Data Sensors Being Used in the NFL to Track Player Performance

The NFL is currently thriving and the owners and management of all teams spend countless amounts of time and energy using all available information to evaluate prospects. The most recent winning Superbowl quarterback, Joe Flacco, received a $120 million contract. There is serious money being spent in the NFL and technology can and will be used to create data to aid in all decision making processes. 

The Philadelphia Eagles have recently hired a “Sports Science Coordinator” to track, analyze, and interpret data created in order to maximize player performance. The devices worn by Eagles players contain a GPS, magnetometer, accelerometer, and gyroscope; all used to create data to track and improve a players ability. The transition to data-driven decisions in the National Football League has begun.

Similar types of technology will place sensors in everything: helmets, shoes, gloves, the football and the actual field itself. The possibilities are endless. Each item that sensors are placed in offers its own unique advantages and can be used to determine the overall speed, strength, and other qualities of the NFL’s athletes. For helmets, evaluating head collision data can be useful for player safety purposes. Footballs with sensors in them can offer insights into things such as ball velocity, grip strength, effect from weather conditions, and others; all which can be used to create data on quarterbacks and use that information to make more informed decisions. All of this technology should be welcomed by the NFL and its owners. The use of this technology could also be used to all but eliminate the use and (adverse) impact of the league's referees.

The creation of this type of data will allow decision makers to make much more informed decisions compared to current day evaluations where these same decision makers have to rely on “the eye test." Vague measurement techniques such as the 40-yard dash and the vertical jump are not good determining factors of future success. The most valuable aspect of this data stems from the fact that one must be able to be creative in looking for the right things in the data sets, allowing the best and brightest to succeed in the modern day football economy.

Nike, the ball is in your court. Being in a contract with the NFL, you have exclusive apparel rights for the time being. If you are truly as innovative as you say you are, this is the next step.

Article written by Tyler Yearian for icrunchdata news Chicago, IL

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