Earlier in the week Texans QB Brian Hoyer did an interview on Pro Football Talk. He mentioned the fact that he didn't want Hard Knocks to give away any competitive advantages as perhaps it did back in the 2012 season when JJ Watt watched the Dolphins' Hard Knocks episodes.
Watt picked up on the Dolphins snap count watching Hard Knocks or so he claimed. Now, Battle Red Ladies before you come at me with pitchforks blazing, I'm not saying JJ's lying or embellishing the truth. In fact, it's more probable than not that it's true.
Can media/TV give an opponent an advantage, slight though it may be?
Yes and yes.
One of my favorite coaching/football stories was when Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson, sitting in his coach's office before Super Bowl XXVIII, spied the Buffalo Bills running a shovel pass in the background of the ESPN Super Bowl pre-game show. He got his coaching staff together and asked if they had ever seen Buffalo use the shovel pass. When the staff said no, the coaches devised a plan to stop it if the Bills used it. They did and the Cowboys stuffed it and forced a key fumble on the play.
One that hits a bit closer to home was electronic media and not TV, but sitting in my hotel room last year prior to the Pittsburgh Monday night game, I stumbled upon an article by a Steelers beat writer. It was one of those quick hits and notes type of things - I'm a huge fan of those articles and read them all the time. Quick bullet points about an injury here or a player doing something good or bad in practice. The last note was a couple of sentences on how the coaches gave a long look to rookie Martavis Bryant in practice leading up to the game v. the Texans and to not be surprised if he's active and in the game plan.
Unfortunately, the writer was dead on.
Bryant hadn't been in the game until the second quarter. On his first play, I remember thinking they're going to him right now. Ben Roethlisberger lofted a deep ball in Bryant's location and it turned into Bryant's first career catch and first career touchdown.
I guess the media does know what it's doing, huh? (tongue lodged firmly in cheek).