Growing Federal Hill Business Provides Playbook Software to NFL Coaches

| April 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

Andy Bischoff has been a lifer in the football coaching world – he started as a high school coach in St. Paul, MN and is now in his 6th year as an Assistant Tight Ends Coach with the Baltimore Ravens. Andy Bischoff’s career, which has taken him to Montreal and Chicago, now includes founding a company that designs software for football coaches. His shared concept with his wife Britt Bischoff turned into an unexpected business in their Federal Hill home.

In the past 10 years, football coaches began using Microsoft Visio architecture software to draw plays and store them on their computer. While coaches were using Visio, the software was not built to organize the plays so users could easily search, archive, and tag them with related plays, as well as keep notes for when each play was used in a game.

“Visio was never intended to be a football development tool yet every coach is using it in their own way,” said Andy Bischoff.

During the 2017 season, Britt Bischoff saw Andy Bischoff’s frustration using Visio and said “isn’t there a better way? Isn’t technology supposed to expedite workflows?”

Before they thought about starting a business, the Bischoffs hired software developer Troy Bigelow in Spring 2018 to make a Visio plug-in to improve Andy Bischoff’s workflow. Bigelow is based in Charlotte, NC and was a former IT director in the National Football League (NFL). The Bischoffs and Bigelow were linked up through a mutual contact.

“We lucked into finding a software developer who understood the workflow of football coaches,” said Britt Bischoff.

Through word of mouth and light marketing, other coaches took an interest in the plug-in the Bischoffs had created. They saw the potential and decided to trademark and copyright aspects of the plug-in and create a business structure. Their playbook development system, called Pro Quick Draw (PQD), was launched before the 2018 season.

Britt Bischoff is the majority owner and runs the day-to-day operations of PQD which includes customer relations, marketing, invoicing, service and support including the daily support chat for customers, and business management out of an office space in their home. Andy Bischoff uses PQD every day as part of his coaching role with the Ravens and gets the real-world experience and feedback to continue to make the plug-in better.

“Andy told me this [PQD] was going to be big,” said Britt Bischoff, who really realized the impact of the program at the American Football Coaches Association Annual Convention in January 2019. “We would demo it and jaws would drop. At that point I knew Andy was right and I knew we really had something here.”

PQD hired Atlanta-based Kevin Reddy, a former football coach, as its director of sales, and Bigelow, who is now the director of technology, is constantly taking feedback from coaches to update the software. PQD comes out with a new version every three months. “He [Bigelow] has never said no to a new idea,” said Britt Bischoff.

PQD has completely changed how plays are organized and archived. Andy Bischoff said a major flaw before PQD was users having to type in the name of the play exactly right while doing a search on Visio or it wouldn’t come up. Now, users can search based on key words and types of plays; plays are archived with other similar plays; users can organize plays based on the opponents a play was used against; and the system is now better synced up between devices which helps keep everyone on the same page and keeps a team’s playbook in unison with the constant changing of personnel on a coaching staff.

PQD works on Visio as well as Microsoft PowerPoint.

PQD allows users to easily print cards of plays and create images to be inserted into a coach’s game film.

“We’ve put in a structure to save coaches hours a week,” said Andy Bischoff. “We have taken out the manual work and let the technology take over.”

There are currently 18 NFL teams using PQD and more than 65 teams overall. This includes 50+ programs in the “Top 300” which is the NFL, FBS and FCS in college football. The Bischoffs are hoping to keep growing in the Top 300, as well as all levels of football, including the more than 16,000 high school football programs around the country. PQD currently has more than 15 high school football teams and growing.

Britt Bischoff noted PQD could grow into other sports, but with a growing presence & steady growth in mind, they are focusing on football first.

DVSport and XOS Digital are the top two providers of video services in the country serving the Top 300 and PQD is building a brand in close proximity to both. DVSport and PQD have a partnership that allows both to market and sell PQD collaboratively in a joint effort. Hudl is the leading video software for small college and high school sports, and Britt Bischoff says they have a friendly relationship.

While PQD has a presence throughout the country, they do see the potential to add to its footprint in South Baltimore where they could eventually have a bigger office and a bigger team.

“One coach at a time, one team at a time, we want to become a standard in the industry,” said Andy Bischoff.

Britt Bischoff said Baltimore, where their four-year-old son Jay was born, has been their family’s favorite stop along the way. “We’ve lived in some beautiful cities, but we love Baltimore because of the people. We’ve met more good friends in Baltimore than any other stop.”

Photos courtesy of Pro Quick Draw and the Bischoffs

Andy Bischoff and Britt Bischoff

Andy Bischoff, Britt Bischoff, and Jay Bischoff

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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