BOCA RATON, Fla. – NFL teams soon will be breaking down a whole new set of stats.
The information from the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips players wore during the 2015 season will be available to teams in May. An NFL spokesman said each club will receive data for its own players.
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is among those eager to have his staff analyze the information.
“That’s going to revolutionize the sport in the long run,” Lurie said Tuesday at the NFL owners’ meetings. “You’re going to have live biometrics measurements of players in the stadium on the field. How you deal with all the statistics that are available through scouting is extraordinary. How you integrate sports science with peak performance... That’s evolving so quickly.”
RFID chips – similar to the technology used to make credit cards more secure – are nickel-sized transmitters that wirelessly communicate location data, measure speed and how much space is between players at a given moment.
Each player wore a chip in his shoulder pads during games for the first time last season. Teams have used tracking devices on players during practices for a few years.
The signals from the RFID chips were sent to small receivers positioned around stadiums, and data was immediately available to broadcasters. They were able to use the information to tell viewers the exact location and speed of every player on the field.
Teams who figure out how to use all the information best will certainly have a competitive advantage. It can change the way front offices are structured, and statistical analysis experts may soon become integral hires.
“It’s no longer about watching tape, figuring out who to draft and that kind of stuff,” Lurie said. “It’s extraordinarily collaborative, it’s information-intensive and you may have all the right things and if a player is going to be potentially injury-prone, what are you basing it on? Are you basing it on sports science and really doing the analysis or are you basing it on some gut feeling that a guy had a few injuries in college. No, you have to play the odds a lot better.
“Information processing with all that’s all available and how you interject RFID is pretty crucial. You have to take advantage of all the information.”