iPad Makes NFL Team Efficient –Cagle
OK, time to add the National Football League’s Denver Broncos to our industry’s naughty list of businesses that have forsaken printing in favor of digital technologies. Hey, we’re perfectly fine with newbies such as smart phones and tablets. You won’t find a jealous or insecure bone in our offset presses. There’s plenty of pie to go around. But, to just absolutely kick printing to the curb...as Francis Soyer of “Stripes” fame is fond of saying, “You just made the list, buddy!”
In the grand scheme of things, the Broncos’ decision to 86 their traditional 500-page playbooks for the 2012 season in favor of iPads is more symbolic than impacting. The assumption is that the Broncos probably printed their playbooks in-house, or took it to a local copy shop. The 60,000 pages per week that were produced for 120 players, coaches and other team personnel are hardly worth lamenting; no one is closing a facility because their shop lost the Broncos account.
It is interesting to note the decision, which follows in the footsteps of the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchises, also now paperless. According to the Denver Post, the team splurged for 120 iPads with Verizon Wireless 4G access—making it an $80K-$90K investment (imagine walking into your local Best Buy and asking for 120 iPads).
The beauty of digital playbooks, of course, is the ability to change plays at the drop of a hat. If Broncos Coach John Fox wants to add the Houston Veer to his arsenal, the update will be sent automatically to a playbook app on the iPad, which is lighter to lug home than heavy reams of paper. But since linemen, on average, weigh in excess of 300 pounds, it’s safe to say a heavy book bag won’t tax their bodies.
The NFL is still heavily militant about not allowing digital devices on the field during games, but they may now be used in the locker rooms until kickoff. Previously, electronic gizmos were removed from locker rooms 90 minutes prior to starting time.
The Broncos turned to PlayerLync, a Colorado-based firm, for its digital playbook. The app allows users to write notes and highlight plays using the tablet’s touchscreen, according to the newspaper. The playbooks are saved on remote servers for future use, if needed. In the past, paper playbooks were trashed the following week. And, the ability to push out new plays means no more late-night gatherings because the coach wants to add a hook-and-lateral play.
Naturally, having a completely digital playbook leaves the Broncos, Buccaneers and Ravens open to opposition or casual hackers. But there are safety parameters in place; should an iPad be lost or stolen, the device can be remotely wiped clear. Also, in the event of a disabled network connection, a “time bomb” feature in the PlayerLync app deletes the playbook at a predetermined time.
Of course, most Bronco fans will thank new quarterback Peyton Manning, and not the iPad, should their team reach the Super Bowl. Truth be known, ditching former QB Tim Tebow will prove more instrumental than getting rid of paper playbooks.
Not to worry, printing fans. The first time Denver loses a tough battle on the game’s final play, 120 iPads will be smashed in unison.
FATALITY FALLOUT: The U.K. firm Wyndham Peterborough has been fined £112,500 ($181,500) for safety breaches in the 2008 death of Ian Ebbs, 34, who was working on the paddle wheel assembly of a press when it moved and landed on his chest, killing him.
The printing company, known as St Ives Peterborough at the time of the incident, was also ordered to pay $129,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, leading to the death of the maintenance engineer, the Spalding Guardian reported. The presiding judge, Nic Madge, reportedly took into account two other incidents—“near misses”—involving the same piece of equipment. Madge also agreed with the Health and Safety Executive’s case that a permanent solution to either fix or catalog the faults had not been pursued by the printer.
Ebbs left behind a wife and two children.
WHAT, ME DIGITAL?: OK, we don’t want to end on such a down note. Alfred E. Neuman and the gang at MAD magazine can now be lurking in your digital tablet, courtesy of a new, free, iPad app available through the iTunes store. The app includes versions of current issues, the popular “fold-in” pages and a catalog of back issues.
Digital issues cost $4.99 and back issues are $1.99. People who subscribe to the print edition receive the digital edition free of charge. But, if you only buy the digital edition, they won’t send you a hard copy of the magazine, as well. No doubt cheeky Alfred would be quick to point that out. PI