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UFL will use high-tech system for calling plays

The coach-to-quarterback radio system could soon be going the way of the Tyrannosaurus Rex (and/or the Rocky Mountain News), if a technological advancement to be used this year by the UFL catches on.

Jeff Darlington of the Miami Herald takes a look at a new system for sending plays from the head coach to the quarterback.

From the sidelines, the coach presses a button, which then sends an encrypted (except in Foxborough) message to the quarterback’s wrist band.

The wrist band then displays the play to be called.

The device, called the ID Coach (the name is nearly as lame as “Twitter”) has been invented by the Isaac Daniel Group, and it’ll be used by the fledgling UFL.

‘To be honest, I thought it was going to be a total gimmick when I
heard about it,” UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue told Darlington.  “So when we went in there with our
coaches, we were blown away.  We thought it was an incredible concept.”

So do we. 

Though the Luddites who still use typewriters and turntables might opt to craft manifestos aimed at the evils of Maddenizing the NFL, the Rubicon was crossed years ago, when coaches began to usurp from quarterbacks the function of calling plays.  So regardless of whether the play is shuttled from the sidelines via a player or by hand signals or by radio or by two tin cans with a taut string or by mental telepathy, the essence of the game — i.e., the coach calls the plays, not the quarterback — won’t change.

If there’s a way to do it more efficiently, then the UFL, the NFL, and even college football should embrace it.   


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16 Responses to “UFL will use high-tech system for calling plays”
  1. DC_CUATRO_CUATRO says: Jul 12, 2009 11:41 AM

    Ummmm…yeah…I can just see the next Spygate in the NFL.
    A team hires a 17 year old “technology consultant” (pimply faced hacker) who steals plays as they wirelessly fly through the stadium air…

  2. jimicos says: Jul 12, 2009 11:45 AM

    Incredible technology. Here’s a picture of the control device:

  3. ChevyMSU35 says: Jul 12, 2009 12:01 PM

    “Ummmm…yeah…I can just see the next Spygate in the NFL.
    A team hires a 17 year old “technology consultant” (pimply faced hacker) who steals plays as they wirelessly fly through the stadium air…”
    Couldn’t a pimply faced hacker steal radio messages as they fly through the air already? I’m no technology expert but if anything it seems like this technology would be just as safe/unsafe as the current procedure.

  4. RexRyan'sStressedLapband says: Jul 12, 2009 12:04 PM

    From the sidelines, the coach presses a button, which then sends an encrypted (except in Foxborough) message to the quarterback’s wrist band.
    Ahhhh, yes. Beautifully put, Mike.

  5. FumbleNuts says: Jul 12, 2009 12:19 PM

    In the latest news: Belicheat hires an army of techie-gurus to break the encryption codes.

  6. myquealer says: Jul 12, 2009 12:23 PM

    Didn’t the NFL spend $150,00 per stadium to put HDTVs in the replay booth? Based on that, these thing must cost about a million dollars. That is more than the payroll for a UFL team. How can they afford it?

  7. RyanHarris says: Jul 12, 2009 12:39 PM

    Oh yeah that will work.
    How many of these wristbands will get broken during a game? 5? 10?

  8. RyanHarris says: Jul 12, 2009 12:49 PM

    Re: myquealer
    It actually would be really simple, it only shows the name of the play so the display screen would be fairly small, and not too expensive.
    Also the company (IDG) that makes these probably has a deal in place with the league that the UFL doesn’t actually pay very much for them.
    IDG is hoping that;
    – The UFL actually takes off (doubt it)
    – The UFL lasts long enough that people follow it (again, unlikely)
    – The announcers will always mention their product which will lead to every college, high school, etc picking up their ID coach.
    Not a great business plan if you ask me, planning your products launch on a league that will have a handful of teams and may or may not actually launch.

  9. Pockets Straight says: Jul 12, 2009 1:27 PM

    IDG is not hoping any of those.
    IDG is hoping that:
    1) the UFL makes it through one season
    2) their product works well and effectively for that season
    3) the NFL/ Big 10/ etc. sees how well it worked and buys a whole bunch
    It doesn’t matter how long the UFL lasts as long as IDG can show case their product for a few weeks.
    Yes they could be decrypted, however data encryption is significantly more efficient than voice encryption. This is why the NFL uses Motorola digital radio for their their communications, the voice communications are encrypted as data. So it would be just as hard/easy to decrypt as it is today. Technically, if you put a RSA authenticator into the arm band, it could be more secure…

  10. myquealer says: Jul 12, 2009 1:52 PM

    @RyanHarris, I realize it shouldn’t cost anywhere near that much, but putting an HDTV in the replay booth shouldn’t have cost $150,000 per stadium, either.

  11. ☻☼CBS, FOX, ESPN, NFLN nbc says: Jul 12, 2009 1:55 PM

    For as much as you dont like the UFL you sure do a lot of…umm “reporting” on whats going on in that league.

  12. east96st says: Jul 12, 2009 2:03 PM

    jimicos that was better than anything Taco Bill has ever done. And we didn’t have wait a month to see it.

  13. marcduke says: Jul 12, 2009 2:03 PM

    This has all kinds of possiblities. For instance:
    UFL QB just threw a terrible incompletion missing his receiver who was wide open 30 yards down field. The next play/message comes in from Denny Green, “Nice throw, a-hole. You Suck!”

  14. cliffcla says: Jul 12, 2009 3:48 PM

    What is Profootballtalk’s Twitter again…

  15. slammers says: Jul 12, 2009 5:45 PM

    Depending on the type of encryption it could be nearly impossible to hack.
    If they do key based encryption which means that the coaches equipment and QB’s armband share using a private encrypted key, no one can hack the data flying thru the air unless they were able to get their hands on that private key thats programmed into the coach or QB’s devices.
    But until they reveal how they do it…its up for debate how safe it is…

  16. Dont Taze Me Bro says: Jul 12, 2009 6:07 PM

    All’s well until the team starts taking their orders from a kid playing QB1 at the Damon’s down the street.

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