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CFL becomes first pro football league to use in-game sideline video

SkyCoach allows coaches instant access to replays from an all-new angle.

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The CFL has chosen SkyCoach to be the coaching staff’s sideline video provider. SkyCoach already has a big following in U.S. high school football programs, but this is the first professional football organization to use sideline video during games.

SkyCoach allows teams and coaches to watch instant replay on the sidelines and in the press box throughout the game. It consists of a camera and TV system that monitor games and practices so they can be reviewed. The TV connects to a tablet or smart phone so coaches can select what they want to have reviewed and control what is seen. Then it is viewed on a TV or directly on a tablet.

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“We continuously evaluate new technologies and methods to improve our game,” Glen Johnson, SVP of football at the CFL, said in a statement. “Our Competition Committee was convinced that being able to view game video via tablets on the sideline would improve the product on the field. The SkyCoach solution gave us the opportunity to prove them right in a very timely and cost-effective way.”

Plays can be easily tagged. For example, they may be tagged with what type of play it was or if a team was on offense. The tagging lets the plays be found and sorted in a quick and organized way. When reviewing the footage, coaches can draw on the screen and can also easily reverse or fast-forward the play. Coaches no longer have to draw out plays on white boards or wait till the next day to review the game; instead they can watch the replays right away and identify strengths and weaknesses. Another plus is that the teams can use the SkyCoach system on the road as well as at home. So far the program has received high praise from the coaches that use it.

Currently the NFL is only using instant sideline replay in some exhibition games this season. The NCAA also doesn’t have sideline replay—they have tabled in-game video discussions until next season.