January 27, 2021 • Athletic AdministrationCoachingFootballTechnology

On the Cutting Edge: 7 Updates in Football Technology

Ever since Vince Lombardi instituted harsh regimens and demanded absolute dedication and efforts from his players during his first training camp as head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1959, coaches far and wide have been in search of a usable competitive edge. 

And whether it was Buddy Ryan’s famed ‘46’ defense of the Chicago Bears or the “Air Raid” offense patented by Mike Leach, or Mike Vrabel exploiting the NFL rule book to his advantage for the Tennessee Titans, that competitive edge has typically shown itself on the field, between the lines. But in 2021, simply having that competitive edge on the field isn’t enough — the clock for preparation of the next opponent begins shortly after the scoreboard reads all zeros from the current game. Coaches are expected to dissect film and conduct review sessions with players while also installing the current week’s gameplan. 

Photo: Doug Kapustin

Communication, now perhaps more than ever, comes at a premium, and the teams that can communicate effectively and correct mistakes during the week will likely be able to do the same come gameday. We at Coach & Athletic Director understand the importance of technology in alleviating pressure on coaching staff during the season and the need to stay up-to-date on the latest technology to maintain that competitive edge between games. 

X&O’s Apps

  • Catapult PlayerTek PlayerTek leverages Catapult’s knack to deliver high-quality athlete monitoring technology to teams of all levels and budgets. It provides insights into performance with a range of powerful features, including live snapshots, heart rate, and Catapult Vision integration. Improving the communication of insights across your organization, the PlayerTek mobile app brings data to your fingertips for instant sharing and feedback.

    technology“The ability to have all our data, information and planning tools in one platform will mean we can better understand and manage student-athlete health and wellness insights.” — Kenny Boyd, Baylor University senior associate director for student-athlete health & wellness 


  • GoRoutPreparation is everything and GoRout has elevated the scripting process making it more efficient for coaches at all levels to create scripts. Coaches can simply name a script, create periods, and import plays from any software or scan hand-drawn cards directly into each period. Instead of managing binders and holding scout cards, coaches can now send plays to players instantly from GoRout’s on-field practice app.

    “Our players look at their assignment, and now have time to focus on technique and skill instead of just worrying about memorizing what the scout card says.” — Tim Lester, Western Michigan University head football coach


    • SportScope Edge Replay With an updated 3-point network, Edge Replay creates WiFi access points on the sideline for coaches to access real-time replays while making corrections between downs. When it comes to software, using the SportsScope app, coaches can go into detail like never before — tagging plays by down, distance, and much more while toggling between the endzone and pressbox angles with the picture-in-picture feature. And with five-year costs ranging from $3,495 to $4,495, it is more cost-effective than its competitors.

      technology“EDGE Replay is extremely easy and efficient to set up – it’s true plug and play. It gives our coaches a fast-paced system to analyze the game and make corrections the players can see.” — A.C. Flora head coach Dustin Curtis, 2020 South Carolina 4A state champion


  • FirstDown PlaybookAs the official playbook of USA Football and Football Canada, FirstDown PlayBook features more than 35,000 plays that are updated three times every week. Create playbooks, wristband sheets, draw up plays, defenses, and schemes against multiple looks. Draw and edit plays to empower your team with the brand new PlayEngine — allowing coaches to integrate plays with video, load game prep materials for players, and keep your team and coaching staff organized. 

    “FirstDown PlayBook changes how coaches teach the game of football. No more drawing plays and cards. This tool enhances your player’s learning curve and does it in a fraction of the time.” — Mike Singletary, NFL Hall of Famer and former head coach


Teaching Aids

  • MVP SPRINT SPRINT is the newest mobile, remote-controlled, self-righting, padded training dummy from MVP Robotics. SPRINT was designed with high schools in mind, budget-friendly ($3,450), and enhanced performance on rougher grass fields. Those at MVP understand that 46% of all reported concussions occur during practice. And they acted on that knowledge as Dartmouth College football reported a 58% decrease in concussions after using the SPRINT dummy in their program. Allow players the opportunity to practice situations that were, until now, too risky to practice while prepping players to experience live, game-like scenarios.

    technology“It never gets tired and it runs at an appropriate football speed. In today’s NFL, with player safety the focus, I think it’s going to provide opportunities to improve without the hand to hand or man to man combat.” — Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach
  • Krausko’s The Colt The Colt is a hand-held shield with arms. Its steel frame with spring-loaded arms make it ideal for striking. The principal is simple: You always play against a man who is moving and has arms. Practice how you play! Coaches can incorporate realistic game movements with easy-to-control pad levels and arms for striking. Players automatically use hands and maintain spatial integrity and coaches can easily identify and correct hand placement and leverage. And it can be utilized on both sides of the ball, in the trenches, and along the sidelines.

    “When you used any other kind of shield, you never could really see if kids got their hands in the right spot. With the arms on the Colt, we knew right away if our hands were inside- when we’re doing single blocks or even on zone and we’re trying to rip through.” — Robert “Hubba” Hulendrung, offensive line coach

GSI Performance’s Dip + Rise Contact Shield Over the past seven years, GSI Performance, powered by Riddell – through the innovation of technical training aids for Rugby Union, Rugby League, and American Football – has changed the way players and coaches prepare and train the areas of ‘Tackle, Collision, and Contact’, with an emphasis on specific techniques. The Dip + Rise Contact Shield is part of the ‘Gray Tackle System’ and can be used in isolation or as part of the full tackle system. It’s been specifically designed to isolate the training effect and tackle movement patterns of the dip and rise form tackle. Training with this piece of equipment helps you achieve and maintain accurate track, body height, tackle entry, accurate contact, and wrap, reaction speed & balance.

“There is a need to find/create more innovative tackle-specific ways of preparing our players for the demands of the modern game. The Gray Tackle System has been developed to facilitate this and allows individual technique to be developed and maintained within the whole tackle area, resulting in this system became an integral part of our training and preparation.” — Wayne Diesal, Miami Dolphins director of sports performance