It took an index card-inspired play review to kick the NFL into gear regarding its use of technology. While embracing new technology could put to bed the controversy of questionable calls, the NFL has taken its time to incorporate some of the advances.
“I don’t think it’s crazy to say that, in a couple years, officiating will be helped by technology beyond instant replay,” says Emmett Carey, a scientist with STATSports.
John Pollard, VP of Business Development at Zebra agrees. “Yes, technically it’s feasible. What the timeline is and what specifically those technologies are remains to be seen. I don’t want to speak for the league, but I’m certain there are discussions about how to use technology to enhance the efficiency of officiating. But how much of the human element do you remove?”
Still, there is some controversy about the data, and who would own the date produced by wearables and other technology during games and warm ups. “Imagine having full league information available to all the teams so they can use it for player evaluation and game-planning,” says Pollard. “Velocity and height of passes, sorting them by route type. Insights from both sides of the ball in all games.”
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