NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, left, and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees take the stage to participate in a news conference on technology Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, in San Francisco. With the 50th Super Bowl days away, the NFL is looking toward the future and how technology can change the game on the field and how it’s viewed by fans over the next half-century. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
SAN FRANCISCO — Drew Brees has already seen advancing technology make his job on Sundays a lot easier.
And Brees believes the technology can get even better, both for players and fans alike.
Brees made his first public appearance of Super Bowl week on Tuesday by appearing on a panel with Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, NFL digital chief Brian Rolapp and a Microsoft representative to talk about the advance of technology in the game — The Advocate’s request for an interview with Brees afterward was denied — and there was one key thing on Brees’ wish list.
“I’m really excited about where the technology’s going with video on the sidelines,” Brees said. “It would really help with the preparation.”
Brees has gotten a chance to experiment with video on the sidelines in the Pro Bowl before.
During the 2015 Pro Bowl, Brees remembers watching a play where Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown ran a route over the middle behind the defender. Brees took it over to Brown, showed him the video and told him that if he crossed in front of the defender, Brees could find him for a big play.
Two series later, Brees and Brown hooked up for a big play on the same play call.
But Brees is already pleased with the advances the Microsoft Surface tablets allow on the sideline. When he first got into the NFL, he’d come off the sideline after a drive and get handed a sheath of stapled together photos of every play, making it hard to get through every look.
Now, he can get a closer look at what the defense is doing much faster.
“You just click on that first play, and up pop four images: a pre-snap photo, a post-snap photo and two other photos that might be half a second later, so you really see the development of a play, and what the defense did in coverage and all those things,” Brees said. “You can make adjustments, you take them right out on the field again, and you see all the angles, multiple angles.”
Part of the panel’s discussion topics centered around ideas submitted by fans for technological advances, and one in particular sounded good to Brees.
A fan wanted to put a camera in the helmets of each of the players, allowing fans to see what Brees sees as the pocket is crashing down around him.
“Football’s a whole different game if you’re on the sideline, and obviously, I have the best seat in the house,” Brees said. “The speed of the game, the collisions, the raw strength and power, all those things. … If you could ever put a fan in that position, it would open their eyes to a whole new realm of what professional football is.”