The New York Jets have a rich history of success dating back to their Super Bowl III win over the Baltimore Colts. After a disappointing 4-12 record in 2007, though, the Jets were looking for something that could turn their luck around in 2008.
In the off-season the team added a few key weapons to their line-up by signing a handful of top-notch free agents, trading for three-time NFL MVP Brett Favre, and becoming the first NFL team to use Hudl Pro.
General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, Head Coach Eric Mangini, and their staffs believed so strongly in the advantage that Hudl Pro could provide them that they purchased an exclusive partnership, making the Jets the only American Football Conference (AFC) East team to use Hudl Pro during the 2008 season. When the Jets staff began using Hudl Pro in the spring of 2008, they immediately found value in the system. Prior to integrating Hudl Pro into their operations, the Jets’ coaching staff would bring their newly drafted and signed rookies up to speed by printing copies of the playbook and team presentation, burning stacks of DVDs with pertinent video for each player, and then mailing these packages out to each individual rookie. The process was both time consuming and expensive—until Hudl Pro.
The moment that they were drafted, we got our rookies on the phone and got them set up with Hudl Pro,” offensive assistant coach Mike Bloomgren said. “
Instantly they had our playbook, our cutups, and the install for that rookie camp we were going to have the following weekend.”
With the rookies immediately receiving access to Hudl Pro, the new players were able to learn their roles rapidly, accessing any cut-up in the Jets video library and playbook remotely before they even stepped foot into the Jets practice facility.
Everybody, whether it was a free agent or a drafted player, had access to our full playbook install – our offensive system, our formations – everything important for learning our offense,” Bloomgren said. “
They had it Sunday night so that when they came to camp on Thursday, it was no surprise – nothing was a surprise. When they arrived at camp they actually could speak our language instead of us introducing it to them for the first time.”
The New York Jets rookies were not the only players to learn the playbook and systems through Hudl Pro. On August 6, 2008 the Jets signed the legendary longtime Packers’ quarterback, Brett Favre. Favre had fewer than four weeks until the team’s first regular season game against Miami and he needed to quickly learn a new offensive scheme, another roster of players, new terminology, and an entire playbook before kick-off on Sunday, September 7. With a few simple clicks, Favre was accessing the Jets’ video library, terminology presentations, pictures of the players, and the entire playbook from home through Hudl Pro. During that month prior to the Jets first regular season home game, Favre spent approximately 2.5 hours a night and over 71 hours from home in Hudl Pro. In his Jets’ debut, Favre completed 15 of his 22 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns. The Jets beat the Dolphins in their season opener, 20-14.
Hudl is really quick, really easy to access, and really easy to use. Things that you could only do at the facility you can do just as quickly from home,” Favre explained.
The New York Jets find value above and beyond just accessing their video and playbook anywhere needed. All of the Jets rookie camps, organized team activities (OTAs), and fall camp installs were done through Hudl Pro’s presentation tool. The presentations tool enables coaches to teach offensive and defensive strategies more effectively to their players. The tool allows for coaches to intertwine PowerPoint slides with video and playbook images to create presentations for their players. These presentations are then shown in team meetings or directly distributed through Hudl Pro when players are not on site at the facility.
With presentations the coaches were no longer just watching and sharing video through Hudl Pro, rather they were using the system as a dynamic learning tool for their players teaching them specific skills, plays, and systems through video to prepare them for the season.
The presentations feature is what really sold us on Hudl Pro initially,” Bloomgren said. “
It’s an unbelievable tool. You can take all of your old PowerPoint presentations, suck them right into Hudl, and then you can integrate video however you want it. You can have a PowerPoint slide, video slide, playbook slide, PowerPoint slide, video slide, and not have to worry about switching between programs.”
Within presentations, you can have notations all over the video – telestrations, voice, spot shadows, and text – and really help focus the attention of your players. You can highlight a safety coming down, ‘Hey, tackle – be alert for a strike look here’.”
A similar presentations feature will be integrated into Hudl, for smaller college programs and high schools, in an upcoming release.
Competing in the NFL requries world-class security. After the New England Patriots’ ‘Spygate’ controversy in 2007, the Jets, also an AFC East Division team, had initial hesitation regarding the security of their video online. Agile Sports implemented financial institution-level safeguards to protect teams’ video and data, encrypting it both on the player or coaches’ machine when stored and then again when transferred over the internet in a secure line. User accounts are protected with token authentication for each user to verify it is actually him/her logging in, and all actions in the system are then logged along with user information and IP addresses. With both Hudl and Hudl Pro, if a player is released from the team, his/her access to the system can be immediately shut off and any data on his/her computer will be deleted automatically.
With their security concerns abated, the Jets quickly found strong benefit in the ability to access their video remotely.
A great value that Hudl offers from a coach’s standpoint, is not having to go into the office Sunday night after games,” Bloomgren said. “
Instead of having to drive back into the office, I was able to come home, spend time with my family, put my kids to bed, and then grade our film from home. That is a real value for us as you know, as you’re trying to balance your family life and certainly get your work done.”
The New York Jets succeeded in improving upon their 4-12 season with a winning record of 9-7 in 2008. After the season, new Head Coach Rex Ryan his coaching staff, and new rookies including the fifth-overall draft pick, USC’s quarterback Mark Sanchez, quickly became acclimated with Hudl Pro and have been putting it to extensive use this offseason.
Hudl is the biggest thing technology wise, I think, to hit our game since Avid came around in the late nineties,” Bloomgren explained. “
I think it has that big of an impact in terms of what you can do with your players. Anywhere your players have an internet connection, they can get on. It’s been a tremendous value for our guys in really getting ahead of the game.”
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