Coaching out of the press box is considered part of modern-day football. In the early years of the sport, football coaches couldn’t use the press box as a coaching tool during a game because technology wasn’t sophisticated enough to allow quick communication with players, coaches and team personnel on the sideline. Still, having a bird’s-eye view of the action has its drawbacks, with some coaches reluctant to go upstairs for fear they would lose touch with what’s happening on the field.
Calling plays from the press box can be effective because the coach has the same vantage point of the game as he had during film study. This familiar view helps the coach get a good feel for what plays to call because the view of the action is not limited. Both the offensive and defensive coordinators may opt to call plays from the press box, but some coaches refuse to go, preferring instead to be on the sideline with their players.
A coach in the press box is often in charge of clock and game management because he is away from the pressure of the crowd, referees and other coaches. The press box is a controlled environment where the coach can think clearly and not be distracted by emotions.
Coaches in the press box are responsible for communicating with key players from their offensive, defensive or special teams units via the telephone. An offensive coordinator will call down to the quarterback after every series to discuss what is happening in the game. A defensive coordinator will speak with the captain of the defense after every series to talk about what the opposing offense is doing. This open line of communication helps the coach understand what the players see and vice versa.