Rather than watching a televised game from a football fan's viewpoint, try viewing it in the same manner a coach watches the next opponent's game video.
Keep Your Eyes Off the Ball
Instead of having tunnel vision toward the quarterback, look at the defensive and offensive lines, the secondary movements, the receivers, and the running backs. As the game progresses, you will begin to realize all teams have tendencies.
Watching the Defense
- Are the cornerbacks playing inside the receivers' shoulders to take away the slant pattern?
- Is the secondary showing man-to-man or a zone look?
- Do they rotate into different coverage packages?
- How good are the linebackers at blitz disguise?
- Can you see the overload of defensive players on a side?
- Is it Cover 2? Tampa 2?
- Is the defensive end crashing? Or, is he playing his contain role?
Watching the Offense
- Do the tackles set up differently on pass plays? Do they tip their hand?
- Can you see a lean forward by the linemen when it's a rushing play?
- Motion? Is it to set up another play? Is the quarterback determining if the defense is in man coverage?
- Throwing on first down? A lot? A little?
- How effective is the play-action?
- Do the receivers work on 'baiting' the secondary?
- Fake Punt? It is likely to happen at midfield or inside the opponent's territory.
- Inside the opponent's 25-yard line, is there a pass play to the end zone on first down?
- With the offense backed up, will the quarterback throw deep? Play it safe and run the ball?
You Make the Call
The more you watch the same team, the more familiar you will become with their tendencies. Who knows? By the time your favorite team makes it to the Super Bowl or the National Championship game, you just may surprise your friends by your keen sense of calling out the plays before the ball is snapped.