The first football player to have a wireless speaker in his helmet was George Ratterman in 1956. In fact, my dad was his family’s eye doctor, and the former Browns QB said the quality of communication was so poor he often just called his own plays anyways.
Over 60 year later, we’ve come a long way. In the NFL, Quarterbacks and Mike LB’s are wired into comms with their coaches, as one player on offense and defense can be in touch with their sideline. It’s made playcalling and adjustments much more streamlined and speeds up the pace of the game. The XFL is bringing that kind of coordination to the next level.
Two players on defense will be tuned in, and fifteen players on offensive will have helmet speakers we have learned. This is how the XFL plans to speed up the game in under three hours.
This means that defensive coordinators can link with a Mike to manage the front seven, and a DB to make calls in the secondary. It’ll allow defenses to adjust faster on their feet, and switch up their looks with ease.
Offense, however, is where this gets really exciting. With 11 starters and 4 skill position subs linked in, coaches could go completely no-huddle and run play after play on the fly. The XFL has already instituted clock rules and officiating that will speed up the game, but with this new development, we’ll be seeing lightning-fast offenses that can seize the initiative and catch defenses off guard.
XFL trainers better start adding more cardio to the team’s workouts, and play-callers will need to stay on top of their offenses. Some of the more offensive-minded coaches in this league like Pep Hamilton and Marc Trestman should have a ball with this.
The XFL brand of football coming in February is shaping up to be something special.
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