Bucs Have Scaled Back iPad Usage

July 23rd, 2012

“Thank you, Mr. Glazer. I’ll need 106 eight-inch binders and four copy machines.”

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.

Godfather Raheem

Putting playbooks on iPads is a booming NFL trend first concepted by Raheem Morris and launched by the Bucs. But Greg Schiano is going more old school.

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.

14 Responses to “Bucs Have Scaled Back iPad Usage”

  1. Jessup Says:

    Using the Ipad is a great idea and it’s disappointing to here we aren’t using it anymore. As far as players forgeting to charge them and update them, you’re going to have those issues with anything new…but rather than just give up on it, why not enforce small fines or other penalties just like being late or anything else?

    As far as the internet and games being a distraction, the playbook Ipads should be specifically for playbooks and have no internet access. Not only does that provide distractions, but with an internet connection comes a chance to have your playbook hacked or leaked. It’s fairly easy to disable the internet on a the Ipad. The only wireless network they should be able to access is the one at One Buc Place that allows them to update the play book….and that should happen automatically as soon as they are in range of the building. Shows a lot of ineptitude that it wasn’t done prior to handing them out. Great idea that wasn’t executed well.

  2. Adam Says:

    That explains the 10-game losing streak. The defense was playing Angry Birds during meetings.

  3. bucfanjeff Says:

    It shouldn’t be too difficult for a football team, or NFL, to get modified Android Tablets or iPads for the playbooks. Limiting what you can and cannot do.

  4. rmac Says:

    Once Apple releases the new iOS update, it will be possible to put iPads in Kiosk mode, where they can only display what you want. Apple is including this feature for schools that want to use iPads for testing. Maybe the Bucs will hand them back out again at that point.

  5. Josh Says:

    The first time I heard this last year I instantly thought how the right hacker could gain access to the entire playbook and game plans. I know they had security installed, but to me it seemed like a giant target for other teams if they chose to employ such tactics. Not saying they did, but I am very happy that the team is back to paper again.

  6. RickinFL Says:

    Bryan Glazer’s quotation sums up the value of the “Ipad playbooks” rather succinctly.

    “These guys know how to use all that stuff. They could scroll through and look at all the play,” Glazer said.

    The operative word here and the one that spells the death knell for the “Ipad Playbook” is “look.” The players only get to “look” at the plays. Thus, the system will only work for visual learners or those who can learn something just by looking at it and studying it.

    What about the kinetic and audio learners? Well by only getting to “look at the play” those types of learners are left out of the equation. If coaching is teaching, then the coach needs to teach the way “individual” players learn.

    Hence, some players can learn the plays by “looking at them.” However, other players need to “hear” the coach talking them through the play while some have to actually use their body (which can be the act of drawing the play themselves and writing down the narrative regarding the play).

    I agree the Ipads are good for taking “cut ups” and film clips home to study your weaknesses and your opponents. However, nothing, in my opinion, can replace a meeting with the position coach in which he explains the play, draws the play out, and has the players draw and explain the play back, for pure learning of the playbook.

    It’s how the human brain is wired.

  7. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    Schiano is old school. The iPads are a good idea, especially for viewing film at home of on the move.

    But I always find that I remember things I write down better than things I just view.

    There is also another option from the playbook point. Kindle has a “DX” eReader that has a 10″ screen. It ONLY reads books. No games. They are under $200 and I think they would be more helpful than the iPads, because they look just like paper, no backlit screen (no eye strain). It would be perfect to put the playbook itself on.

    And then just hand out the iPads to team/Unit leaders under the orders that they use them to help their teammates study and get better…a teaching tool thoughout the season when the film room is not available.

  8. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    Well said, Rick

  9. Oregano Says:

    Thank you, Rick.

    I believe new technology is vital in that, they can study the playbook or opposition via game film on the long boring flights to and from games.

    Maybe, Blount will make it to practice on time and stay awake during meetings now, instead of staying up all night surfing the Hooter’s calendar site.

  10. Denny Gay Says:

    Sounds about right on the ipad. Bright and shiney toys for some one to play with, but no really get work done. These things are overpriced and are no where near a computer. The school board of Hills County has also decided to not go the bank account draining effect of the Apple stuff.

    The two schools that piloted the ipad program didn’t work out. In the end all the kids were doing was reading books on the ipad….So it was basically a $500.00 overpriced Nook or Kindle. If you want to replace paper books or playbooks, an ipad is not the solution, its something that makes you seem cool to shallow people. The Nook and Kindle display reading materials and a fraction of the cost, and by the way….our tech departemnt can reapir these. We were told by Apple that the school district cannot work on ipad devices. Apple said if an iPad needs repair, just bring it into the mall and we’ll take care of it……HUH????? Hillsborough County has over 180 schools, multiplied by the average school size of 800 kids….So every kid gets an ipad and when it breaks EVRY kid in Hillsborough County is suppossed to take thier device to the mall????? FOR REPAIR????? I don’t think so. I guess only the genius’s that can ring up the cash register at the Apple store are the only choosen ones to work on these precious devices…get over yourself Apple. In teh first half of this school year, from one school, there were 150 repairs needed on the ipads. That’s one school in one half of the year. 95 of those were broken schreens, which Apple so genourouly will not cover under any type of extended warranty….. We had to pay an outside contractor ( apple will not let us work on the devices THAT WE PURCHASED AND NOW OWN) so all those repairs were handled at the tax payers expense at about $250.00 a shot……NICE work Apple…

    School District is going with Nook tablets running Windows 8, to replace school books. Thse devices are going to be able to print to existing printers ( it’s still Windows), run Microsft office, and we can WORK ON THE DEICE OUR SELF. Just be practical about stuff and it will work out in the end.

  11. SilenceTheCritics Says:


    That was the first thing that came to my mind as well. Hackers are always getting smarter and more creative… so are cheaters. And I am positive somebody some where in the NFL is looking for a way to cheat and this would be the perfect target… Stick to the old fashion paper playbook, its the only for sure way to keep others from stealing and spying on it.

  12. thomas two point two Says:

    Rah just wanted a free personal computer that could play his audiobook: head coaching for dummies and ms PAC man at the same time.

  13. Buccaneers forget to recharge iPad playbooks, curtail use as a result | New Angry Birds Says:

    […] said that he’s been using only paper playbooks. From ex-Bucs running back Earnest Graham, via JoeBucsFan.com: “I think the concept of the iPads was excellent but at times a bit too much for players and […]

  14. just frank Says:

    That’s the problem is schools and Americans for that matter think that Apple is the only company that makes tablets….Android is much easier to customize and block apps and regulate internet.