The Death Of The Traditional NFL Playbook

Technology makes life easier.  Those that embrace it, swear by it, those that scoff at are left behind.  The National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers have abandoned the traditional phone book thick playbooks, and have gone digital.  Right now the Bucs are the only team doing this, but in a few years this will be the norm.

This idea was hatched by Tampa Bay head coach, Raheem Morris.  Morris, who’ll turn 35 Sept 3rd,  is the the youngest head coach in the NFL, and it figures that the youngest coach in the NFL would take this idea and run with it.  The football coaching fraternity traditionally has a set in their ways old school mentality.

Each Tampa Bay player was issued an iPad that contained their playbook, as well as video clips of their games, their practices, and situational video from the other teams.  It’s not only a good way to learn the playbook, it’s a great scouting tool.

I had the opportunity to talk to the CEO and Founder of Leadbolt, Dale Carr.  Dale is an Australian tech and advertising expert that can give some unique insight to this potential trend.

 We Got This Covered – How long do you think it will take for other teams to catch on to the trend and go away from the paper playbooks?

Dale Carr – The iPad as a replacement paper playbooks is a brilliant idea. The incredible features it offers can be exceptionally useful for players and give teams a huge advantage.   I think once this has been proven through better, more strategic game play, other teams will rush to embrace the iPad as a replacement. The only challenge that needs to be overcome is ensuring the iPad does not get damaged by the roughness of the players and the environment in which it must operate. Blood, sweat, tears, being dropped on the floor and being punted around the field are activities the iPad is yet to prove its robustness for.

WGTC – Do you think luxury brands will partner up with NFL teams to offer exclusive aps for the players on their iPad playboks?  If so what type of content/brands do you think would be appealing?

Dale Carr – Absolutely. Being in front of the players with every swipe of the iPad gives luxury brands a captive audience to educate, associate and sell to at a time when they are very receptive. Subconsciously exposing players to the luxury brand too may have a very positivity effect. Any brands that players may associate their lifestyles with will be appealing including automobile manufacturers, finance companies, sports, style and clothing companies.

WGTC – Could the players and coaches link up via the iPad to discuss game film while watching it on the iPad?

Dale Carr – The iPad has a vast degree of functionality and with apps, the feature set is unlimited. Many apps already exist to do almost anything that is required and if not an app could be created to fullfil any need. Players and coaches could easily link up using the likes of Skype on their iPad without any specialised new app being developed.


I also wondered if it would be possible for a coach to track the amount of time a player was spending with his playbook open, or studying film, and Dale said that would definitely be possible.

Much like the way the Moneyball type number crunching has revolutionized Major League Baseball, I think the ability to have so much info and easy access to clips will be a boon to the NFL.

Thanks to Dale for for taking some time to share his thoughts with our readers.

About the author


Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.

Lester has been a writer and now an editor of Windy City Gridiron since 2009 covering all things Chicago Bears. He's been writing about sports, and occasionally crossing into the entertainment genre, on We Got This Covered since March of 2011.