The NFL kicks off its 2015 season this week and when the players take the field they will all be sporting a new accessory. You won’t be able to see the nickel-sized RFID sensors embedded in the shoulder pads of every NFL uniform this season, but you’re definitely going to hear about them. These location-tracking devices from Zebra Technologies will provide real-time statistics for every movement of every player on every inch of the field in every NFL game this season. As part of its Next-Generation Statistics initiative, the NFL selected Zebra Technologies as the league’s “Official On-Field Player Tracking Provider.” The Zebra Sports Solution can benefit coaches, players, trainers, broadcasters, and the fans. In 2014, the NFL tested the Zebra’s tracking solution in 18 stadiums and collected stats on more than 17,000 football plays during the season. Now, during the 2015 season, every stadium in the NFL has been outfitted with Zebra’s RFID technology.
So how does it work? First, receivers were installed in all 31 stadiums used by the NFL. These receivers are pinged by the two RFID tracking sensors on each player to identify the location, motion, and direction of every player throughout a game. Motion is tracked in subseconds and a player’s location can be found within six inches. These sensor tags can blink up to 85 times per second and transmit motion within 120 milliseconds. If a quarterback is being tightly pressured, the solution will tell the story of exactly when and where.
The RFID tracking technology is the same solution that Zebra provides to 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies, giving them real-time enterprise asset intelligence to increase visibility into their operations.
Zebra is giving the NFL more of this intelligence and insight into their game than ever before, including player distance traveled, maximum and average speeds, and accelerations and decelerations.
And, we can’t forget about the fans. Armchair quarterbacks everywhere will be shouting even more at the TV this year, as fans will have access to insights on their favorite players with live, to-the-inch broadcast graphics. From preseason through to the Super Bowl for a total of more than 330 games, Zebra’s Sports Solutions will be monitoring every NFL play in real-time.
Are you ready for some football?