Since the 1900s, a mere glimpse of the NFL game has glued millions of people to their TV screens. According to Statista, the Super Bowl game between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals got 99.2 million views.
For true NFL enthusiasts, the game is more than just a pastime. They have witnessed a significant technological revolution in this decade. In today’s blog, we will dive deeper into the NFL world and discover how technology integration has improved game quality. For example, technology has taken the world of NFL player props to new heights, thanks to the specific data and metrics that couldn’t be obtained before. The data analysts identify the trends, performances, and records of individual players to create props.
Role Of Technology In The NFL
The score is tied 2-2 with one minute left in the game. The coach has a brilliant strategy, but how will he communicate it?
Hand gestures, microphones, and radios are the stories of the past. Now coaches use elaborate headsets to communicate with their quarterbacks. This way, the other team can’t hear a thing, and the team with the best strategy wins.
The use of augmented and virtual reality has skyrocketed the fan experience. This allows people to have a closer look at hidden details and rules of play. Besides, AR has significantly enhanced the in-person experience for Miami Dolphins fans at Hard Rock Stadium. People can now rewind the play or stream different angles using the OnePass app.
In 2019, Nexus Studio made it possible for the audience to experience realistic 36-foot holograms of their favorite players. Moreover, VR technology contributes to providing multiple perspectives to the referees. This helps them make the right call.
Earlier, soft or hard leather helmets with internal padding were used to protect against head injuries. Currently, there is a significant emphasis on reducing concussions and their long-term effects.
Thanks to companies like Riddell and Schutt, which manufacture custom-fit helmets using 3D scanning technology. That’s not it. Their helmets are equipped with a five-zone sensor pad, which measures the severity of the hit.
Riddell and Schutt are the most popular NFL helmets, and 90% of helmets used in the NFL are manufactured by them.
NFL players’ uniforms now have RFID tags that capture their every movement, including location and distance traveled. The tracking system uses 30 ultra-wideband receivers to give data about rotation, player speed, passing rates, pass completion rates, rushing attempt yards, and much more.
Additionally, the NFL has collaborated with Wilson, their official ball supplier, to put a 4-gram RFID chip in the ball. This ensures that its integrity, shape, and movements stay the same. At the same time, broadcasters use this data to create interactive infographics or compare the players’ performances.
To provide a seamless and sharp broadcast to their viewers, the NFL went HD in 2008. In 2014, the NFL signed a deal with ESPN for 3D broadcasts. Every week, Fox Sports uses a single 4K HD camera to help with slow-motion instant replay. The broadcast has gotten so good that the NFL is afraid that people will no longer want to come to the stadium.
Formerly, in between each series, coaches would receive faxed black-and-white bird’s-eye view photos of offensive and defensive formations to study on the sidelines. However, now the surface tablets and the sideline viewing system provide high-resolution still images to the coaches, so they can conveniently zoom in while instructing the players.
Catapult is a leading company that produces wearable devices with GPS and LPS technology. This device is installed in players’ vests and shoulder pads to optimize player performance. It gives real-time statistics like heartbeat, training load, and distance covered.
This helps coaches and players understand the demands of the game and keep track of the player’s workload.
Besides, machine learning algorithms are utilized to predict a player’s performance, taking into account their history, injuries, strengths, and weaknesses. Then sportsbooks create user-friendly interfaces where they can place bets on player props.
Several other technologies, including cloud computing, data visualization, and cybersecurity, are employed to support NFL player props.
Instant replays have changed the landscape of the game. Ask your grandfather how frustrating it used to be back in the days when replay technology was not available.
“Replay gives us a better chance to walk off the field error-free.” – ART MCNALLY
Today, the NFL uses Hawk Eye’s SMART system, which allows officials to simultaneously analyze multiple camera angles throughout the game. This immensely helps them during instant replay to choose the best option to rule on the play under review.
With every passing year, the NFL aims to extend its potential beyond coaching, training, and evaluation using technological advancements. They are committed to providing their audience with an ultimate experience like never before.
Hence, whether it is 1920 or 2120, the NFL will always be loved by every generation. Happy watching!