The Bucs handed out brand new iPad 2’s to all 90 players invited to training camp this summer. No, it wasn’t some “Back to Football” gift for the players. It was their new playbook. According to the St. Petersburg Times, each iPad came loaded with a digital version Tampa Bay’s entire playbook, along with game film, practice film, and situational videos of every NFL team. It’s an all-in-one, everything you need device for all game & practice preparation. And yes, when players were cut at the end of camp, instead of handing in their playbook, they handed in their iPad.
The idea for an iPad playbook came directly from head coach Raheem Morris who used his own iPad to review video of draft prospects
during the offseason / lockout. A couple of employees from the Video and Tech departments, Chris Wells and Dave Levy, loaded up film on the iPad for Morris to wacth while he was on the go. The coach liked it so much, he convinced ownership to shell out somewhere in the neighborhood of $50K to supply every member of the team with new iPads.
Players who wanted to watch film at home in the past used to go the the Video department and have them put together a DVD. Now, it’s all contained on one slick little tablet device.
Morris believes that the team’s youth translates into more tech savvy players, which is probably very true. Veteran RB Earnest Graham agrees. Although the 8 year veteran Graham still uses the paper playbook, he does use the iPad for film study.
“It’s not that guys don’t want to look at plays, but it’s the convenience. … Guys are accustomed to already doing things on their iPads anyway.”
If all goes well with the iPads, the Bucs may not even produce a hard copy of their playbook in coming years. I do wonder about security. With the the Find my Phone feature, any lost or misplaced iPad could be wiped clean remotely. I’d also hope they implemented a way to lock down the iPad tight so no data can be exported. As long as the security is acceptable, I can’t imagine that other NFL teams won’t adopt a similar process.