“Steelers Nation, don’t help our opponents! Please do not post videos of our Training Camp plays on social media!”
That quote comes to you courtesy of the Heinz Field scoreboard, which posted the message to its fans in attendance taking in a training camp session on Thursday. Someone—it may have been a fan; it may have been the Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac— then snapped a picture of it and posted it on Twitter. I assume it was okay to do so since the Heinz Field scoreboard wasn’t showing any plays and/or diagrams of plays at the time the picture was taken.
You know how some people take themselves way too seriously? I say that about the fans all the time, right? This, right here, is a case of someone within the ranks of professional football taking themselves way too seriously. Who? I don’t know, but I’m sure his name rhymes with Mike Tomlin. That’s just a very educated guess because nobody on the planet is more paranoid than an NFL head coach. That’s right, NFL head coaches are often afraid that anyone and anything can be a spy working for some other team (usually, the Patriots). This spy could be the FedEx delivery person, the guy flying the blimp overhead during practice for some reason or a fan sitting in the stands watching a training camp practice session.
And if the fan isn’t the actual spy, that doesn’t mean someone won’t take the video of a play posted to social media by a black-and-gold supporter and use it to rip the Steelers’ game-plan to shreds.
For a third time, please.
Don’t get me wrong, I realize there’s some sort of rule out there prohibiting the fans from doing this sort of thing—a rule that was likely the brainchild of a committee full of NFL head coaches. However, I doubt any future Steelers’ opponent is going to take some video posted to Twitter by Joey_Six_Burgh—a video that, in addition to a play out of the “11 personnel” formation (whatever that is), includes some shaky camera work, a “WHOOOO!” or two, and wild applause—and dissect that sucker in the “lab.”
I admit I do not know how to spot tendencies out of certain formations, but I know tendencies exist. Just because a team throws to a tight end out of a certain formation on one play, that doesn’t mean it’s going to throw to the tight end every single time it lines up in that formation.
Again, I do know a rule exists to prevent fans from videotaping practices and then posting them online, but it’s also a copyright violation to upload the network broadcasts of old NFL games on YouTube. Yet, when the NFL takes those games down, which it eventually almost always does, the league just looks petty and kind of pathetic.
This is your fault, NFL. This is your fault, Steelers. You want fans to stay connected to your product 24/7/365. You want them to pay attention in March. You want them to pay attention in May and June. You obviously want them to pay attention between the months of September and February. You want them to emotionally invest in free agency, the draft and even the freakin’ regular-season schedule reveal.
You want them to come to training camp and sit and watch, but you don’t want them to post sub par videos of plays on social media?
A ticket to a game at Heinz Field costs about $100. Parking costs almost the same price in far too many lots. Ditto for the price of beer (I’m joking, but it’s close). It costs a good bit of dough for folks who don’t live in the Pittsburgh area to buy the TV packages that allow them to watch Steelers games from as far away as Australia.
I’d say the least you can do, Steelers, is allow your fans to post a few videos of training camp plays to their social media platforms for other fans to enjoy.
What are you afraid of? As far as opponents knowing your formations and tendencies, isn’t the horse pretty much out of the barn by the end of September?
Stop being so silly.
Looks like I just found a good reason to attend a training camp practice at Heinz Field.