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I Can See Clearly Now
The life of a professional football player – at least in the minds of most fans – is a never ending cycle of physical conditioning and practicing the countless routes or defensive moves. Then there is the need to survive the daily tongue lashings from the coaching staff. And occasionally there are also the more pointed comments from their fellow players and the sports writers, mostly laced with unflattering adjectives. That’s how the average fan sees things.
The truth however is more involved and considerably more nuanced than the general perception. There's a large amount of intellectual activity involved culminating in a final exam every Sunday afternoon from September through December.
In addition to the endless study of the playbook, players and coaches spend hour after hour reviewing – in extreme detail – the past performance of each player (in isolation and as a member of a squad) and previewing the performance of the next opponent. Match-ups are examined ad-infinitum. Where can an individual player or a group of players find an "edge"? What idiosyncrasy – what poker player's call a "tell" – is there that can be exploited in a member of the opposing team? What barely perceivable tendency, maybe just an eye movement, needs to be controlled in your own player? It's an art and it's a science.
The Buffalo Bills are perfectly capable of handling the art portion but they wanted to improve the science part so they turned to The HD Group, Inc., an extremely well respected systems integrator located in Williamsville, NY. The HD Group definitely came through for the Bills, renovating nine coaching rooms and moving the team’s A/V technology from 1980s era Standard Definition to the latest, High Definition, Multi-Media capabilities.
Henry Kunttu, Video Director for the Buffalo Bills, knew what he needed. He wanted to integrate numerous, disparate video sources into one seamless tool that the team's coaches could use to teach and motivate the players. He wanted to dramatically increase the sharpness of the imagery. Most of all, he wanted to empower the coaches and players so they could improve on their strengths, define weaknesses needing improvement, and spot the "tells". And then he wanted to help the players and coaches go into next Sunday’s game properly prepared from studying the exact same areas of the opposing team.
Bob Ferrulo, President of The HD Group, took Kunttu's desires to heart and assigned his company's technical wizards the task of making it all happen. He set the overall objectives of the project as "Increasing the resolution, brightness and scaling of the existing PC based video coaching system to take advantage of new HD video projectors, screens and HD plasma displays." He wanted to make the system not only work but work intuitively and in the ambient lighting present in the Bill's nine coaching rooms.
Ferrulo's company placed a total of 12 Sony high output HD projectors and two Panasonic 65" plasma displays in the rooms and then dedicated 10 TV One C2-1250 scalers to the task of seamlessly switching the PC and HD Video inputs so that the coaches and players could efficiently utilize the equipment and complete their reviews in the least amount of time.
Ferrulo says "The HD Group has grown to rely on TV One’s products. The versatility and multi-function aspects of most of the units have solved a number of problems in many of our installations. We can rely on TV One to also provide us with quick turn around on product orders resulting in great service."
The Bottom Line
According to The HD Group’s Byran Bonn, the Bills coaching staff is extremely pleased with the project, stating that the new plasma displays and projectors have greatly increased the clarity, resolution and brightness of the images. The integration of different kinds of input types through the TV One C2-1250 PC/HD scalers plus the use of AMX control programming has yielded tremendous improvements in workflow and ease of use. Now the coaches and players can spot those little things that often mean the difference between a good hit or a missed assignment, a pass completion or a busted play, a touchdown or a sack.
For the Buffalo Bills, top notch football is all in a days work. For The HD Group, Inc., when it comes to successful projects, the same thing can be said.
The HD Group, Inc.
415 Lawrence Bell Drive
Williamsville, NY 14221