Two NFL teams have made a forward-thinking pass, replacing their old-fashioned playbooks with personal tablet computers. Both the Baltimore Ravens and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have issued iPads to their players, thus providing them with easy access to the team playbook as well as game tape for review. And arguably the best part? The iPads are password protected, which allows teams to ensure that their strategies are kept secret.
Given the scope of technology and its ability to provide players with a compact and portable way to review and prepare for games, it's no great surprise that the multi-billion dollar industry finally appears to be switching to a more modern method of coaching. As for why this didn't happen sooner, that could be the result of an NFL rule that states, "any device that can record or play video cannot be used during pregame preparations or the game itself, nor can 'any type of computer.'" So while players can benefit from the iPads during training, they're banned from using them during the game and instead left with Polaroids and play-calling sheets that seem primitive in comparison.
Whether the NFL will revise their rules to allow for broader use of the iPads remains unclear, but will certainly be a subject of future debate. Other ways the tablet devices could be used have already been suggested, like for nutrition guidelines and scheduling purposes. Beyond that, the options for innovation that could result from a turn to tablets are nearly limitless.
[via the NYT]
Related on SmartPlanet: