Posted by: mobilitycloud | December 17, 2011

How the NFL Plans to Go High Tech

The NFL, NBA and MLB are considering ways to implement wireless technologies into their respective games including providing devices and tablets to coaches, players and even the referees to use during play. As a season ticket holder, the Miami Dolphins provide me Fan-Vision, which allows me to listen and view the game real-time plus all other NFL games including NFL Red Zone plus provide Fantasy Stats, so we can get closer to the game, which is good for everyone. I guess the only thing left will be to allow the fans to Tweet their play choices directly to the QB to bypass the Coach right from our couch just like we do with our X-Box or PlayStation games!

Imagine a futuristic NFL where computer chips embedded in players’ equipment measure and track how fast receivers run, how tired linemen get and how hard safeties hit. Quarterbacks call plays without a huddle, using wireless communication tools built into helmets.

On the sidelines, coaches instantly watch digital video of previous plays to scheme their next moves. Referees carry handheld screens to immediately replay the toughest calls. And a chip in the ball combines with a laser on the goal line to eliminate the tedious debate over whether a player actually reached the endzone.

All that and more could soon become reality, according to The Wall Street Journal. League officials are reportedly pow-wowing with forward-thinking tech and communications companies to bring cutting edge electronic devices and measurement tools to the NFL. “Every technological advancement you can imagine is on the table,” the article says.

A couple of NFL teams have on their own transferred play books and game film to iPads for players to study and review, but so far most of the tech innovation in football and other sports has come on the marketing side of operations rather than the field.

In the NFL, players still review plays on the sideline via expensive and wasteful photo printouts, and the league essentially bans computers and other devices from players and coaches before and during games. Major League Baseball imposes a similar ban, and the NBA only recently began to relax its restrictions.

NFL executive Ray Anderson tells WSJ that tablets will likely soon be allowed for coaches, to replace physical play sheets and to provide digital video for in-game planning. Anderson also says game officials will likely become wirelessly connected to one another soon.

At least one NFL player seems optimistic about the league’s potential move into the future, and many others likely share his feelings.

“Football is a beautiful sport, but why stop evolving?” New York Giants defensive back Corey Webster tells WSJ. “Technology is going to change. The game has got to change with it.”

What do you think? Should the NFL adopt these changes, or is there a value to keeping traditional sports low-tech? What kind of tech innovations would you like to see in other sports?

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