Are you ready for some football... technology? When you think about NFL technology, you probably think that their budget and innovative capabilities is way out of your league. Surprisingly, some of the most important parts of the game rely on technology that many of us use every day.
Tablets: Gone are the days of coaching staff printing black-and-white images during the game. Available to the entire NFL in 2014, coaches are given league-provided, specially configured, and weatherproof Microsoft Surface tablets that allow them to access high resolution images in real time. NFL provides these tablets to ‘dissect’ the opponent's offense and defense. The adoption of tablet use is strictly controlled by the NFL in order to maintain the traditions and integrity of the game. In fact, it’s so important that the NFL commissioned Microsoft to develop an application exclusively used by coaches from the sideline. Additionally, each club can provide tablets to players to be used as electronic playbooks or to view position-centric game film.
Electronic Medical Records: Over the past few decades, the NFL has been taking steps to protect players from both the long and short term effects the game has on their body. Many retired players feel repercussions of game injuries decades later. The NFL has put an emphasis on the health and wellbeing of their players. One of the ways they do this is through the use of pads and helmets that have the capability to record physical activity and relay it to the individual's electronic medical records. In the event of an injury, it's possible for doctors and athletic trainers to use data recorded by the gear to evaluate and diagnose possible injuries, like concussions.
Proactive IT Monitoring: When watching a Football game, you’re actually watching the product of a massive infrastructure that is properly maintained and monitored. It’s probably not something most people think about - but it’s true. Stadium technology is closely monitored and any issues must be resolved as quickly as possible, especially on game day. Imagine if officials couldn’t access their instant replay because someone failed to notice that a wireless signal between the live feed and replay booth had an issue. Needless to say, NFL operations are vigilant about preventing technology issues.
Bonus - Funding Innovation: There are other technologies that the NFL puts to use that have no place in the SMB Market. Through the HeadHealthTech Challenge, the NFL tasked doctors, engineers, and scientists to come up with innovative methods of preventing, treating and diagnosing a concussion. After submitting an idea, the NFL and their partners review the technology and determine a winner. Even though funded by the NFL, the innovations submitted are not proprietary and available to the medical community.
As stated on their website, the NFL Football Operations “faces a delicate balance: determining how to innovate while respecting and preserving the game’s traditions, integrity and competitive equity.” All use of technology is heavily regulated by the NFL. What are your thoughts on the use of common technology by the NFL? Let us know in the comments.