PITTSBURGH â?? Enhanced, field-level sound has brought NFL television viewers closer to the action on the field â?? and occasional vulgarities. Might it also enhance the ability of future opponents to hear signals and scout for tip-offs on plays?
The Pittsburgh Steelers employed the no-huddle offense extensively from the start in their 37-27 win last Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Calling signals at the line, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 367 yards and four touchdowns as Pittsburgh used the no-huddle to limit the Lions' substitutions.
Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin says "audio things" are matters of concern in weighing how much to use the no huddle.
"Technology has changed the way that that is viewed. Television copy of no-huddle offenses has a lot of information on their video," says Tomlin, whose team plays at the Cleveland Browns Sunday.
"It's something that has been going on in football for a number of years, so you've got to be very cautious about employing it, how much you employ it, how you change your verbal communications."
Opponents watching the taped telecasts can hear the call and see the play that is run.
"Certainly, particularly in prime-time television games when there are booms mics and stuff that work on those cables above the field," says Tomlin.
Of course, defenders can pick up calls during games with their own ears.
"It can be tricky," says Roethlisberger. " â?¦ Even late in that game (versus Detroit), I called a run play and they sniffed it out. They started yelling, 'Watch the run over here.' You have to have some alternatives. â?¦ It definitely can be tricky to do too much of it."
Roethlisberger is also wary of what future opponents can pick up off TV.
"This is not bullying, but I have (rookie quarterback Landry Jones) check out the game tape," says Roethlisberger.
"I watch the game tape, but I have him watch and (backup Bruce Gradkowski) does it, too. â?¦ We all watch and see what we can pick up to see if there's anything that can help us so we know what's on film and what's not on film."