NFL will allow 'Sideline Viewing System' on electronic tablets

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Teams will be able to trade out the black-and-white printout photos of pre-snap formations for color, HD images on tablets.

Viewing still photographs of football formations on an NFL sideline? Turns out there's an app for that.

The league has revealed the details of a new "Sideline Viewing System" that will allow teams to use electronic tablets instead of black-and-white photographs of pre-snap and post-snap formations during games, according to Pro Football Talk.

The tablets will provide high-definition color images over a secure wireless network and will allow coaches and players to draw on the images and take notes. The tablets will be allowed into locker rooms during halftime, but they won't be connected to the network during that time.

NFL rules previously outlawed this kind of technology from the sidelines, meaning teams had to rely on paper printouts. Runners would throw them into a binder and physically carry them down to the sidelines.

The explanation comes in response to a Tuesday morning report from JoeBucsFan.com that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be using tablets instead of paper printouts on the sideline this season.

The change isn't mandatory; teams get the option of using the new technology or sticking with the printouts.

For now, it seems viewing photos is the only thing the tablets can be used for. But it's not hard to imagine a day when play-calling, video replays and injury reports are computerized.

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