Technology continues to be a game-changer. Apple’s iPad has made it way into locker rooms in the last few years and has become a valuable resource to watch video and scout opponents.
The Denver Broncos are trading in their playbooks and DVDs for the iPad, according to the Denver Post. They purchased about 120 iPads for coaches, players and other team personnel to use all season long. This move, following the suit of the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers who are the only other teams that have made the switch.
The digital transition will not only save trees but may also give the Broncos a competitive edge. Just two other teams in the National Football League — the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — have discarded the printed playbook in favor of a tablet and an app.
Now when Broncos head coach John Fox adds a play, the update will be pushed automatically to the playbook app on each player’s iPad.
“The advantage is that when they leave the building, they can take everything home with them very easily and watch tape at night and review the game plan installation,” said Broncos general manager Brian Xanders. “This is their full-time job — to prepare and do whatever they can to help us win each week. “
Unlike the NBA, electronic devices such as the iPad are currently banned on the sidelines. In the future, the rule will be changed and instead of players looking at black and white print outs, on-field pictures will be pushed to the devices.
Along with the iPad, the Broncos have purchased Verizon 4G service to go with it, ensuring immediate updates wherever the players are. And should one get stolen or lost, it can be remotely wiped right away.
For the digital playbook, the team partnered with Parker-based technology startup PlayerLync.
The PlayerLync app allows players and coaches to write notes and highlight plays using the tablet’s touchscreen. The playbooks are then saved on remote computer servers, allowing players to access notes from previous games. With paper playbooks, those notes are trashed each week.
A key component to the software is that it runs in the background even when a player is not reviewing the playbook, enabling the app to determine when a coach has an update to push to players, such as a new short-yardage and goal-line package.
“It used to require players to come in, meet as a group, hand off pieces of paper, ‘Here’s your new play,’ ” said Bob Paulsen, PlayerLync chief executive. “Now it’s all going to be automatically downloaded.”
Pretty cool, huh. Just another example of teams changing the way they function for the better. DVDs are quickly becoming outdated with mobile devices such as iPads and Notebook computers that can simplify the way a player or coach watches games.
I expect to see many more NBA and NFL teams to make the transition soon.