Given the recent disclosure (which many of us already assumed) that in post-9/11 America the government can and does monitor a lot of the stuff we do, the secrecy-obsessed NFL has even more reason to ensure that its confidential information is secure.
Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com addresses the steps teams take to protect the extensive data distributed to players on an iPad.
With, as Marvez explains, the recent adoption of the iPad playbook by the Chiefs and Jaguars and in light of a report from the Associated Press that 14 teams had adopted the technology as of the 2012 season, half the league has now ditched paper for a hand-held device that makes a wide variety of stuff instantly available to players.
“Our security is very strong,” a Chiefs spokesman told Marvez. “The iPads will be managed by a mobile device management console along with multifactor level security.”
The measures commonly used include the ability to wipe the iPad clean remotely and the selection of predetermined moments at which the information disappears. This makes the iPad dramatically more secure than a paper playbook, which can be copied, lost, or stolen. In 2005, for example, former Dolphins running back Ricky Williams incurred the wrath of Saban when Williams lost his playbook during a preseason road trip to Pittsburgh.
This doesn’t mean teams won’t at least try to come up with ways to access the information. Football routinely incorporate military principles and mindsets, compelling coaches like Bill Belichick to always say as little as possible for fear of divulging too much to the opposition. It’s understandable, then, that some teams will be looking and listening and hoping for whatever edge they can get, even if it means hacking iPads.
Concerns over security should be a secondary worry for teams that use iPads, however. Having playbooks and film and other useful information readily available to a player doesn’t mean a player will actually use it. For some coaches, having the player in the building watching film is far better than having him supposedly studying film amid the many distractions that go with being at home.
Maybe the next wave in the development of iPad technology for teams obsessed with other teams monitoring the devices is coming up with a way to monitor the devices to determine that, indeed, the players are putting in the time necessary to digest the information contained on them.
So, basically, NFL players who have iPads at some point should assume that the coach is watching you while you are watching film.