1. TheScionicMan's Avatar
    NFL ditching paper playbooks for iPads - San Jose Mercury News

    NFL ditching paper playbooks for iPads

    DENVER -- The days of lugging around 500-page playbooks and stacks of DVDs are over for half of the players in the NFL.
    Their teams have gone digital, replacing the old-fashioned thick paper playbooks with iPads that put everything from X's and O's to notifications, scouting reports and video cut-ups at their fingertips.
    "Technology is taking over the world and we're just trying to keep up with it," Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Graham Harrell said.
    The number of teams using iPads for playbooks and game film has increased this season from two to 14. In the NFC, the Bears, Cardinals, Cowboys, Lions, Packers, Panthers, Redskins and Seahawks are using the tablets as are the Bengals, Broncos, Chargers, Colts, Dolphins and Ravens in the AFC.
    Other teams, such as the Chiefs, Titans and Saints, are using iPads for some things but haven't completely abandoned three-ring binders, and the Bills are considering switching over next year, when the NFL makes game film available in high definition, coach Chan Gailey said.
    The Ravens and Buccaneers were the first teams to go digital last year, although Tampa Bay returned to the traditional playbooks this season under a new coaching staff.
    The top model iPads that feature 64 gigabytes of data and retail for $829 each are loaded with about $700 worth of programming, and most teams issue them to roughly 120 players, coaches, scouts and other personnel. That works out to
    roughly $180,000 per team.
    Broncos video director Steve Boxer figures it will take about a year to begin realizing a cost savings from ditching the paper playbooks that consumed trees, money and manpower and kept copy machine repairmen on speed-dial.
    Daily itinerary updates, diagrams and video are automatically pushed to each iPad so a player can have the video clips of a practice or game downloaded by the time he gets out of the shower. Because the video isn't streaming, he can watch it on the airplane or at his apartment, whether or not he has a Wi-Fi connection.
    Apps developed by PlayerLync in suburban Denver or Global Aptitude out of Baltimore allow players and coaches to highlight sections in yellow on the tablet's touchscreen and to write notes with a stylus just as they would with a pencil on paper playbooks. Those notes are saved on servers and can be downloaded again at any time for future reference.
    "I don't think there's any minuses unless you lose it and have to pay that fine," Dallas defensive end Marcus Spears said.
    One of the biggest concerns about the iPad is security, but teams are seeing that they're safer than the paper ones that can be copied at Kinko's.
    If the playbooks are misplaced or stolen, they can be immediately and remotely wiped clean, said Greg Menard, co-founder of PlayerLync, the company that designed the app for the Broncos and several other NFL teams, along with those for Stanford's football team and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche.
    And all iPads have multi-layered password security systems. All data is securely stored on the teams' own servers without a third party managing or maintaining the highly secretive information.
    Of course, nothing's ever 100 percent foolproof, a lesson the Broncos learned this summer when linebacker D.J. Williams tweeted a picture of his iPad screen that showed some basic defensive formations.
    While millions of consumers have embraced iPads for both personal and business use since Apple Inc. (AAPL) introduced them a few years ago, the NFL is just catching up to the tablet technology.
    For the first time this season, the league is allowing players and coaches to have access to their tablets up until they head out to the field for kickoff. Previously, they had to be removed from the locker room 90 minutes before the start of the game.
    The league is also experimenting with the use of iPads by medical staffs on the sidelines this season, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
    The Jets, Giants, Seahawks and 49ers are testing the devices to assist them in neurological testing and documentation and they may also be used for viewing X-rays and players' medical records.
    Ultimately, iPads also could replace the black-and-white paper printouts of plays you see coaches and players poring over on the sidelines between series.
    Not surprisingly, some coaches have been slow to embrace the tablet technology.
    "There's some old-school guys who take a tremendous amount of pride in being old-school guys," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "I think in some ways that's a rationalization. And I think we all fall into that sometimes."
    Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan enlisted his teenage son, Matt, to help him master the new tool. "He's my iPad coach," said Ryan, adding he's glad "we aren't lugging around 60-pound playbooks anymore."
    The iPads players slip into their backpacks weigh a little more than 1 pounds, including the protective case.
    Although half of the NFL's teams are still using paper playbooks and DVDs, just about every locker in the league has an iPad in it.
    "All these guys are techies anyway, because they've been doing this stuff growing up," Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said.
    Watching film has become so easy that players say they're watching more of it.
    "A lot of times right now, I'll be lying in bed and I'll pull my iPad out and scroll through some plays," Harrell said. "I definitely think it makes watching film that much easier, and I think it's going to make guys watch a lot more film and can help us out as a team."
    Some players who are still carrying around paper playbooks are pining for technology.
    Saints linebacker Scott Shanle, whose team allows players to download video onto their own tablets, hopes the team goes all-in next year.
    "I mean, right now, you flip through 300 pages of paper and with an iPad, you could do a search," Shanle said. "It would pull up not only the X's and O's but video, as well. ... I think if you look at X's and O's and look at (video of) the play right after that, it's a huge advantage."
    Boxer, the Broncos' video director, said there was a pinnacle moment during training camp when he downloaded game film of the Seahawks' preseason opener to all of his coaches' iPads so they didn't have to come in to work early on a Sunday morning to review the film at team headquarters.
    "This was really the first time we were able to push video through the air," Boxer said. "They were all smiling about it the next day, like how cool is this?"
    cdelcampo216 likes this.
    09-07-12 04:03 PM
  2. joshua_sx1's Avatar
    RIM probably didn't miss it... I believe, they still have research, development and marketing processes... only, they cannot probably cope up with the requirements or they don't have resources to comply with the requirements and meet the targets... afterall, they have their own target that needs to meet...
    09-07-12 04:16 PM
  3. Syrous44's Avatar
    RIM simply dosnt have the apps to suit the NFL or the ecosystem to make it work. While apple does, i wouldn't be surprised that apple made specific apps for the NFL to get the program going.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
    09-07-12 05:04 PM
  4. njblackberry's Avatar
    Directv's NFL Sunday Ticket app is no longer available for the Blackberry. It is for iOS and Android. Something else RIM "missed".
    cdelcampo216 likes this.
    09-07-12 05:13 PM
  5. Donnee's Avatar
    I dare say reading a book of that type is one scenario where 10" is better than 7"

    Not that nfl is fast paced and doesn't have time for them to be pinching and zooming but ya know

    (obviously British and doesn't really know how handegg works)
    Hgouck and gurraj_singh like this.
    09-07-12 06:28 PM
  6. madman0141's Avatar
    Why is this surprising to anyone RIM Management has missed everything since 2005. Maybe they will get to it before the stock drops to $4 a share. Yeah stuff like this makes me feel less fanboy. Somebody is going to try to tell me that the National Football League isn't big business so BlackBerry isn't for them or how it's a different business. Must be because everyone is running apple except some government entity.
    cdelcampo216 and Syrous44 like this.
    09-07-12 06:34 PM
  7. TheScionicMan's Avatar
    I just think it would have made an awesome marketing angle that they were replacing their playbooks with BlackBerry PlayBooks.

    Regarding some comments, the apps were made by a third party, much like the PlayBook that was shown in police cars. Nothing that was iOS specific as far as I read. They don't carry their 300-page paper playbook on the field. It's for studying the plays when off the field, etc.

    And even if they went with the 4G LTE models, they'd still save a ton of money.
    Stewartj1 likes this.
    09-07-12 07:14 PM
  8. smartie88's Avatar
    marketing is to sell, just to produce
    09-07-12 07:18 PM
  9. Hgouck's Avatar
    It would be cool....Headline "NFL gives up paper playbook for The Professional Playbook"
    TheScionicMan likes this.
    09-07-12 07:27 PM
  10. kill_9's Avatar
    Why is this surprising to anyone RIM Management has missed everything since 2005. Maybe they will get to it before the stock drops to $4 a share.
    Somebody needs to slap Thorsten upside the head and remind him as to the origin of the product name BlackBerry PlayBook in the words of the former CEOs. I don't watch football but this seems to be another fumble by RIM.
    madman0141 likes this.
    09-07-12 08:22 PM
  11. MartyMcfly's Avatar
    I remember reading about this a year ago. I don't think RIMM drop the ball on this. It would be a pain to design/coordinate plays on the playbook (The screen is too small).

    Sent from my Sidekick 2 using Tapatalk
    09-07-12 08:44 PM
  12. Tre Lawrence's Avatar
    Woulda been a great headline, but I don't know that I would blame RIM too much for "missing" it.

    But now, they can push the idea in other avenues. Sports, schools, POS systems. The opportunities are endless; RIM should just be aggressive about courting industries.
    09-07-12 08:47 PM
  13. Kandoo-BB's Avatar
    RIM didn't miss this. Let's be honest,other than the PlayBook having the perfect name for being used as an Nfl PlayBook, the Ipad is just gonna be a better fit do to its size and ecosystem.
    09-07-12 09:18 PM
  14. ralfyguy's Avatar
    Also don't forget that RIM marketing misses out on everything there is. It virtually does not exist. It seems they just develop and make hardware and software, but have no interest to earn money with it. They just seem to do this as a hobby.
    smartie88 likes this.
    09-07-12 11:19 PM
  15. VerryBestr's Avatar
    RIM didn't miss this. Let's be honest,other than the PlayBook having the perfect name for being used as an Nfl PlayBook, the Ipad is just gonna be a better fit do to its size and ecosystem.
    Not necessarily. The security angle is very important for football playbooks: "Teams guard their playbooks as if they contain state secrets a player being asked to turn in his playbook is shorthand for his being cut from the roster so security is a primary concern." "Security is the greatest priority with the tablets. Fusee said the encryption for downloading game plans is a 256-bit, Department of Defense-standard encryption. ... Many apps that exist on the iPads used by the average consumer are blocked. Internet, email and the camera have been disabled" The PlayBook really does have an advantage there. By the way, Apple did not develop the apps needed -- rather, the teams (or hired development shops) did the work.

    The above quotes are from articles in the NY Times and the Baltimore Sun, both from Oct last year. They have some interesting background info about football playbooks. Here some excerpts from both of these articles, follow the links for the entire text.


    | http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/sp...pagewanted=all

    [excerpts]

    Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Arthur Jones, who is accustomed to lugging around a hefty playbook each August, was pleasantly surprised when he was handed a 1.3-pound tablet computer at training camp this year. I love it, Jones said of the team-issued iPad. Its a lot easier to carry that around than a big playbook.

    When Ravens officials bought 120 iPads in the off-season they were looking to do more than lighten their players load. Replacing the once-ubiquitous three-ring binder was a bonus though most teams already used DVDs instead but the main purpose of switching to an electronic playbook was to make a daunting amount of information available to each player in one place.

    Beyond their function as playbooks, tablet devices can act as film sessions, nutrition guides and work calendars. Various people in the league said they could envision tablets becoming as commonplace on game days as coaches headsets.

    Current N.F.L. rules regarding technology would not allow that. And while the league has embraced technology as a way to create a more compelling experience for fans, it is more deliberate about changes that could affect competition. Fans use mobile devices to watch multiple games at once and to analyze data in real time. Meanwhile, players pore over Polaroid photographs during breaks or wait as officials measure out first downs using sticks attached to chains.

    Any device that can record or play video cannot be used during pregame preparations or the game itself, nor can any type of computer. Coaches and players are allowed to view photographs, but binoculars are banned from the sidelines. The Ravens and the Bucs, therefore, have to turn off their tablets before they take the field. This is not an issue when all that is in the computers are the playbooks, which are primarily used during the week. But it would be a barrier to the kinds of expansive uses that some envision.

    Teams guard their playbooks as if they contain state secrets a player being asked to turn in his playbook is shorthand for his being cut from the roster so security is a primary concern.

    The Ravens players need to enter a user name and password to unlock their iPads. Gaining access to the playbook application requires a second set of credentials. If an incorrect password is entered three times, the app destroys the data on the computer. The Buccaneers front office has access to the data on its iPads and can remotely destroy information on a device. Certain features are enabled only when the device is logged on to the wireless network at the teams facility. Of course, another security advantage electronic playbacks have over their paper counterparts is the simplest: they cannot be photocopied.

    Nick Fusee, the Ravens director of information technology, said the teams technological foray began last year, shortly after Baltimores offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, bought an iPad for personal use and asked Fusee to make an application that would serve as a playbook. The Buccaneers began using iPads for their scouts last season, then developed their own playbook application over the summer.

    The electronic tablets for both teams include a file containing the playbook, which the application automatically updates as coaches adjust strategies throughout the season. It also notifies players about things like changes to practice and training schedules and individual nutritional guidelines.

    The playbook and video functions are separate. But the Ravens and the Bucs say they plan to integrate them, so that a player can look at a diagram of a play and immediately watch a video of it in action. The tablets can also be used to do things like monitor how much time each player spends studying.

    The league says its decisions about technology are made to maintain competitive balance, but business opportunities also have an influence. Brian Rolapp, the chief operating officer of the leagues media department, said that the N.F.L.s contract with Motorola Mobility, which provides the wireless technology used on the field, expires at the end of the season. The company makes a tablet called the Xoom that competes with the iPad.

    We have an opportunity on the business end, Rolapp said. Apple, which manufactures the iPad, said it had not discussed a deal with the league. Motorola declined to comment.

    Any changes on the sideline will have to wait until at least after the season, when the league reviews its rules.

    Whether any rule changes occur, interest around the league seems to have grown. The Ravens and the Buccaneers say that since they began using electronic playbooks they have been fielding calls from other teams technology departments. The N.F.L. is kind of a copycat league, Fusee said. Once they hear one team is doing it, pretty soon everyone is doing it.


    | Ravens at forefront of technology with use of iPad - baltimoresun.com

    [excerpts]

    The Ravens have joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the only teams in the NFL that have replaced binders with computer tablets. Many other teams have begun researching adopting similar measures, but no teams have fully embraced the conversion like the Ravens and Buccaneers.

    "I bet you every single team will be doing this within two years," said Nick Fusee, the Ravens' director of information technology. "So this is not something that is going to stop. This is something that is definitely going to move forward. And I know for a fact that half of the teams in the NFL are currently looking into this. I'm getting a bunch of calls from different IT directors around the league, asking, 'How did you do it? Can we speak with your developer?' So it's coming for sure."

    The genesis for the iPads originated from coach John Harbaugh, who said he received one as a gift from a friend. After watching the team expend volumes of paper and players carrying tomes that weigh as much as 50-pound dumbbells, Harbaugh wondered if it was time for a change.

    "Guys carry around these big, old playbooks all the time, and it just seemed crazy," Harbaugh said. "Then you toss them out and we're recycling paper and all that, and we thought, 'What are we doing?' The guys are so savvy now that it's really given us an opportunity to be so much more flexible because we can put video on it, we can put schedules and calendars on it, we can update them in a blink of an eye. We're not handing out paper, and guys aren't leafing through pages in a book. We put motivational stuff on them all the time. So it's just neat. The guys love it."

    Turning Harbaugh's vision into reality rested with Fusee, who researched the cost benefits of paper versus tablets (including security measures). Without disclosing the dollar figures associated with producing paper playbooks, Fusee learned that the team would recoup the initial investment of 120 64-gigabyte iPad 2s at $700 each within two years.

    The organization hired a developer, Global Apptitude, to create a team-based app for the playbook and game plans and bought a site license from DVSport to play videos on the iPads.

    Security is the greatest priority with the tablets. Fusee said the encryption for downloading game plans is a 256-bit, Department of Defense-standard encryption. Players are required to turn in their iPads no later than the conclusion of a game, and just in case there is a straggler, there is a "time bomb" on the game plans that automatically deletes them a few hours after a contest.

    After powering up the iPad, players must punch in a code to open the tablet and then a login and password to access the playbook app. If someone logs into the app incorrectly three times, all the playbook data is destroyed.

    Many apps that exist on the iPads used by the average consumer are blocked. Internet, email and the camera have been disabled.

    [Because of these limits, a linebacker said] "But it has its limits. It's like having a Ferrari, but you don't have the keys. You can get in there and you can sit in there and it's still yours, but you can't really drive it everywhere."
    Last edited by VerryBestr; 09-08-12 at 03:04 PM.
    09-08-12 02:55 PM
  16. MartyMcfly's Avatar
    RIM didn't miss this. Let's be honest,other than the PlayBook having the perfect name for being used as an Nfl PlayBook, the Ipad is just gonna be a better fit do to its size and ecosystem.
    Exactly, the size of the iPad is a huge advantage.


    I swam down s**** creek and came up clean, with a new lease on life like Andy Dufresne...
    09-08-12 03:02 PM
  17. VerryBestr's Avatar
    I agree with the OP, I think RIM missed a major promotional opportunity here, where RIM could have emphasized its security advantage.
    09-08-12 03:08 PM
  18. southlander's Avatar
    I just think it would have made an awesome marketing angle that they were replacing their playbooks with BlackBerry PlayBooks.

    Regarding some comments, the apps were made by a third party, much like the PlayBook that was shown in police cars. Nothing that was iOS specific as far as I read. They don't carry their 300-page paper playbook on the field. It's for studying the plays when off the field, etc.

    And even if they went with the 4G LTE models, they'd still save a ton of money.

    Yes it would have been cool. But there's no way a top brand like the NFL is going to embrace a relatively obscure technology in a case like this. And yes the screen would need to be a bit bigger.

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9850 using Tapatalk
    09-08-12 06:34 PM
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