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NFL Teams Turn to iPads for Playbooks

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Published on Nov 18, 2012

Many of the teams in the n-f-l are giving a new set of pads to their players. Fox 17's Dave Foster takes a look why teams are ditching their paper playbooks in favor of the iPad.The Baltimore Ravens have a reputation for a punishing defense led by big name players like linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed. But it's what the Ravens are using before they take the field that's drawing the attention of teams around the NLF - iPads.This is our actual iPad that we hand out to all the players and all the coaches. For the players, this is their playbook now. NFL playbooks typically run hundreds of pages and with 53 players on each team, that's meant printing thousands of pieces of paper each week. Coaches like paper. Coaches like plays and they like details and they give players a lot of paper. And then after a while, you end up printing so much paper that the playbook gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And it becomes cumbersome. But now with the iPad of course, the paper is no longer an issue. Before the 2011 season, the Ravens coaching staff met with I-T director Nick Fusee to find a way to modernize the NFL playbook. The team contracted with Global Aptitude, a Baltimore-based developer, to create a playbook app for the iPad - allowing players and coaches to watch game footage and diagram plays whenever and wherever they wanted.There had been a number of us who were interested in how to make our playbooks better, How to include video with diagrams, how to make diagrams dynamic and we'd been talking about this for years. With the advent of the iPad, it provided a great method to mix those learning tools.The Ravens control the content on each iPad ensuring that unwanted apps like angry birds stay off.  The team is also able to erase the iPad's contents remotely to prevent playbooks from falling into the wrong hands."There's also a time bomb set to each playbook, so when a player actually downloads it, there's a set time and date where that playbook will automatically go away. So in case anybody ever loses it, it's gone."Beyond a much lighter, more secure playbook, Fusee says the team has also saved money by making the switch.We were paying a lot of money to actually print playbooks. So I did a financial study and i figured after two years we would be even, and the third year we'd actually save money.While the ravens were among the first to use iPads as playbooks, they aren't the only team. Roughly half of the NFL including the Denver broncos and the Miami dolphins are now using playbooks on iPads.  Fusee thinks that iPad playbooks will become the norm among all NFL teams within a few years.While some teams have embraced the technology, there's no evidence that iPad playbooks provide teams with an edge on the field.  The super bowl champion New York giants still use paper. So far the Tennessee Titans have not decided to use electronic playbooks.

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