There was a significant tremor in the force just over a month ago when it was revealed the NFL will finally be releasing the All-22 footage in time for the 2012 season. Instantly tape nerds began planning their weeknights from September until February, inserting large blocks of time that ominously read “TAPE TIME” in bold black ink on the daily planner that’s on the fridge above pictures of their children, the tiny humans in their life who won’t be seen again for five months or so starting in September. We all have to make sacrifices.

To review quickly, the All-22 is exactly what it sounds like. There are cameras positioned high along the sidelines and in the end zone which allow coaches to see all of the 22 players on the field on every play. Previously those views were only available to coaches, but now online through NFL Game Rewind, you’ll be able to identify and become angry at blown coverages until you’re incapable of rising from the fetal position for a nominal fee of $69.99.

We knew all of that in mid-June. But once the giddiness subsided, questions remained. Lots of questions, and in a conference call today most of those questions were answered, and another little detail was dropped which made the game tape boners grow much, much larger.

Please stay seated while reading the first point:

  • There will be a telestrator function, allowing you, the aspiring tape guru, to highlight and break down plays by using either your mouse, our your finger on a tablet (oh yeah, the All-22 will be available on the iPad and most Android tablets). After documenting a play you can then save your work, and share it through social media websites. This will be an especially useful tool if you’re the type who enjoys flaunting your superiority and masculinity through gloating. So in short, everybody wins. Everybody.
  • The game film will be available on Wednesdays following the completion of each week. That means a slightly longer than usual wait for games played on Thursday nights.
  • There will also be archived All-22 footage dating back to the 2011 season. While there will be a slight wait each week during this upcoming season, the league expects all the footage from the 2011 season to be ready before September.

We’ve discussed the many merits and very few drawbacks about the All-22 at length previously, and the more we learn about the setup, the more those drawbacks dwindle. The primary concern at the time of the announcement seemed to be that the average fan won’t know what they’re looking at while watching tape, which will result in coaches and players receiving misguided and ill-informed criticism.

But while many, many fans will likely sign up, the All-22 isn’t for the guy at the end of the bar with beer stains on his throwback Walter Payton jersey. It’ll be used most effectively by the budding X’s and O’s gurus scattered throughout the blogdome (“blogosphere” is such an outdated term, and it’s always been more of a dome anyway…circular, endless, and capable of entrapment).

Those blossoming minds are already highly intelligent in their approach to breaking down film, but they may not have the necessary access. That’s about to change, and the discourse surrounding the game will benefit immediately, while others with a keen interest in game film analysis who lacked experience may be inspired to join in too.

Fans will become smarter with this resource, and so will the writing and discussion surrounding every game. Everyone wins here expect the head coaches, coordinators, and players whose mistakes are under a far brighter microscope.

Oh well.

Pic via CBS Sports