Learning experience: XFL coach Jim Zorn 'absolutely shocked' his play calls were broadcast live

The XFL is one week old, so you can’t expect everything to be running smoothly.

Still, something like “a coach’s play calls are going to be broadcast on live television” shouldn’t be a surprise to one of the coaches.

Yet, Seattle Dragons coach Jim Zorn had no idea that some of his play calls were part of the season opener’s broadcast.

Jim Zorn didn’t know his calls would be broadcast

The Seattle Times’ Scott Hanson reported that Zorn didn’t know his calls were on television.

In fact, Zorn told Hanson he was “absolutely shocked.”

“I think it gave a fan a chance to hear and see something they’ve never heard before, but I felt very exposed,” Zorn told the Seattle Times. “Information on a football team has to be guarded a little bit, so we just got it right out there. I know it had to be fun for everybody, but not super fun for me to reveal all that stuff. But I was glad I didn’t stutter or fumble the play calls.”

You’d have thought that would have come up in a meeting or something.

Seattle Dragons head coach Jim Zorn looks on during an XFL football game against the DC Defenders. (AP Photo/Will Newton)

XFL has to try different things

The XFL has to be different to succeed. The NFL can be secretive and paranoid about everything and keep fans at arm’s length because it has a 100-year head start on the XFL. The XFL can’t afford to act like another branch of the military and treat the games as war, as the NFL often does.

Zorn was deep into the NFL mindset. He was a longtime quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks and spent time as the head coach of the Washington Redskins. He’s used to the league that freaked out when New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold was shown on a broadcast last season saying he was “seeing ghosts.”

The NFL, in many ways, is not a “fun” league. The NFL relies on history, the public’s unending love of football and the best talent available to maintain its popularity. The XFL has no history and few notable names. A way to get the audience hooked is bringing something totally new, like having the coaches on a live wire the whole game.

At least Zorn knows now.

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