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Patriots get in on the virtual reality action

The jokes will write themselves. But we’ll still perhaps write one or two of them.

The Patriots have joined the virtual reality craze. To the extent that four of 32 NFL teams constitutes a craze. (Now that the Patriots have embraced it, a true craze it soon will be.)

According to Shira Springer of the Boston Globe, the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick will be using the technologies of STRIVR Labs, which employs real video shot through a 360-degree camera to assist with training.

The Cowboys and 49ers previously joined forces with STRIVR Labs, and the Buccaneers will use the competing system from EON Sports VR, which uses video-game images.

During an appearance earlier this week on PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, STRIVR Labs founder Derek Belch said that the technology isn’t simply for quarterbacks, and that it’s being used by other positions, too. Belch also explained that different team will be using the technology differently.

For the Patriots, it could be used to hone the skills of quarterback Tom Brady, possibly with footballs of varying air pressure. (Joke No. 1.) Or it could be used to help running backs better anticipate hits to ensure ball security, since they’ll no longer be gripping underinflated balls. (Joke No. 2.)

With reduced reps in the offseason and training camp, the Patriots could embrace virtual reality at multiple positions, in order to give players more chances to process practice speed without being exposed to practice.

Or maybe they’ll simply be accused by the Boston Herald of secretly installing one of the virtual reality cameras on the helmet of an opposing team prior to the final walk-through practice of a prior Super Bowl only two days before another Super Bowl appearance. (Joke No. 3, aimed not directly at the Patriots in order to reduce some of the Twit-bitching that the first two will provoke.)

Regardless, the decision of one of the most accomplished franchises in sports to use this new technology means that other teams will soon be using it, too. And that other teams will find a way to complain to the league office about the way the Patriots are using the technology, because the Patriots inevitably will figure out a better way to use the technology than any other team can. (Joke No. 4, and now all is truly forgiven.)