How Technology is changing Football


Sport has changed a lot over the years. We’re not talking about how rules have been amended over time, but how technology has impacted the way sports operate, specifically in regards to American Football. There have been sweeping changes, and probably will be many more too in the future as new advancements in technology are made.

We’re all familiar with the types of technologies that go into certain aspects of the sports, like broadcasting to TV and allowing you to place bets on NFL lines. But what we’re going to look at is some of the other technologies introduced in recent years you may not be too aware of, and how they work, and aim to help improve the game of American Football.

RFID Trackers

This is a piece of technology that has been in the NFL for some time now, and is operated by a company called Zebra Technologies. It works by installing RFID tags into the shoulder pads of players on the field, with several transmitters dotted around the outside that they transmit to. They help to pull data with regards to things like distance covered, speed, and to help detect the force of impact on a player.

By doing this, it not only helps update live stats to check on the performances of individuals, it also can help with health aspects of the game. This is because it helps to monitor a player’s activity, and staff can monitor to see if there are any changes in performance that may possibly indicate health issues that need to be investigated.


So you may have heard of GPS, but for those who don’t know, LPS is a Local Positioning System, so instead of being on a Global scale like GPS, it has a much more compact and detailed area of coverage. In this case, during NFL games. And the main company behind this tech is a company called Catapult, who specialise in advanced wearable tech. So not just your basic Smartwatch kind of stuff. And there are always other providers also trying to break into this area.

Similar to the RFID tracking that is provided by Zebra, Catapult puts sensors into a device that is attached to players, usually worn around their chest area. And again similarly, they collect data and monitor metrics of the player such as their heart rate as well as being able to accurately track their run paths on the pitch to see where they’ve made runs too, how quickly they got there, and the distance covered.

Once again, it’s an ideal tool for staff at the top teams in the NFL to use to help monitor performance, as well as strategize for upcoming games. And it allows for them to more closely monitor the health of the players, to alert them if there is anything of concern that would mean they should need to prepare medical assistance for a player. So it’s another technology that not only benefits planning for games, but also aims to protect players’ welfare.

Augmented Reality

So this is a technology that isn’t so much impacting the game, although it can be used for strategizing, and reviewing performances, but it’s more widely used by broadcasters. The usual time you’ll see it being used is when broadcasters may be bringing up stats and scores at the end of a quarter, or following the end of a game as they analyse and compare certain statistics. It’s made to appear that big scoreboards, and players etc. are blown up in size, standing on the field where the action has taken place. But all the imagery is computer generated.

The other way AR is used by broadcasters is when analyzing plays. They can bring up screens that have touch controls which allow them to highlight players, move them, show run paths, all of which appear on the field on the screen. This helps pundits to identify, and clarify points that they’re making, and showing what should’ve happened to avoid these mistakes, by allowing them to manipulate what is on the screen.


And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the technology that is currently in use within the NFL. There are so many more iterations, and more companies involved in helping to make the most of the benefits of this technology. And we’ll no doubt see more of it being utilised and many existing technologies developed further over time. But it’s not only on the field we’re seeing changes, as new digital NFC passes using mobile apps are being used for match tickets too, amongst other technologies to also help with other aspects outside of the game too. It’ll definitely be interesting to see where the future takes us.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.