Friday, November 20, 2015

Video Technology: The Future of Football

by Jacob Berry

I get into the office two hours until practice. I grab my practice schedule. I format my tapes. I grab my battery. I grab my camera and head towards the practice field.  I go up in my scissor lift to check it. I come down and wait. Wait until the players and coaches start practice. And then I film. I come down in my lift once the head coach blows his whistle to signal the end of practice. I put my camera up and battery back onto the charger. I input my tapes into the computer software. I head home for the day.

I am a student working for the football video staff at Middle Tennessee State University.  This is how my day looks 2:00-6:00 p.m. every day from August to December as well as March and April for spring practice. The work of a football video guy is not a glamorous one. It’s very repetitive. It’s everyday with no days off. It’s a job I love.

The Football Evolution

Football is a sport that is constantly evolving. Offenses have gone from the wishbone to the spread.  Players are becoming faster and stronger. Every aspect of football continues to evolve and grow, including video technology. From coaches watching games on a roll of film to coaches watching a game on an iPad 30 minutes after the game concludes, video continues to influence the football world. Knowing about football and about video technology, I can see the two headed towards making a huge impact in the sports business industry.
Anyone that follows sports in America knows that football is king. Baseball may be our pastime, but football is the present and future. Both the college and professional levels bring in billions of dollars every year.  Fans are more engaged than ever before. Coaches are more pressured to win than ever before. This results in doing whatever to keep fans happy, which results in them buying merchandise and tickets. This also results in giving coaches everything needed to win.
Football fans today are so engaged with their teams. There is no longer such thing as an offseason.  Fans are fans year round. Recruiting, signing day, and spring practice are eaten up by hungry college football fans. The same for NFL fans with the combine, draft, and minicamps. In order to give these fans what they want year round, technology has to be used, especially video technology. College football fans can now go online and watch film of a high school recruit. To think an ordinary fan would be able to do this 20 years ago would be insane. Signing Day is now a televised event on multiple sports networks, like ESPN. Most big time college football teams have their spring game televised! The NFL, of course, has its own network to broadcast the combine, draft, and minicamps footage around the league.

Emergence of Video in Football

I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg. Fans have been given a small taste and now they are wanting the whole meal. Video in sports is going to explode and expand even more than thought possible. Just this year, the University of Georgia live streamed its first practice of fall camp. The access that video technology can give to fans is insane. As many people know, the University of Texas has its own network. I think that many teams are going to follow in the not so distant future.  A network designed specifically to broadcast your favorite team 24/7. Networks such as these need people. They will need producers, cameramen, and editors. The possibilities for jobs that this business could produce is endless. Video technology is going to be on the forefront of the growth of football as a business in America. It’s going to improve means by which fans can keep up with their team. It’s going to improve how coaches watch film and prepare.  It’s going to change the entire sport industry.

So as I grab my camera, batteries, and tapes for practice, I know that I am in the middle of the storm that is about to hit the sport industry.

I am a senior at Middle Tennessee State University. Ever since my first semester at MTSU, I have worked on the video staff for the university’s football team. I came into college with not much video experience, but I have gained much in my time at MTSU. The opportunities I have had working for the football team are some of the most valuable I have ever experienced. My passion for football and video have led me to want to continue my career working with video and sports. My goal is to become a video coordinator for a professional or big-time college program. I have been in contact with multiple teams, and hope to land an internship with a program next year.