By Carolyn Braff
Days before the NFL Draft, the New
York Jets signed the player that may make the biggest impact on the
team’s preparation this season – Agile Sports Technologies. A two-year-old
company based in Lincoln, Neb., Agile Sports has provided the Jets with
an online distribution platform that integrates video, playbook information
and scouting reports to streamline the Jets’ draft preparations and
give the team a jump on the upcoming season.
Huddle, Agile Sports’ online distribution
platform, enables coaches to review video, make remarks and distribute
comments to players in real time through an internet-based system that
can be accessed from anywhere. For draft purposes, the system effectively
unchained the coaches from their offices as the final hours ticked away
before the first pick.
“The Jets’ scouts and coaching
staff used Huddle to watch the draft film that they had either collected
from the colleges, the NFL combine or the players’ individual workouts,”
explains David Graff, chief executive officer for Agile Sports. “Instead
of spending extra hours at the office, they were able to take their
work home with them.”
“No longer are our area scouts at
the mercy of a static Beta machine or DVD player,” says Steve Scarnecchia,
video director and special projects coordinator for the Jets. “The
Huddle program allows them to study all of their player evaluation video
from anywhere there is an internet connection."
After signing this year’s draft class,
Huddle’s playbook tools are helping the rookies learn their roles
quickly. Players can watch video, listen to voice recordings and review
written comments from coaches, all without having to go through a stack
of DVDs or change applications on their laptop.
"The Huddle program allows us
to teach effectively over the web so that when the young guys arrive
for mini camp, they have a leg up in their preparation,” Scarnecchia
Graff, a former sports information
director at the University of Nebraska, developed Huddle along with
two other Nebraska graduates in the spring of 2006. Nebraska signed
on as a development partner for the 2007 season and after a successful
run with a Big 12 program, the Jets became Agile Sports’ first NFL
client in April.
“Coach Mangini is a very progressive
coach, so he was quick to latch on to the potential for Huddle,” Graff
says. “He saw where it could really benefit his team and provide a
competitive advantage for the Jets. They were quick to process it, get
all their players and coaches onto the system and start using it right
Graff pointed to the presentation layer
of the platform as one of the selling points for the Jets. Through Huddle,
coaches can easily tie together video, playbook images and PowerPoint
slides to create presentations for use in team meetings and for direct
distribution to players.
With video-sharing issues a rising
concern for professional football programs, Agile Sports took the necessary
precautions to ensure the highest level of security for its newest client.
“As soon as a player is cut or traded
to another team, their account can be immediately deactivated and any
information that was downloaded or stored on their computer’s hard
drive is erased by our program,” explains John Wirtz, Agile’s chief