Bucs switching to tablets on the sidelines

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Another day, another step closer to the inevitable demise of Dunder Mifflin.

Via JoeBucsFan.com, the Buccaneers will dump laminated play sheets and instead use tablets on the sideline during games.

The disclosure came last week from NFL Chief Technology Officer Michelle McKenna-Doyle in remarks to the Tampa Bay Technology Forum’s Professional Women’s Networking luncheon.

“We’re having to teach some of the coaches of a certain generational age who have been slower to adapt,” McKenna-Doyle said, via the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

It’s unclear how far teams can go with the use of the tablets during games.  Presumably, teams won’t be allowed to stream the broadcast of the game.  JoeBucsFan.com mentions the possibility of using the tablets to sift through down-and-distance scenarios, an intriguing option.  It likewise could be used for clock management and making the decision on whether to go for two.

Still, it will be odd to see the coach holding not a play sheet but a tablet in front of his mouth as he’s relaying the call to the quarterback.  But think about the cash the NFL could make from putting a corporate logo on the back of that tablet.

UPDATE 9:46 a.m. ET:  The league has provided to PFT more information about what can and can’t be done with the tablets during games.

17 responses to “Bucs switching to tablets on the sidelines

  1. This is nothing new. At all. Years ago the Ravens started with digital playbooks for their players and handed out ipads with the playbooks preloaded. Hell, a few years before that the Washington Capitals were using tablets on the sideline to draw up plays as opposed to the old school dry erase board that most NBA and NHL coaches use.

    Technology is here. It’s not going anywhere. Get used to it.

  2. .

    If any of these tablets have cameras, then the Bucs will be in violation of NFL rules forbidding filming from the sidelines.


  3. I had thought tablets were banned on the sideline because the league doesn’t want players and coaches to be able to watch video from the sidelines, is that no longer the case?

  4. Clock management, go for two? How about paying attention and coaching the team . Why on earth would they need a tablet to make what are “coaches ” decisions

  5. Hmmm… I see a lot of potential landmines here.

    That being said, kudos (I think) for the Bucs for getting out ahead of the curve on this one. Based on his Bears tenure, Lovie Smith is the last HC in the league that I would expect to be on the leading edge of anything, but maybe the year off has re-oriented his thinking.

  6. The problem they haven’t thought of may be glare. I know that my phone is nearly impossible to read in direct sunlight, so I wonder what a tablet looks like in direct sunlight.

  7. Glare is a definite concern. On the other extreme, it gets damn cold on some of those sidelines late in the year, and electronic gadgets don’t like the cold that much.

    But of course the biggest question is how well will the tablet support one of the biggest (and most ridiculous) traditions ever — covering up the coach’s mouth so opponents can’t lip read his play calls?

    Suffice to say, tablets may make inroads on NFL sidelines but I don’t see those laminated sheets going away anytime soon.

  8. 700levelvet, it’s not like they will have a coin flip app for click management and 2-pt conversions. I would imagine a small data base with odds for 2-pt conversions and 4th and to go situations. I seen a coach interview awhile back where a lot of coaches had a cheat sheet of that kinda info on the sidelines.

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