Nowadays, it is more and more common to see the technology involved in sports. In fact, most of them now use technology to track, analyze and improve the overall performance of players as well as keep the fans more entertained. There is the videoreferee and the goal-line technology in soccer, the Hawkeye in tennis and even horse racing is considering implementing artificial intelligence devices. To sum up, it helps referees to make better decisions and it can help to track the physical condition of players – and horses, in case of equestrian sports.
Every sport is nothing without its fans, so the technology in some cases is designed to maintain people’s interest in it, providing them with interesting information about the game as well as advanced statistics.
Today’s technology also helps players to improve with all the trackers, motion detectors and simulators, so they can focus on improving weaker skills and refine their talent.
In this article, we will cover some of the technology that is used in one particular sport, popular in the USA, mostly: NFL. With the new football term coming only in September, it’s time to look at how these gadgets can improve the 100th NFL season.
Data analytics on the Field
Performance of the players has been the focus in the developing of this technology. NFL experts started using it in their advantage, in order to train the athletes to become better than the competition. In recent years, teams have been using RFID sensors from Zebra Technologies attached to players shoulder pads.
These sensors gather data and they are the DNA of the game. You can practically plug them into the computer and see the whole game through statistical numbers. The sensors can track player movement and impact, something that will become very useful in order to progress through the league. They can also track how fast players run, acceleration as well as how hard they hit.
Providing such a large amount of information will be useless if no in-game decision is made. That is why America’s line NFL coaches have tablets that can help them analyze the players and the game and perfect their strategy on the field.
This data analysis is also used on training for improving the players and making them focus and work on their weaknesses.
NFL Brings IT to the Fans
The technology at the NFL stadiums is also amazing. As we mentioned, this will build people’s interest in the game as well as keep them entertained. For example, San Francisco 49ers is considered to be one of the most high-tech advanced stadium in the world. It features 400 miles of fiber optic cable as well as 1,300 Wi-Fi access points.
Fans can now order food from their seats, as well as monitor how long are the lines for the restrooms. Combined with their own app, fans now can enjoy the game even better, more comfortably and see all the statistics written on their mobile phones.
The huge monitors also provide excitement and better experience to NFL fans, especially those who are not in the best seats to see the action.
Technology Helps to Have a Fair Game
As in any sport, the referees have a difficult job of spotting that moment and making their decision. Often teams claim that the decision is not right, blaming the referees. However, with the use of technology, all that is a thing of the past. Now NFL referees with the Microsoft Surface tablets can have instant replay. This enables them to rewind the moment and see it from different angles as well as zoom in. This will result in a more clearer decision.
Also, every NFL game is assisted from the Art McNally Game Day central room, in NFL headquarters. The officials in the headquarters watch every game from a different angle so they can help the referees on the field. It won’t solve everything and, just like the videoreferee in soccer. In the widely popular worldwide sport FIFA has implemented already goal-line technology and videoreferee’s that help to decide about dubious fouls and penalty calls.
It was also implemented in several soccer leagues among the world, such as Spain, France, Portugal, Brazil, Netherlands, Germany and much more. Curiously, it hasn’t been implemented in England, home of the most popular soccer league in the world, but it is coming next season.
Motion capturing cameras are also available in soccer that can provide players heat-map and other interesting details. It all seems like the NFL does not like the idea of infusing the sport with so much technology that could mess up the game, but we will see how the technology will evolve in NFL for the next couple of years.
We know it’s only a mere help that will reduce slightly the controversy – since the endless debates about refereeing decisions will continue among our peers. Nonetheless, technology can indeed improve the game and after VAR reviews been considered widely positive in soccer, the NFL should follow the same path.
Author: Mario Petkovski