Posted by Will Brinson
Technological advances have made for some interesting changes in the NFL -- the game's clearly different now than it was 10, 20 and certainly 30 years ago.
But Dan Pompei, writing in his "Sunday Blitz" for the National Football Post, has an interesting take on how two teams -- the Ravens and the Falcons -- are utilizing iPads in order to make certain team procedures more streamlined. "The NFL is finding more and more uses for Ipads," Pompei writes. "The Ravens are giving players their playbooks on Ipads this year. No more paper."
There are some pretty obvious benefits to doing this, once you think about it. For starters, teams who use iPads in place of the typical ream(s) of paper are helping the environment.
Then there's the fact, as Pompei notes, that it's quite simple to remotely erase all the data from an iPad if a playbook is lost, stolen or if a player's cut and the team doesn't feel like tracking down 50 pounds of printed trees.
Another interesting take on this that Pompei doesn't note: iPads -- and other technological devices, of course -- can be geographically tracked. That's not to say that the Ravens are monitoring where their players are during the offseason by virtue of their virtual playbooks, but it's entirely possible.
Also possible? Updating the playbook or communicating certain messages without actually meeting with a player. That's not to say the Ravens are doing so, but having a team-issued iPad means there is a communication line open between the team and player that might not otherwise be there.
The Ravens aren't the only ones finding uses for Apple's newest product in innovative ways, either. Pompei notes that the Falcons have been using iPads to scout players and create reports about guys they have interest in.
"The Falcons used Ipads during pre-draft interviews," Pompei writes. "In fact, head coach Mike Smith was carrying one around. The team has a program that has a checklist of questions for each player. After all the questions are answered, the program compiles everything in a profile in paragraph form."
That's pretty darn snazzy, if you ask me.
And it's something you'll probably see more and more NFL teams start using -- in fact, it won't be surprising if teams who are ahead of the curve on utilizing iPads and other technological advantages like this end up with a reasonable competitive advantage in preparation.
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