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Tracking Innovation with the NFL

Tracking Innovation with the NFL

Tracking Innovation with the NFL

The NFL season is on the horizon and while the players are tirelessly working at their respective training camps, Zebra Technologies also has been diligently working on a project of their own. This project is a tracking system that will allow fans to see a variety of stats about their favorite players. These statistics include speed, routing, distance traveled and separation.

USA Today recently reported that each player will don two small sensors that will be located underneath their shoulder pads. These sensors will track the players’ movements during an entire game.

As we mentioned before, Zebra Technologies is working on this tracking system and has implemented similar technologies in other industries. This system in particular will go live in 17 stadiums, which include Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, New England, New Orleans, Oakland, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington.

NFL Device

The installation of this technology at the 17 NFL stadiums will include receivers that are connected with cables to a hub and a server that will then record players’ locations in real time.

A great feature of this invention is that in less than one second, the data can be enhanced and used for presentation on TV. In the future, this tracking system can be used as part of second-screen experience or an app.

Could have, would have, should have… that’s usually what comes out of the mouths of those “couch coaches” that watch their favorite team each weekend from the comfort of their own home. This invention will eventually be able to know the exact closing distance of a defender and an offensive player to see whether or not a hit would have occurred or whether he really could have made the big play, thus, either egging on or silencing that “couch coach” in your life.

Not only is this invention useful for those at home, it also could potentially be used in games for coaches to gain an edge on their competitors. However, as of late, the NFL will not allow teams to use data that is gathered for competitive purposes.

In recent years, TV networks have experimented with route maps, among other visual enhancements, to track players’ movements. But, a league-wide use of the sensors and the data that they would collect could perhaps be the biggest piece of innovation since the yellow first-down line that we see on our television screens.

Additionally, this type of technology could potentially be used in order to track a player’s in-game heart rate and could be used in the ball to decide whether it has crossed the goal line.

The possibilities for this invention are endless and only time and big decisions made by those in powerful positions will determine how his innovative invention could be used in the future.

Copyright Inventionland 2014

Sources:

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/nfl-will-roll-out-new-player-tracking-system-for-real-time-on-field-stats-130425708.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2014/07/30/metrics-sensor-shoulder-pads-zebra-speed-tracking/13382443/

Images:

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http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2014/0731/nfl_device_d1_600x400.jpg