Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Aug 2005

The Ravens Go Digital

Wired takes a look at how the Ravens are on the cutting edge of using technology to scout their opponents. Which leads me to this: if every person who reads this site donates $50,000, the Football Outsiders can each have their very own high-tech coaching station. And that means more geeky stats for you, the readers. Everybody wins. (link via Off Wing Opinion)

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 26 Aug 2005

14 comments, Last at 29 Aug 2005, 11:31am by Mike


by princeton73 (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 12:34pm

that's a problem because Boller is still analog

by Vern (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 1:17pm

Sounds like the same system that was included on a 60 Minutes segment a year or so ago after the Pats-Carolina SB. They showed John Fox using the system, and intimated that Belichick and others use it too.

by B (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 2:29pm

I think Boller is digital. All his passes are either 0 (incomplete) or 1 (Intercepted)

by turgy22 (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 2:31pm

They still use betamax to review game tapes? Does that seem odd to anyone else? I didn't even know they still made betamax.

by Matt (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 2:36pm

Betamax never went away in the professional realm. It only vanished from consumer use.

by MDS (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 3:06pm

Betamax is actually superior in quality to VHS. It's just that the makers of VHS were much better at marketing than the makers of Betamax, so VHS became the choice of the masses. But as Matt points out, people who do this professionally still prefer Beta.

by B (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 3:11pm

VHS is also a much higher capacity than betamax, which is an easier sell on consumes than higheer quality. Not many people could tell the difference between a recording on VHS or Betamax, but getting six hours of your daughter's birthday on one tape is a big deal.

by Derek (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 4:04pm

Interestingly, the success of Matsushita's VHS format was achieved due to Sony's legal victory over the Hollywood studios, a victory intended to support its Betamax format. One small consolation...Matsushita paid Sony a small fee for every VHS tape because they used Sony's digital sound process.

We'll see what happens with the coming battle over HD DVD vs. Blu-Ray technology.

by fyo (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 4:21pm

#8: "We’ll see what happens with the coming battle over HD DVD vs. Blu-Ray technology."

After looking decidedly down and out, the victor appears to be Blu-Ray. They have an almost unanimous Holywood behind them now and the few straglers have scaled back their HD DVD launch, effectively crawling back on the fence.

by Derek (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 4:47pm

Well the lesson that Sony learned in the VHS-Betamax format war (about as much of a war as the first Gulf War) was that you need the support of the content-providers. As in most areas of life, winning this battle is not about quality but about having the best contacts (sorry about all the military analogies).

by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 5:35pm

"I think Boller is digital. All his passes are either 0 (incomplete) or 1 (Intercepted)"

Ho ho ho ho ho ho. That's funny, B.

Reality Bytes, Kyle.

by Melish (not verified) :: Sat, 08/27/2005 - 1:36pm

Yes, Derek, I am extremely offended by your use of war analogies at a time when the nation is engaged in real war.

Oh...wait...I forgot. We're only supposed to get offended and self-righteous when athletes and sportswriters use war metaphors. The non-sporting world continues to be exempt from this type of censure.

by emcee fleshy (not verified) :: Sat, 08/27/2005 - 5:49pm

Where to get better tape?

No, I don't mean VHS/Beta, I just want something better than broadcast footage of games. Is there anyplace?

Biggest broadcast peeve: What good does it do to see a close up of the ball flying through the air?

by Mike (not verified) :: Mon, 08/29/2005 - 11:31am


I think your only option is to get a widescreen TV and watch the games in Digital hi-definition. Then they actually let you see more of the field, so you can see the pass rush AND the reciever routes/coverages, or see the handoff AND the downfield blocking. I watched a game last year at a friend's like that and it was amazing. Too bad I can't afford that setup myself...

Actually, here's a thought. The problem is that the football film crews don't know in advance what's going to happen--will a corner blitz result in a sack or in an uncovered reciever for a long gain--and hence don't know where to focus their camers when. What if football games were broadcast with a 5-10 minute delay, so that the broadcasters could actually piece together camera shots that were optimal for any given play. I would certainly go for that.