The NFL will outfit every player with two sensors inside their shoulder pads that will track where players travel, how fast they travel and the force they arrive with, beginning this season.
USA Today reported that the NFL has partnered with Zebra Technologies to connect 17 stadiums that will provide a near real-time mapping of players' movements. As you'll see below, within one second we'll be able to know a wide receiver running 20.07 miles per hour blew past a cornerback puttering around at 18.78 miles per hour, or that a linebacker ran 15.6 yards to sack a quarterback.
"What you're going to see is touchpoints that happen throughout the league," NFL vice president of domestic media and business development Vishal Shah told USA Today. "Certainly, the most comprehensive and impactful might be to the fans themselves. But it's going to touch areas of our league and give us a deeper understanding of our game."
While the roll out for the 2014 season will be restricted, the possibilities here really are endless. Eventually, the data could be uploaded almost immediately and integrated into game broadcasts, shown inside the stadium, dropped onto apps on phones and tablets, and shared with teams as it happens. While teams won't be given access to this data for the 2014 season due to competitive concerns, Shah says that could change in the future.
"But as you imagine, longer-term, that is the vision," Shah said. "Ultimately, we're going to have a whole bunch of location-based data that's coming out of live-game environment, and we want teams to be able to marry that up to what they're doing in practice facilities themselves."
As for this season, look for a heaping helping of data integration with the NFL's Thursday Night Schedule. USA Today reports that all 15 stadiums slated to host Thursday night games are being equipped with sensors that can manage the technology, along with Detroit's Ford Field and New Orleans' Superdome.
"That'll be cool to know how fast people accelerate, how far they've gone on each route," Arizona Cardinals receiver Michael Floyd said. "We don't really think about it, but to get everyone's thoughts on it, everyone outside of football, it's pretty interesting."
The future is here, folks. We're living in it.