Last year the NFL launched a service called NFL Game Rewind. The service allows NFL fans to re-watch NFL games on demand on their computer or on their tablet using the NFL Game Rewind app. Although the truly revolutionary aspect of the service is that it allows fans to access the film that coaches use to assess their team, the all-22 film. The all-22 film is a much more wider shot of the game so that you can see each player on the field at the same time. By releasing the all-22 film the NFL opened up a new way for fans to look at their favorite teams and for writers to analyze the team’s the covered. Giving the fans access to the coaches film was an admirable move on the NFL’s part, however the execution of the application that fan’s use to access this film has been sloppy and looks like its still a work in progress.
Below is a shot of what the application looks like when you are watching the coaches film on the app.
When you tap stop it automatically goes to the telestrator feature of the app. This feature allows you to draw on the frame where you paused. As you can see in the lower right hand corner of the screen there is also an option entitled telestrator, if you tap that it takes you to the telestrator feature as well. This is one of my problems with the app, you have two options on the screen that do the exact same thing. When you are in the telestrator mode the screen shrinks and you can’t see the entire screen.
The screen shot above is from telestrator mode. Once again, this feature is why this service is so revolutionary. Your giving fans the ability to draw on the screen like their favorite coaches and color-commentators do, they can pretend they’re John Madden. However when you’re in this mode how are you supposed to use it fully if you don’t even have the ability to see all the players on the field, which is the entire point of all-22 film. As you can see the screen shot above cuts out four players from the frame.
There are other problems with the app in addition to players being cut out of the shot when you are in telestrator mode. The app breaks down the entire game by play so that you can look at certain plays without having to look through the entire game to find a play. However, when I click on a play when the play ends it just goes back to the beginning of the play instead of going to the next one. This creates a viewing experience that is not fluid at all. You have to exit the screen at the end of the play and manually click the next one in order to view it.
After the app’s first year I thought that it would come back and be a bit revamped. I was wrong as the app is unchanged and still has its shortcomings. I do think that this speaks to the strength though of Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media. Whereas the NFL is seen as a superior league and the one with more fans, it’s MLB that has the superior application for viewing content. As I have said before MLB Advanced media are the experts on providing digital content for fans, and the NFL could learn a thing or two from them to enhance their own app.