zebra logo

The Visible Value Blog

TOUCHDOWN! Zebra and NFL Bring RFID to the Field

Posted by Zebra Global

August 1, 2014 at 12:00 PM


Yesterday, the National Football League announced that it will install Zebra’s real-time location system (RTLS) technology in 17 stadiums during the 2014 NFL season!  This technology, which includes Zebra MotionWorks™ sports solution, will track players and officials, providing location based data fans. The announcement gained a lot of media coverage – articles from USA Today, Forbes, Fast Company and many others tell Zebra and the NFL’s story nicely.  In case you missed any of these articles, some of our favorite quotes are featured here!

“[The] National Football League (NFL) has announced the implementation of a revolutionary new technology that will allow it to track players in real-time.  The partnership with Zebra Technologiesincludes the installation of the company’s real-time location system (RTLS) in 17 stadiums for the 2014 NFL Season. The system includes receivers that will communicate with radio-frequency identification (RFID) transmitters placed inside the shoulder pads of each player to capture precise location measurements, in real-time, during the game. The information will then be used to calculate statistics such as position, speed, and distance.” NFL Partners With Zebra Technologies To Provide Next Generation Player Tracking, Forbes


The NFL partnered with Zebra Technologies, which is applying the same radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology that it has used the past 15 years to monitor everything from supplies on automotive assembly lines to dairy cows' milk production.” Player-tracking system will let NFL fans go deeper than ever, USA Today


“The tech driving the analytical push--MotionWorks--is the same technology installed this year for NASCAR's Michael Waltrip Racing practices, but it's actually not new. MotionWorks is a legacy business initially developed for industrial manufacturing. Zebra, the maker of MotionWorks, developed the technology to measure distance within motion-based systems and improve safety and efficiency on factory floors about 10 years ago. Their technology was deployed all over the globe even before they began selling to pro sports leagues.”The NFL Announces It’s Tracking RFID Chips on Every Player for 2014, Fast Company


Thanks to RFID tags inside football players’ shoulder pads, the internet of things is about to change the way the National Football League collects stats.The NFL will track players with RFID for better stats in real time, GigaOm  


“The NFL chose to go with RFID over global positioning because RFID is accurate up to 6 inches, while GPS is only accurate to the meter, Zebra officials said. Though the technology isn't accurate enough to attach to a football, Zebra intends to get to that point…Viewers who like to play coach from their living room will be able to tell not only that a player gained 4 rushing yards, but that he covered 10 yards total along the way. They'll also be able to see more complex information, such as how quickly and how far linemen were able to push back a defensive player to make a hole for a running back. – NFL players to get tracking chips in shoulder pads, Chicago Tribune


"’We'd like to think that one day sensors could be used to help prevent injuries,’ [NFL spokesperson] Hunter said. ‘We're not sure how that would happen just yet — we'll defer that to doctors and researchers — but we've heard from medical professionals that it could be used in that way.’" -NFL to Track Players With Shoulder Pad Sensors, Mashable


Did you see a quote or article that resonated with you?  Send it to us using the comments section below, or email us at socialmedia@zebra.com!


P.S. Check out our Storify showcasing tweets and other coverage from the day of the announcement!

Topics: RFID, APAC, North America, Latin America, EMEA