Arizona Cardinals Coach Kliff Kingsbury said in a meeting on Tuesday that he will allow his players to take cellphone breaks during team meetings.
The coach told reporters at the NFL Annual League Meeting that he will let players take the breaks every 20 or 30 minutes, adding that is about how long it takes for players to lose interest in what’s going on in a meeting, ESPN reported.
“They’re itching to get to those things,” Kingsbury said of players wanting to check their social media accounts.
“You start to see kind of hands twitching and legs shaking, and you know they need to get that social media fix, so we’ll let them hop over there and then get back in the meeting and refocus,” Kingsbury said.
ESPN reported that Kingsbury did something similar when he coached the Red Riders at Texas Tech. He witnessed firsthand the short attention span of young football players, and decided to give them a break to check social media so they could return to the meetings with a fresh focus. The coach pointed out that the average age of an NFL player is 25, which is not much older than the college players he coached, suggesting that perhaps the older players feel the need to check social media as often as the younger players do.
Kingsbury, 39, said the idea of the breaks was to maximize players’ focus and their time, adding that he was willing to do what he could to help them stay on point.
“So if we’ve got to split it up or have shorter meetings, that’s what we do,” he said.
Kliff Kingsbury allowing phone breaks at Cardinals team meetings so players can "get that social media fix." https://t.co/TNtiJObbUA— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 27, 2019
This is not the first time an NFL coach has decided to give players a cellphone break. In 2015, San Francisco 49ers Coach Jim Tomsula did something similar to help his team stay focused throughout longer meetings, Fox News reported. Tomsula said he learned from experts that the average attention span was about 27 minutes, so the idea of asking players to sit in a two-hour-long meeting without a break seemed somewhat excessive. Kingsbury seems to agree with Tomsula on that point.
Kingsbury joined the coaching staff for the University of Houston in 2008. In 2012, he became offensive coordinator for the Texas A&M Aggies. In 2013, he made his head coaching debut for the Texas Tech Red Riders. He stayed with the team until 2103, when he was fired after losing three consecutive seasons. This year will be Kingsbury’s first coaching in the NFL.