The Broncos are phasing out paper playbooks in favor of iPads.
The Denver Post reports that the 500-page playbooks and paper game plans and scouting reports of the past are gone, as this year everything is being handled electronically, with iPads.
Some of the advantages to iPads over paper are obvious: Instead of 11 Xs and 11 Os showing players’ alignments, and arrows showing players’ movements, an iPad can allow players to watch actual game tape of the play in question. But the Broncos think another advantage is that players will spend more of their personal time studying if they can do it more easily.
“The advantage is that when they leave the building, they can take everything home with them very easily and watch tape at night and review the game plan installation,” Broncos G.M. Brian Xanders said. “This is their full-time job — to prepare and do whatever they can to help us win each week.”
NFL players and coaches aren’t allowed to use iPads during games, so the Broncos will still need some playbook printouts to review on the sideline and for halftime adjustments. But the Broncos believe that may change some day. Currently NFL teams review printouts of still photos during games, but eventually they may scroll through those photos on their iPads.
“There was a thought that we’d use tablets and iPads to flip through those pictures, but they have not approved that yet,” Xanders said. “I can see it potentially moving that way.”
Transitioning from paper to tablet is technological progress that the NFL won’t be able to resist forever.