Bucs Have Scaled Back iPad UsageJuly 23rd, 2012
Last year’s cutting edge innovation to put Bucs playbooks on iPads, an idea hatched in the gray matter of Raheem Morris, has gained fast popularity across the NFL but has been somewhat phased out at One Buc Palace.
Last week, JoeBucsFan.com asked rookie fifth-round pick Najee Goode about using iPad technology this offseason. “I haven’t been around it yet,” said Goode, who said he’s only been using an old fashioned playbook.
Goode’s comment came the same day Greg Schiano emphasized that he could recognize rookies that did their homework before their first training camp practice on July 19. “Some guys I can tell went home and studied their tails off,” Schiano said.
Internet Was A Distraction
Scaling back on iPad usage is a good thing, says former Bucs running back Earnest Graham, who was no fan of the iPad realities during the Bucs’ first season using them. Graham’s feelings run counter to Mark Dominik telling CNN last year that iPads were a “smashing success for our players.”
“I think the concept of the iPads was excellent but at times a bit too much for players and coaches alike,” Graham told JoeBucsFan.com. “The problem was that at times guys would forget to charge them overnight or to update them when they came into the building because everything needed to download before meetings. That would cause problems. Also the fact that it’s an unnecessary distraction with being able to access the Internet, games, and so on.
“I thought the idea was great but it was definitely more negatives than positives with a young team. I enjoyed being able to access the opposing teams’ cut-ups and video of that day’s practice, but in my opinion most guys did not use them. If you keep it simple and do your installations using your [paper] playbooks, you don’t have to guess whether a guy is on Facebook or not. Based on that experience I would never use them if I went into coaching.
Joe’s been intrigued by the potential drawbacks to phasing in iPad technology since the Bucs first rolled them out.
Forgetting about the distractions of the Internet, if a guy has access to game film on an iPad, isn’t the player more likely to not watch film at the team facility with a coach or teammate, and on a giant HD screen where he can get the best perspective and detail?
As for putting the playbook on the iPad, Joe surely can see the value, but that doesn’t mean it’s a more effective and efficient learning tool.
Perhaps learning from the Bucs’ experience in 2011, last month the Dolphins announced fines for players who visit unauthorized websites on team iPads. The Dolphins ditched all paper playbooks in June, per the Sun-Sentinel. It’s unclear whether the Bucs had a similar penalty policy in place in 2011.
During a rare radio interview last September, Bucs owner Bryan Glazer talked about the genesis of the iPad innovation and why he was quick to write a check to outfit the team.
“I was sitting in my office one afternoon and [Raheem Morris] came in and he said to sit down and that he had an idea for me. He brought up the idea of putting the playbooks on these iPads. And it took me about two seconds to accept it and think it was a great idea,” Glazer said during a WDAE-AM 620 interview with Steve Duemig.
“You know most of these players are very technologically savvy. You’re dealing with these heavy playbooks. Why not put it all on a thin device? These guys know how to use all that stuff. They could scroll through and look at all the plays. We could update it with video constantly. And if they ever get lost, this is a device that you could just press a button and wipe it clean from a distance. So there’s no harm no foul there.”
About a dozen teams are now either using iPads for all playbooks and film study or are in some stage of using or exploring iPad technology, per Jeff Darlington’s recent feature on NFL.com. (This makes Raheem the Godfather of the NFL iPad. Perhaps that could get him in the Hall of Fame?)
But it’s no surprise that Schiano has scaled back on iPad usage, at least for now. As a guy obsessed with details, Schiano is no doubt more comfortable with what he knows works, versus an iPad system whose flaws are still being flushed out.