DALLAS TX - FEBRUARY 04: Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers poses for photos during a press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 4 2011 in Dallas Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
Call it old-fashioned, but it doesn't appear the Steelers are willing to ditch the paper playbook in favor of tablet technology.
NFL.com reporter Jeff Darlington wrote an interesting feature on the storage of teams' playbooks on team-issued iPads in 2012, noting in a sidebar the Steelers said, "iPads won't be distributed, but video and IT departments will make technology optional for use on personal tablets."
This is in contrast to a few teams, like the Denver Broncos, who are digitizing their entire playbook, and making it, as well as any and all film study, available for their players on the team-issued tablets.
The purchase and issuance of tablets is at the expense of the team, and it would make sense to simply have the film and playbook, as well as any other studying and reading material, available in the latest form of technology without having to spend the estimated $64,870 ($499 x 130 players on the training camp roster and coaches) plus tax on equipment.
Instead, if Ben Roethlisberger wants to drop $500 on an iPad and he finds it easier to study film that way, he can.
Darlington also notes the implementation of the same security and private use mandates every one of us working in a cubicle jungle gets to deal with each day. The downloading of any explicit material is assumed to be a violation of a rule that, Darlington reports, could result in a fine of $10,000.
That in and of itself seems to make the $500 investment worthwhile. If you're into that sort of thing.
It goes deeper than that, writes Darlington. Earlier this year, Broncos LB D.J. Williams snapped a screenshot of the Broncos playbook on his iPad, and told his Twitter followers he was learning a new position. While that seems to be one of the least thought out decisions Williams could have made at the time, he's also facing a six-game suspension from the league for at least one positive drug test, so perhaps he's not the model spokesman for the push for technology.
The fact this technology, and the responsibilities that go with it, are now available simply shows the direction in which the game is advancing. The media covering it already has moved to this level. Doesn't seem long ago I wrote something that was actually converted to ink, and was printed on actual paper.