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On the Gridiron: Philadelphia Eagles Embrace Virtual Workflows for Efficient Regular-Season Strategy

17/10/2020

On the Gridiron: Philadelphia Eagles Embrace Virtual Workflows for Efficient Regular-Season Strategy Remote applications have kept the content team on schedule By Kristian Hernandez, Associate Editor

Friday, October 16, 2020 - 10:53 am

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Many professional sports have opted for a return to play inside a sanitized bubble. Not the NFL. Without skipping a beat, the league is soldiering on with regular-season games in all 32 stadiums across the country. Similar to our At the Ballpark series, On the Gridiron examines the new routines, habits, and production philosophies of in-venue personnel on any given Thursday, Sunday, or Monday.

As professionals around the globe enter the seventh consecutive month of working from home, virtual conferences and activities have become the status quo. While some companies have stumbled and lost momentum during the transition away from physical meetings, others have capitalized on this new way of life. The Philadelphia Eagles, for example, have increased productivity and timeliness by buying into this new norm and relying on effective communication and collaboration.

A lot of our content strategy is about maintaining [elements] that you do well and adapting to things that you can't do in the same way, says Eric Long, VP, content and production, Philadelphia Eagles. We're also leaning into [working in a virtual setting] as much as possible by using it as an opportunity to be more efficient.

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Under New Constraints: Virtual Applications Overcome Facility Restrictions The press-conference room leverages many remote-production elements, including a robotic camera, return monitor, and changeable backdrop.

Back in training camp, operating in an at-home setting was a foreign concept. Now crew members have become veterans in overcoming the physical distance that COVID-19 requirements have placed on the staff. For the team, working in a virtual capacity has kept everyone accountable, improved the overall efficiency of the work created and has helped turn a dire situation into a productive one.

I think we're taking the hand that we were dealt and making the most of it, says Long. Our staff is a lot more accustomed to things like jumping on a Zoom meeting. In the past, we were pulling people in different directions. It has been a lot easier to keep that flow of communication going and making sure that we're using our time in the best way that we possibly can.

Head coach Doug Pederson answers questions from the media working elsewhere.

Besides Zoom, other technologies are being put into play to help collect a week's worth of information. It has been a huge benefit for the 10-12 staffers who work alongside Long at the practice facility.

We're using these virtual workflows within the building, he explains. We've built three spaces that are essentially 8 10 rooms that have a robotic camera, a return monitor, a speaker, a boom mic, and a monitor behind the person so can swap out the backdrop. We're able to control everything without any latency since we're working on our own network with solid connectivity.

In addition to better internal conversations, COVID-19 has indirectly resulted in a better product. With less hustle and bustle, the crew is able to refine operations and capture content with higher quality.

As part of an abbreviated Media Day, rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor poses for a picture.

There are fewer players [available] every day, and there are good things that come out of that, Long notes. The quality of the conversations is better; we were never previously able to capture everything since there was so much going on at one time. Now we're able to centralize [our content]: if you go to our website, you can basically see and hear everything that took place in the building that day. From a fan's perspective, I think it's a little bit better experience.

Although these new methods of production have been seen as a temporary solution, Long envisions long-term staying power as the industry moves forward.

In the long term, he opines, there's going to be some really positive things that come out of this. We've been able to understand how to look at things much differently than we ever would have before.

Uniting the Flock: Digital Content Brings Together Regional Fans During any offseason period, fans can feel a bit disconnected, but, when the league canceled all preseason games, the organization wanted to do whatever it could to kindle fans' passion. From the get-go, a new training-camp show was developed, and production began once the players hit the practice field.

Before facing the Media Day cameras, rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts recei
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