For Tampa Bay Buccaneers iPads Become Playbooks And Portable Film Room

I suppose it was only a matter of time, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear to be the first NFL team to utilize portable tablets for their playbooks. For the Buccaneers, iPads are the tablet of choice, an idea Raheem Morris had during the lockout this offseason. After watching highlights of several players on his own iPad, Morris took the idea to team owner Jay Glazer:

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"I went back to the office and I happened to catch Bryan Glazer hanging out in his office one day and I said, 'I got an idea,' " Morris said. "I didn't sit down because I wanted to be intimidating. So, I had him sit in his seat and then I stood up and I had Jay walk around him so (Glazer) could get a grasp of it.

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"I started talking about putting the playbook on there and getting 90 for everybody in camp and for all the coaches and he immediately threw his hands up in the air and said, 'It sounds great.' "

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After getting the green light from the boss, Morris and the Bucs' video and technology staff went about transferring the playbooks onto the devices and implementing a secure environment that was difficult to breach. From there, it was just a matter of the players getting used to the new interface and taking advantage of the extra access they had to their playbooks. For the most part, the players adopted it quickly.

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"It's beautiful," linebacker Geno Hayes said. "It's better than a playbook because you have more interaction with it. You're actually in the film room. You can draw up the defense we have called in certain formations. It's more hands-on. Instead of going through the playbook and flipping the pages, you can just flip it on and go wherever you need to go."

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Teammate Elbert Mack concurred:

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"Right before you got to bed, you might want to catch a few plays. During commercials, you can watch TV and watch plays. Whenever you have some down time waiting on food to get finished, you watch it. It's more convenient than a DVD, I know that."

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I personally would be a bit concerned about players feeling a little too good about that extra convenience for the simple reason that some might put in numerous, quick, semi-distracted study sessions in rather than sitting down and really focusing on the material for more than just a few minutes here and there. 

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Not everyone is in love with the change. At least not completely. Right guard David Joseph misses being able to scribble notes in his playbook easily:

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"I use the playbooks to learn plays and I take a lot of notes within my playbook," Joseph said. "That's something that I've just become used to, so I have a routine when it comes to learning blocking schemes and depth charts and things of that sort.

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"But what the iPad does is, you can take film home in one device. Before, you had to buy a computer and it was like an $11,000 or $12,000 computer to be able to take film home and then you had to get it loaded up every week. So, this allows guys to take the film home and even if you're just watching 30 minutes or 45 minutes at home, it helps you get accustomed to things."

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Who needs a $11,000 computer first of all? Sounds like someone got ripped off by a clever salesman. But that's neither here nor there. 

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It will be interesting to see if this becomes a trend around the NFL, and if so, if and when there might be a security breach that makes teams rethink a seemingly logical transition to using technology for playbooks. 

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