While technology is helpless when it comes to measuring our innate passion for the game, it seems to be pretty powerful in all the other areas. True, watching the game and supporting your team among thousands of like-minded supporters (and the ones feeling otherwise) is what it’s all about.
However, it can’t be denied technology has permeated almost everything that has to do with the game, and once again, it’s leaving us absolutely speechless.
So many loyal fans struggle to rightfully claim their ticket for the finals, yet they are oftentimes left empty-handed due to those who only buy tickets in order to sell them later at inflated prices. How can this be ended once and for all?
Well, with the latest biometric verification. We’re talking fingerprints, and sometimes even facial recognition. Mobile-first ticketing strategy has really taken off, and it is assumed that biometric verification is also going to be used for checking identities when purchasing alcohol in all venues soon enough.
Ever since Zebra Technologies added RFID (radio frequency identification) chips into the player’s shoulder pads, they have inspired a global craze. It gives data on the player’s position, speed and the distance covered.
Basically, it’s tracking the NFL player’s movements (25 times per second) and relaying back information about their performance. Having been installed in all 32 stadium venues, the technology was originally designed for the fans but has since been used to assist teams in scouting (evaluating potential college prospects) as well as to appraise the players themselves for the benefit of the team.
Surely, nowadays, it’s common for a football stadium to have its own wireless. Nevertheless, not everybody can hold a candle to Levi’s Stadium. For instance, you can order food without leaving your seat, or even check if it would be worth getting up and having to wait in line for the restroom. But if that seems impressive, then what can be said about the next one, which has 3,600 wireless access points?
The chosen one, among the many incredible Super Bowl locations, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, is the proud host of this year’s Super Bowl. Its so-called halo board is one magnificent piece of design. It’s made of 600 pieces and has over 37 million LEDs, and the 360-degree circular screen further helps in making you feel even more engrossed (if possible) in the game.
Other NFL stadiums are expected to follow suit and further invest in wireless connections, mobile applications for contact with the fans and booking parking spaces before the big game, as well as these larger than life screens. The challenge ahead for the NFL entertainment business is keeping up with all the technological advancements in 2019 and beyond.
VR for real results
Finally, coaches have come to realize what so many VR game players have understood ages ago – the virtual reality experience is almost as good as the real thing. Therefore, instead of whiteboard drawings, they will simply give their quarterbacks a VR headset and guide them through the game.
This is also extremely useful for analyzing older games. The Patriots, Vikings, 49ers, and Eagles were the pioneers in VR training a couple of years ago, but other teams have recognized their progress and are searching for the best VR deals to gain an advantage.
Alexa’s teaching app
Amazon and the NFL have partnered up in order to create a standalone voice-enabled application which is meant for supporters’ education. It’s called “A Rookie’s Guide to NFL”, and it is expected to answer a whole myriad of questions. From the most trivial ones about a player’s height or his college campus to discerning the differences among strategies or explaining broadcast jargon such as “screen pass”, “pistol”, or “nickel”.
The aim of the creators was to encourage the fans to access any information they want while watching the game. In a nutshell, it’s a kind of a specialized NFL Google.
Crash proof helmets
Fortunately, the latest tech advances aren’t meant just for entertainment, but for saving lives, too. Surely, all the data collected from RFID pads can be used to analyze a player’s shape and stamina, and even indicate if something is wrong. And another effort which is worth noting is the one invested in creating a helmet with Crash Cloud technology.
After his son survived a bad car accident without any consequences thanks to his baby car seat, the renowned ex NFL player Shawn Springs dedicated himself to improving the football helmet. Moreover, the endeavor and results are greatly admired and supported via different grants. The NFL is investing in making the game safer and this year we may hope to see new, technologically improved helmets which will save many a life.
The latest NFL technological breakthroughs are bound to make the experience for all involved, players and fans alike, that much more engrossing. With continual advances, and irrespective of their purpose (amusement, game improvements, safety), it seems that we can hardly blink before a tech idea turns into NFL practice.
This guest article has been provided by Richard Taylor Johnson as a column for TechAcute. This article reflects the author’s views and is built on his opinion and experiences. It is not necessarily the view of the editorial office.
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Photo credit: The feature image “NFL logo on grass” has been done by hence the boom. The image “NFL referee” and “Washington Redskins” has been done by Keith Allison. The image “Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis Colts” has been done by Josh Hallett.