way to inform the referee?

24 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

#20

You will be able to hear the things the players on the field say to each other just as soon as they stop using profane language during the game. That is not likely to happen any time soon. I agree that it could easily make the game more entertaining, but sports marketing is all about feeding as many markets as possible and hearing players in dolby surround sound as they call each other every name under the sun would alienate more fans than it would attract.

25 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

Re 21:

I've read a science fiction stories where football IS played by robots.

But so many fans complained about taking the "human element" out of the game that they actually programmed the robots to make mistakes and even bone-heaaded (or perhaps...bolt-headed?) decisions from time to time--including programming the robotic referees to blow at least one game-changing call per game at random... Irony...

27 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

#18:

ROBOPUNTER needs no remote control. A Special Teams coach once tried to remote-control ROBOPUNTER, and the ensuing punt severed one of the cables on the over-the-field camera, causing the camera to swing towards the sideline on its remaining cables and shatter the lower leg of the Special Teams coach. As soon as he could once again walk unassisted, the coach buried the remote control in an undisclosed location and immediately retired.

The punt, of course, was downed at the 1.

28 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

#22 - Maybe the robots could turn into cars? Has that been done before?

Don't know if there was a football equivalent, but Base Wars for the NES was baseball played by robots.

29 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

RE: 28

Hmmm, you mean like, robots, but, in...disguise?

Ha! That'll never catch on.

Also, click my name for a Wiki article on the classic video game, Cyberball, in which robots played football. I had forgotten this existed.

30 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

Re 25:

You don't need to read a science fiction story to see that played out, just play a game of Madden. The refs are wrong about fumbles and catches near the sideline at least 50% of the time.

31 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

If football does end up being played by robots will robo-Millen still only draft robo-Receivers, whille robo-Bellichick will only acquire gritty veteran robots nobody else wants?

And how will we be able to tell which robots are deceptively quick?

32 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

22 - One of my friends filmed a very strange movie in which a character who was either a robot that looked exactly like a human or a human named Robot delivered the line, "Robot no need car! Robot is car!" It was pretty awesome... Well, that scene was. The rest, not so much.

34 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

Thee only problem with this is that while a QB is almost always on the field, a MLB, or ILB, or whoever is making/taking the calls will be substituted for more often. Will this lead to delays for "activation"?

35 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

Re 34:

"Will this lead to delays for “activation”?"

I don't know whether it will or not, but it would be ridiculous if it did, it's not hard to turn a radio on.

I've never seen a delay when the backup QB went in because of this. Also, equipment still fails from time to time, and the quarterback has to take hand signals from the sideline or call his own plays.

36 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

As I understand the rule, two players are declared pregame to be the defensive radiomen (or whatever you want to call them). Only one receiver can be on the field at a time. I'm not sure if there will be a penalty to enforce this.
But with only two players eligible for this, what is going to happen to defenses when two are hurt? If in the first Q, both of your 'radiomen' are out for the game you'll have to go back to signals...

38 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

ok, here is the thing, i dont have a problem with radio so long as it is used like this:

Tell the QB/MLB the play / set of plays. the end. I really hope this never gets to the point where the idiots who are too lazy/stupid to learn the plays arent penalized for not knowing the plays because teams can simply hire a coordinator to tell them exactly what they are doing every single play.

Also, if it is meant to reduce the time needed to set up the play, then they should make the clock time shorter, because its stupid how much time teams can knock off during a 3 and out.

39 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

Re: 38 good point. Since now both sides have radio communications for greater efficiency, I'd support lopping 5 seconds off the play clock.

40 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

I thought the new rule on force-outs (or lack thereof) was a much bigger deal than the helmet radios.
CBs can now force an incompletion by hitting the WR so hard he ends up out of bounds. As far as I can tell this probably will have the effect of making the pitch seems narrower. If a wideout is going up for a high catch near the sideline the corner can simply smash him out of bounds after he has caught the ball. Ditto for catches in the end zone. Will this rule make big, physical corners more valuable?

41 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

"Will this rule make big, physical corners more valuable?"

Yup, which will make guys like Cromartie and Bailey worth even more, and devalue guys like Asante.

42 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

Re: 12. Do you have a source? I have seen several that do claim that it's 15 seconds or at the snap. I think it should be before that actually. Coaches shouldn't have the chance to call an audible if the team hurries to the line.

I think once you're coming to the line, the radio should shut off.

43 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

#40, I'll take it a step further....if a guy like Roscoe Parrish makes a leaping catch at the numbers, what's to stop a DB from catching him in midair, carrying him to the sidelines, and depositing him out of bounds before his feet touch the turf?

44 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

#41

Thats an interesting point - if the radio isnt shut off until before the snap what is there to stop a team lining up with, say, 25 seconds on the play clock and having the offensive coordinator talk the QB through his reads based on what the coordinator can see from the box and then snap the ball when the defence are aligned the way the offence wants? Or similarly the defensive coordinator telling the MLB what to expect after the offence has lined up. If this happens then that is definitely taking some of the decision making out of the hands of the players, which I would regard as being bad for the game.

46 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

Re 41:

I can't find the story, but I remember a "Chalk Talk" about this. I remember Larry Meyer (the Bear's site editor and writer), quoting Grossman as saying that if Turner tried to talk to him during a play it would just be distracting.

47 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

#46:

But would Turner be distracting Grossman from the game, or from his thinking about all the New Year's parties he's missing?

48 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

somewhat good, because the Terell Owens/Randy Moss fader in the end zone was starting to look untouchable, however I think they should only get rid of the force out rule in the end zone.

49 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

I was just reading Dr. Z and he casually mentioned that the NFL has eliminated the 5-yard facemask penalty. Does that mean all facemask touching is 15-yards, or the incidental facemask is no longer a penalty at all?

50 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

#49

Incidental facemask is now no penalty. The top end of what was a five yard facemask is now a fifteen yarder.

#41

Cromartie and Bailey will always be very valuable due to their size and speed. I am thinking more about players like Tillman, who does lack top speed but is very physical. He no longer needs to make a play on the ball to defend a comeback route which could make him a lot more effective.

52 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

Re: #49, #50

Not quite. While the 5-yd facemask penalty has been eliminated, apparently the "illegal hands to the face guidelines will be applied" according to numerous reports.

So my guess is that what was real low-end facemasking will not be penalized at all, some level of mid-range facemasking will now be called as illegal hands to the face, and high-end facemasking will continue to get the 15 yard penalty.

53 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

I always thought that illegal hands to the face involved a player slipping his mitts under the facemask and actually making contact with player's face. Re 19: I believe that the QB radios are always active. That is why you see the backup QB holding his helmet to his ear while on the sidelines. This caused many teams to complain about players like Kordell Stewart who were listed as QBs on the depth chart and had a radio in his helmet, but also lined up a lot at WR. I think the league made Stewart have 2 helmets and he would have to switch back and forth when playing different positions.

54 Re: NFL Adopts Defensive Communication Device

re: 41. I was discussing this issue at work with a friend. I argued it would be a significant change, both for how the defense is coached, and how the offense is coached to respond to the new defensive technique. I argued the lob to a leaping Randy Moss in the corner will be less effective because Bob Sanders will simply smash him out of the endzone rather than jump and try to tip. My friend disagreed. I told him if really thought that and he were my defensive coordinator I would fire him. Am I wrong?