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This is what an NFL playbook looks like

Ever wanted to know just what’s in one of those hefty playbooks NFL coaches are always lugging around? Diagrams a quantum physicist would struggle to decipher, is what.

Mike Shanahan: deciphering his own handwriting.
Mike Shanahan: deciphering his own handwriting.
Image: DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/AP/Press Association Images

ESPN’S ELIZABETH MERRILL has managed to get her hands on an Arizona Cardinals playbook from the 2004 season.

About 300 pages long, it’s a one-volume tribute to the strategic depth and complexity of the modern NFL.

You mightn’t be able to understand most of what’s going on– scrams, O-lines, sketches reminiscent of those molecular diagrams you used to draw in Chemistry– but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to appreciate it.

Having a flick through our slideshow will also guarantee that you never look at NFL players the same way again. They’re still jocks, alright, but more out of choice than necessity. As Redskins offensive coordinator Al Saunders put it:

“The intellectual ability of a player is only a fraction of what will ultimately determine his success, but it is a part of it.”

– additonal reporting from Business Insider

This is what an NFL playbook looks like
1 / 11
  • This is a page about a certain kind of pocket protection.

    Source: Business Insider
  • Here are some more blocking packages against a few different defensive alignments.

    Source: Business Insider
  • Some more blocking packages.

    Source: Business Insider
  • Blocking, blocking and more blocking.

    Source: Business Insider
  • Here comes the science...

    Source: Business Insider
  • More on the same play.

    Source: Business Insider
  • How to execute an end-around.

    Source: Business Insider
  • In case that concussion-induced amnesia hits you hard: how to play linebacker.

    Source: Business Insider
  • In case it hits you really hard: how to stand on the field of play.

    Source: Business Insider
  • What's the 'jet technique'? Now you know

    Source: Business Insider
  • How to move while utilising this mysterious 'jet technique'.

    Source: Business Insider

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