CNET is reporting that the NFL is considering replacing bulky coach's play books with iPads. For now, the Dallas Cowboys and "a couple" other teams are mulling over the switch, which could save them "...up to 5,000 pages of paper printouts per game."
Besides the cost (and environmental) benefits of eliminating all that paper, a networked iPad would give coaches and players access to data in a whole new way. Imagine scrolling through clearly-presented plays, some complete with animation. Or real-time communication with coordinators in the booth. Plus, all of those photos of the field that are printed on the sideline could be pushed to an iPad seconds after the play was complete, in full color. Heck, push video.
Also, a lost iPad could be remotely wiped. The same can't be said for a lost play book.
Another added benefit: they'll just look cool with a big logo Gelaskin on the back.
Of course, it's not as easy as relieving coaches of their binders and handing over tablets. As the Dallas Cowboys head of technology Peter Walsh explains, security is a top concern. Teams must be certain that networks and the iPads are secure, and that their intellectual property is protected (you listening, Bill?).
It's an interesting idea, and one that I've been harping on for a year now. Perhaps next season we'll see some next-generation iPads on the sidelines. Just keep them away from the celebratory champagne.