The Patriots and Falcons rode two of the NFL’s best—and most sophisticated—offenses this season to Super Bowl LI on Sunday night in Houston. In order to better understand the intricacies of the two teams’ schemes, SI set out to capture a signature play from each team using a new approach, filming the plays using a 360-degree camera. Bill Belichick and Dan Quinn’s squads were understandably busy last week, so we enlisted Pace University’s football team to act as a scout team.
Explore each play using the interactive player below. Embedded in each player are several hotspots that show the plays from the vantage points of various players involved. For example, you can click the hotspot located near the quarterback to get a 360-degree look at what Matt Ryan and Tom Brady would see in the pocket, complete with on-screen graphics and text breaking down the play. Below, The MMQB’s Andy Benoit lays out each play and explains why they are so fundamental to each high-powered offense.
Benoit’s breakdown of the play: The Falcons run this play out of their base personnel, with two tight ends on the field. Atlanta’s used its base formation to deadly effect this year, and they are as diverse and dangerous in base as any team in the NFL. The play called is an outside zone run, so the offensive line moves left in unison, causing the defense to follow. Matt Ryan recognizes this frees up extra space for Julio Jones on the slant route. Given Jones’s dominance on in-breaking routes, this has been a significant part of the Falcons’ offense this season.
Here’s what the play looked like against the Chiefs:
New England Patriots
This Patriots play demonstrates just how much Tom Brady is on the same wavelength with his receivers. The defense is in Cover 3—a foundational coverage for the Falcons. Chris Hogan runs a seam route, which is designed to attack the muddled area in between the zone coverages of the cornerback and linebacker. Brady recognizes that the linebacker is committing to the running back’s underneath route, freeing up Hogan deeper downfield.
Here’s what the play looked like against the Jets: