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Tee’s Corner: Situationally Speaking

Coach Talk

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

What’s up Who Dats! Now that the 2018 season is officially in the books, we can fully move forward and explore other elements of the game well call football. One element that has clearly changed the course of history for the New Orleans Saints and many other franchises is coaching.

The New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and Saints all won their first Super Bowl in franchise history under their current head coaches. Along with Xs and Os, these men have brought about culture change and roster management that has positioned their teams to be considered some of the best in the league. But outside of getting the buy in from players, adding key personnel (including coaching staff), and designing an offensive or defensive scheme, those coaches have found a successful formula for managing the flow of a game.

A frequently spoken term is situational football, aka making decisions during a game based on the variables that are at play in a particular moment within the game. Many fans of the game will say that situational football is just a handful of critical moments that impact the outcome of the game. I beg to differ. Situational football is happening on every single play. There are basic principals that impact a coach’s decision on every single play-call if he intends to be successful.

For example, until the last decade, most balanced offenses ran the ball on first down, it was almost a certainty. Based on the result of the previous play, 2nd down was likely a pass. If a 3rd down was due next, a short distance would likely see a run call; longer distance would probably yield a pass call. Imagine this being the very first drive in the first quarter. Would you agree that every call was situationally based?

The most successful coaches at each level have fine tuned their game management skills to position their teams with the best opportunity to win games. In addition, the very best coaches have mastered the chess match that takes place on a weekly basis. This idea also filters down to personnel groupings and substituting the right players in specific situations to create favorable match ups for their team.

It’s amazing how little we’ve covered here and it is clear as day that situational football is not only tied to certain moments with a game but instead it is the approach the entire game. Every down is important and should be treated as such and every down presents a unique situation.

Chime in with your thoughts. And as always thanks for reading, Be Cool Who Dats!