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Bucs to use virtual-reality simulator

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will start using a virtual-reality simulator to supplement the on-field practice for their players, including quarterback Jameis Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.

The team announced Monday that they have a deal to use the SIDEKIQ simulator football software developed by EON Sports VR, a Kansas City-based company, as a supplement for quarterbacks when the team reports back for training camp beginning Aug. 1.

Additionally, the Buccaneers plan to become the first NFL team to introduce virtual reality at the youth football level by incorporating instructional sessions featuring the technology at the Cannonfire QB Clinic planned for July 25 at Skyway Park in Tampa, Fla.

“We are excited to be coming in on the front end of this new wave of technology that is designed to supplement the on-field and classroom work that our quarterbacks are already doing,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. “Obviously, there is no real substitute for being on the field when it comes to getting our players ready for game action. However, this virtual reality technology allows us to enhance the learning experience for our quarterbacks without requiring them to put in additional time on the practice fields.”

As the use of virtual reality technology continues to grow among college and professional sports teams, the SIDEKIQ simulator is the first computer modeling product that allows the user to input a playbook and an opposing team’s playbook into the software, according to the Bucs.

The SIDEKIQ is a portable headset that simulates game conditions and allows the user to custom tailor a virtual game scenario from the same perspective they would see on the field during an actual game or practice session.

The Dallas Cowboys became the first NFL team this offseason to use virtual reality — investing in a system that allows players with headset to get a 3-D look at live action from practice. The Cowboys use a competing product from STRIVR labs.


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