In the National Football League, major changes have come to the sidelines. Fans might have noticed after the offensive players head to the bench, they're all picking up tablets and quickly scrolling through them. According to The New York Times, the NFL partnered with Microsoft to bring the computer manufacturer's Surface Pro 3 tablet to the sidelines for players to scroll through photographs of the last play or drive.
The technology move is groundbreaking for the NFL. It's also a great way for technology to improve the game and more efficient method. In the past, photos of the previous plays were printed off and handed to quarterbacks and wide receivers to see what went right or wrong with the play.
However, now they're able to avoid massive playbooks and carry around tablets that allow only photographs of plays and digital playbook strategies to be viewed, The Wall Street Journal reported. There is some concern about the battery life, durability and user-friendly aspects of the tablets with the NFL players.
"The old playbooks were as big as a family bible, and you had to carry them around, so these new ones are great," said Tony Bergstrom, an offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders, according to the Journal. "But it does get scary when you see 2 percent [battery life]."
Tablets used for team meetings
When NFL players are not on the field running practice drills or playing in an actual game, they spend countless hours in conference rooms going over team meetings. According to the Journal, while players might spend their entire day at the training or practice facility, only around two hours are used for on-the-field drills, but the rest is used for meetings. However, some of the problem is with keeping these tablets charged all day, Yahoo Sports reported.
At these meetings, everyone has a tablet and can go over plays and strategies. Some coaches are still having trouble adapting the new technology, which could change after the technology's initial year in the league.
"Coaches don't like the tablets; some of the older players don't, either," said Chris Borland, a rookie linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, the source reported. "They are creatures of habit. These are guys are used to using chalkboards."
Durability is essential
With the adoption of tablets in the NFL, it's likely other sports organizations could soon follow. More importantly, National College Athletic Association Football and even high school football could use tablets on the sidelines to improve play calling.
The worry is if the tablets will break if they are dropped or water is spilled on them.
"We needed to make sure this can withstand the rigors of the NFL.," said John Haley, manager of a development lab for Microsoft, the Times reported. "We tried to find a balance between weight, durability and utility."
So far, the tablets have worked without any major malfunctions, which could drive more schools and colleges to implement tablets. While these devices are great for the sidelines, schools should invest in personal insurance to make sure electronics are covered if they are ever broken on the sidelines, lost or stolen from a player.