Which NFL Team Is Starting To Use Apple iPads As Playbooks?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the youngest team in the NFL. So it should come as no surprise to hear that, as the youngest team in the league, they’re up on using the latest technological advancements to help them gain a competitive advantage over others teams. Case in point: The team started using Apple iPads, rather than phone book-sized binders, for their playbooks this offseason. And it’s already helping them out in a big way.
According to the Bucs, the iPads not only offer players the ability to keep the team’s secrets safe from the opposition. They also make it easier than ever for coaches and players to learn, memorize, and review the team’s plays. Because the typical NFL team has hundreds and hundreds of different plays, that used to mean sitting down with a large binder and flipping through it cover-to-cover. Now, it means powering on an iPad and looking not just at the X’s and O’s involved with football but also videos that help players understand how plays develop.
“It’s crazy how much technology has changed the game,” Bucs safety Cody Grimm told The St. Petersburg Times recently. “Back in the day, I think probably the whole team had to sit down with a projector and a reel and watch film together. They’d have the whole offense in the same meeting room. Now we all have our own iPad. Stuff that we used to come in here to see, we can sit on our couch at home and have access to it 24/7. It’s awesome.”
Bucs head coach Raheem Morris, who is just 34 years old himself, agrees that it’s convenient. But it also serves even more of a purpose: It encourages players, like the Bucs young quarterback Josh Freeman, to go home and check out extra tape in order to be better prepared for practices and games. He doesn’t have to go get an entire DVD made by the team’s video director anymore. He can simply pull up whatever plays he wants to watch on his iPad and get to work.
“It got to the point where we said, ‘Hey, let’s put some of the video on there…from the season. How about practice? How would Freeman like to go home and watch practice again?’” says Morris. “‘How would Free like to sit there and watch third down from Detroit and Miami so when he comes to work the next morning, he’s seeing the tape again and putting it all together?’”
So, it’s helpful for players and it actually makes studying tape somewhat fun. But, most importantly, the iPads also make the Bucs look downright cool. For just $500 per player, the Bucs are making themselves a more attractive team to many of the league’s free agents out there. Outside of being solid on the football field, the iPads also prove that the Bucs are catering to the needs of players, which is always a plus for prospective free agents.
“Big ups to our organization thinking like that because it is the biggest thing right now and we have a young crowd,” says Bucs linebacker Geno Hayes. “It’s pretty big to have that at your disposal.”
Pretty big, indeed. Which is why we won’t be surprised at all when we hear about other teams doing it in the near future. So, who’s next?