Big Improvements Coming For NFL Sideline Communication

The National Football League which is in its 96th year, is set to carry out a completely new way for the coaches and players to communicate during the games. The new system has been tested for over a year and provided that the system works as it has been designed to there will be no more excuses of malfunctioning headsets. Gone will be the chance for anyone to overhear the opposing teams and no longer will there be equipment managers rushing round plugging in wires. The new system will enable the coaches to speak directly to the players from the press box and there will be no loss of communication anywhere on the pitch.


As part of the “Side-Line” project of the future the NFL are also ready to make technological updates with a voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) that it has developed over the past four years with the assistance of two vendors. In other words, the league will own its own private encrypted communication system and it will be operated on an exclusive frequency that it has obtained from the Federal Communications Commission, and there will be no interference as no other product can share this frequency.

When McKenna-Doyle was employed in 2012, she made it her mission to drag the NFL from their technological stone age existence.  She began by ordering her office to oversee the move to Microsoft Surface side line tablets, whilst also implementing side line video replays in order for concussion risks to be reviewed. McKenna-Doyle will also be expected to manage the distribution of RFID data from game day to all of the teams as well as expanded the use of tablets in game day videos.

The NFL were quite aware that their system of using common frequencies on their radios was antiquated, and the recent incident that saw Mike Tomlin the head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers lashing out angrily after he was subjected to a good part of the 2015 game listening to the play by play man from the New England Patriots’ in his headset.

McKenna-Doyle confirmed that the majority of the problems were due to coordinated frequencies changing during the games but the new totally dedicated frequencies should mean uninterrupted transmissions, with any problems with power minimized by an optimization project that will configure all technology to suit the stadium as opposed to the preferences of the individual teams. There will be different computer hardware used, the coaches will still be able to use of the wireless Bose headsets but they will now wear an additional two devices, one will be an intercom and the other a receiver.

The system should mean no more issues that coaches had voiced during the development phase. Prior to this coaches in the press box had to relay messages to the field via a coach on the side line because of a signal delay. However, now they will simply speak through a high speed internet connection which allows coordinators who call the plays to communicate directly with the quarterback. This is also true of the defensive coordinators and their assigned signal caller on the field.

Additionally, coaches will be able to abide by the NFL rule which requires there to be no coach player interaction when the clock reaches 15 seconds as they will now hear two warnings. Even last season many coaches continued to talk through the cut off period and grew increasingly frustrated when their full instructions were not carried out on the field as the players had not heard them.

This internet structure also allows for additions to be added to complement the side line technology, one such thing that has been talked about is a digital play sheet that would be in the wrist of a quarterback and would be based on signals that have been sent by the coach.