Technology—it’s everywhere we turn; and the NFL is no exception. Most fans probably don’t realize some of the technology that goes on behind the scenes.
Tracking Players’ Movements:
A handful of companies will be installing specialized cameras in select NFL stadiums to optically track each play of the game.
Servers would be waiting to receive the data and the information would be processed in real-time, capturing 30 frames of action per second.
If Player A throws a 50-yard touch-down pass to Player B, 3-D graphics would clearly indicate the play, including the position of each player when the throw took place.
Additionally, the exact amount of time players spend on the field can be determined, players’ running speeds can be minutely calculated, and even determining whether the ball crossed the goal line can be clarified.
The possibilities for usage are many.
The NFL is considering the possibility of using embedded chips in the teams’ footballs as a novel way to track every play, or help determine where players might step out of bounds and even signal when the ball might break the goal line.
Referees often require the aid of instant replay to decide where the ball is amid a pile of very large men.
The chipped method would involve running a thin electrical cable underneath the goal line and in the goal’s frame, which would generate a magnetic field.
The sensor in the ball would detect when even the smallest area of the ball has passed the line.
Instead of wiring the entire field, certain stations would be placed along the sidelines to pick up the signal beamed by the football’s embedded chip.
Additionally, a gyroscope in the center of the ball would be able to transmit detailed data of the ball’s direction and location in 3-D, in real-time.
And as if that’s not impressive enough, the chip would add only a ½ ounce to the ball’s weight,
would last 30 minutes and be rechargeable using inductive charging—meaning it would be wireless and passively absorb energy from an available electro-magnetic field.
NFL Draft Technology:
Preparing for the draft is complicated and filled with copious amounts of paperwork!
A software company is unveiling its new NFL Scouting Application; and the 49’ers will be the first team to use it.
Scouts will be using an iPad which will take the place or archaic binders and notepads.
Scouts will enter profuse amounts of information with instantaneous access, of course, and can compare notes with other scouts, making the sharing of information far easier and exceedingly more efficient.
Air-Conditioned Shoulder Pads:
Since 2001, 18 young men have died on the field; and researchers have taken a stand.
Scientists at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine have developed shoulder pads to cool and help regulate players’ body temperatures after exertion.
The pads do not add weight to the uniform and use less foam padding so cool air can be transported through available grooves which permit temperature-regulating relief to the players’ neck and shoulders.
As the air is run through the grooves, it is exchanged about 500 times a minute while players are ‘hooked up’ to the cooling system during time off the field.
NFL safety, efficiency and accuracy—all enhanced by sports technologies!
I guess one could say we have made a little progress since the days of table top football as seen on www.actionmatfootball.com.
As a retired teacher from Iowa, Karen enjoys using her time to write on various subjects from real estate to football board games.