Tag Archives: football

Technology In Football Redux

Photo a football game, taken from the stands.Football Technology Redux

Last year I blogged on technology in football and with the upcoming season I want to revisit that topic to highlight anything new and anything we should be watching for this year. There are a lot of developments that enhance player safety and viewer enjoyment.

Do You Want Fries With That?

If you find yourself in the new Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco, host of Super Bowl 50 in February, an app will let you purchase tickets and parking, watch instant replays, and even order and pay for food and have it delivered to your seat. Other stadiums are also equipped to provide the ultimate fan experience through wireless connections and exclusive stadium apps. Be aware that the 49ers are collecting data through the app in order to provide a better fan experience in the future.

Player Safety

There are two new devices that help promote player fitness and peak performance. The Catapult GPS tracker is worn under a uniform and monitors speed, movement, change in direction, and total effort during an on-field workout. The devices are then docked and information downloaded so that the coaches can watch the exertion and load levels to make sure that individual players do not overexert themselves. The Basis is a fitness monitor that tracks resistance in the weight room as well as sleep patterns. The strength coach can then work with the athletes to get peak strength conditioning without risking injury.

Fan Enjoyment

Television is probably the biggest competitor to filling a stadium on game day. With ever higher ticket prices, fans are seeking a game day experience that cannot be rivaled at home. Stadiums are constructing ever larger video boards with the Jacksonville Jaguars currently leading the competition using a monitor that is 362 feet across. Such boards are used not only to track the score and statistics but also to post fan Tweets and close up video shots. That high ticket price might just buy you your 30 seconds of fame.

Duck Football

A January ESPN story highlighted Duck football equipment managers and the challenges they face overseeing 20,000 pieces of equipment. According to the article, each Oregon player receives “…seven different helmets, seven different jerseys, six different pairs of cleats and five different pairs of sneakers.” This is in addition to pants, face masks, balls, and other accessories. The Ducks employ an equipment inventory management system that is paired with Datalogic data capture technology. Bar codes are used to keep track of the inventory and make sure it is ready for each game. This behind the scenes technology enables the Ducks to shine on the field.


There is a lot of technology used on the practice field, the playing field, in the stadium, and behind the scenes. Teams are trying to keep players safe, attract enthusiastic fans, and run their operations as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.

The Impact of Technology in Football

I recently wrote a blog post about technology in sports, but I want to focus this post on technology in football and how it benefits the game and, more specifically, the players. With the college football playoff coming up, followed by the Super Bowl, this is a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on technology contributions.

Making College Football Safer

In a recent USA Today article, the author highlights the use of a product by Axon Sports that helps train elite college athletes by converting a team’s playbook into a visual simulation, complete with potential responses from opposing teams. This cognitive training is available for any position except place kicker and punt return. The application uses a tablet-like board to train the player to quickly assess an unfolding situation and react faster and smarter. The benefit of this technology is that a player can repetitively practice several plays without ever having to suit up. This helps a player play smarter while also reducing the risk of injury or concussion. It may be no surprise that the University of Oregon and quarterback Marcus Mariota were among the earliest adopters of this training.

How Fast are They Running?

A recent Boston Globe article spotlights sensor technology worn by almost all NFL players. The sensors emit a signal (at twenty-five times per second) to track and record a player’s speed and distance over time. The sensors use RFID technology to transmit the data points to in-stadium receivers so they can be viewed by announcers and broadcasters almost in real time. This technology is still fairly experimental, but the idea is that the additional data will improve the football viewing experience by allowing fans to do their own analysis and comparisons. When I am watching football data analysis is the furthest thing from my mind, but maybe I am unique that way. I do see how this technology could help players maximize their speed or change their training to increase performance.

What is the Impact?

Helmet impact sensors are, in my opinion, one of the best developments in football. These sensors are still in their infancy but are commercially available for professional and college teams as well as high school and younger players. The sensors record the impact of a collision and assess whether the impact is enough to sideline a player for monitoring, which will hopefully prevent a concussion or future brain injuries. Equipment maker Riddell markets its Speedflex system, which senses and broadcasts impact forces to coaches and trainers who can then make an assessment based on statistics AND qualitative observations. If this can help prevent head injuries in players, I think it is better than any application to enhance viewing that we can develop. This is an excellent use of technology for performance and safety.


You now know about some of the cool technology that can enhance our viewing experience or protect players from injuries. Do you have any ideas for new technologies that would make the game better for you, your favorite player, or the future player sitting next to you? Let me know your thoughts.
Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional, adjunct faculty for the University of Oregon, and academic director of the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.