I've had the same question, given I think this is personally a repeatable skill for even someone like me who watches a ton of film, but never played a down at any level. Yes, that's a humblebrag. Before any snap, this is my thought process: Look at the down lineman and their technique, count the secondary, check for (big) nickel et al, see if a possible man in motion uncovers man by his assignments follow or reveals zone by his lack thereof. Now you have something. Anyone in odd positioning? Who's in the package with the personnel (i.e. trips, 11, etc.). Anyone being set up as a decoy, like a split wide Develin for Edelman in the Jordan package? Hell, is the route to set something up? Show the go, make them respect that and bite on the slant eventually? I also like to think of: What's the tendency of the defense? The coach and/or coordinator by aggressiveness? Like, Gus Bradley as part of the Carroll coaching tree in the divisional round is/was going to obviously call Cover 3 because of his tendencies/history, but also out of his necessity of player personnel and injuries with DBs at LB. Given how late we are in the playoffs, everyone knows everyone's tendencies. I'm inclined to believe plays will be well designed to beat these defensive tendencies. Taking that nickel C3 example just a bit further, my eyes are looking for at least one, if not both of, a dig or a seam to be part of the play. Can't you JUST see Romo calling that, resulting in many accolades? "OOOOH, JIM, look out for Gronk going straight up the field here! Here we go!" This is nice but ultimately just game flow. Doesn't take an excellent QB on Romo's level to know that play will succeed. Sometimes it's not going to be that simple and you need to connect a few dots to solve a defense like a math problem with inserted variables, solving for X. Let's say I see the following: NT facing weakside from the C? A DT on the RG? A DE on the TE? WILL on an OT? That's Miami 4-3, base, the predecessors to the Tampa 2 and today's modern use of Cover 2 man. It helps to learn items like this as essentially vocabulary words and almost like rules of grammar, for those wanting to learn more. Given as much, what I find most enjoyable about Romo's analysis itself, other than his genuine, childlike enthusiasm for good football? The times not when a play is predicted, but rather when he talks about the QB and his center communicating proper plays, the kill counts, silent motions, and how they do this, depending on the venue and crowd noise. It's what makes each game, and QB, unique. It's a bad memory to be sure, but remember Troy Brown running the wrong route in Indy in the 2006 AFCCG very late in the 4th? That might've sealed that particular Lamar Hunt trophy if caught. Regarding the precalls though, this feels like it'd be common across anyone with a deep background studying and/or especially playing the game. When people started talking about Romo being a better and/or replacement DC than Bob Sutton after the Chiefs game in KC, I knew we had a problem with how most of society understands football. I mean, Romo gets to see the formation pre-snap. Sutton did not, and had to call the play beforehand, to consider nothing of optimal viewing angle Romo is afforded from the CBS booth. Furthermore, what I was tracking with precalls is just how many went to New England. Pretty much all of them, as contrasted with materially less with KC's more modern offense. BB's Perkins-Erhardt, with some of its vintage dialed up plays with guard pulls on runs, existed heavily during Romo's career, to say nothing of the Parcells-BB connection with some of the playbook. I brought up an analogy to ordering a sandwich from a chain restaurant on a podcast I did earlier this week discussing reading offenses, and it bears repeating here. Let's take your favorite from this restaurant, their godly PB&J since there are so many ways we can build that this sandwich can be ordered, but it follows a simple enough plan. You can have white bread, wheat bread, pumpernickel bread, rye bread from this restaurant. Peanut butter, you've also got chunky, smooth, maybe the restaurant is friendly to those who have allergies and offers sunflower seed butter. But we've also got to decide on which side of the sandwich you want the peanut butter on. Let's say we go a little bit sticky on the top of the mouth, we'll load to the weakside, a very Patriots thing to do, especially on short passing downs (2nd to Indy in frequency, according to SIS). Now we'll add jelly. But that can be marmalade, preserves, currant, or just jelly. That's without considering the flavors, like orange, strawberry, grape, blackberry. Do we want it seedy or just a smooth ride inside? For as much as the jokes exist about Andy Reid ordering off of menus from playsheets, I truly believe it's not the worst comparison, if much more complex on numerous levels, in both how you order, and also the depth of the playbooks. So what's the point of all that? Well, not only are you familiar with that sandwich but because it's your favorite, you know what PB blends with each bread, each jelly option. You know how each will look, smell, and taste. Maybe you've tried making a sandwich in some way? You know how this plays out, from firsthand experience on many different levels, especially with the benefit of having the product right in front of you. Football is much the same way. It evokes the senses of memory and familiarity to a QB, on either side of the ball, especially given how much playcalling hasn't changed much since the late 80s (don't see the 5-2 much anymore, heh, to name one notable change). Given all this, especially given a player of Romo's caliber, why shouldn't this familiarity to anybody be seen as anything but expected? The hardest part about football is always going to be predicting how the play itself goes, given any of 22 individuals could do something miraculous or do something absolutely out of position. It's a game of chaos, bedlam, all starting in the trenches. After all, how often do you see, following a pass play, that the OL is still in a straight line after their blocking? So yeah... I think more people could do this, but they choose not to because, if I understand matters correctly, the networks do not like this being said, although I'm not sure I fully understand those particular logistics. But I guess I ask, and why I made this thread, do you view pre-calling plays as impressive? What does it say about football? Is it something you tend to do as well? Anyone else got an approach like this, for better or worse? This isn't meant to be inherently Romo specific, albeit inspired by him, but it's a psychological phenomenon that hits everyone from the casual to the die-hard, so I'm curious to see how others think here, in many respects.